Researchers at Indiana University have found that caffeine is as effective as an albuterol inhaler in preventing exercise induced asthma (EIA). When they combined the use of both caffeine and the inhaler, however, no additional benefits were noted.
A dosage equivalent to the amount of 9mg of caffeine per kilogram of weight was found to ease the symptoms of EIA in a manner similar to inhalers, and smaller amounts (3mg – 6mg/per kilogram) reduced the coughing, wheezing and other EIA symptoms, while not eradicating them completely.
The study’s subjects ingested differing amounts of caffeine one hour prior to running on a treadmill and their pulmonary condition was monitored 15 minutes before they started to run and then at different intervals afterward. The differing dosages were deemed to provide varying levels of relief from the symptoms, with 9mg functioning on par with the performance of an inhaler.
This study is part of a larger analysis of nutritional modifications that can be made in place of the corticosteroid used to alleviate EIA on a long-term basis. Other beneficial dietary habits found to reduce the severity of EIA include increasing fish oil and antioxidant intake while reducing salt. Researchers are interested in finding other methods for controlling or eliminating EIA without using pharmaceuticals because of the concern over long-term use and the decrease in efficacy after using the medications for prolonged periods.