Caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive substance in America. Coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks and even cigarettes contain caffeine. A recent study from the FDA showed that about 80% of American adults consume a cup of joe every day. Society believes caffeine to be benign. But, consuming high doses can have negative effects on your mind and body.
There are many different ways of consuming Caffeine across the world. Its prevalence dates back to the 11th century, when it was discovered in Ethiopia. It then spread across the Arabian peninsula and was later introduced in Europe.
Talking about tolerance, everyone has a different threshold. It varies in each person due to genetics. We are combining a list of positive and negative effects of caffeine. They will make you think twice before consuming your third cup of coffee.
Positive Effects Of Caffeine
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and it boosts your cognition. So here are a few reasons why we love caffeine:
Caffeine can aid in weight loss or weight gain due to its ability to suppress your appetite or desire to eat. It also induces thermogenesis that causes the body to heat up when digesting food. Studies show that caffeine can boost your metabolism by 3% to 11%.
Caffeine is often used as a pre-workout stimulant. This is because it raises energy levels that aid your workouts at the gym. As it increases the calories you burn. But, caffeine doesn’t alone cause weight loss, you have to combine it with diet and exercise.
Caffeine targets the adenosine receptors in your brain that trigger a boost in your thinking skills. It also contains polyphenol antioxidants that work in similar ways to block your brain’s inhibitory neurotransmitters.
As a result, you will see a hike in energy levels, stabilization of your mood, and improved brain function. It also leads to a spike in norepinephrine and dopamine levels in your brain. Further aiding to an increase in your ability to learn and focus.
Improved Physical Performance
Higher doses of caffeine release epinephrine (adrenaline) in your blood. It signals cells to break down body fat and increase energy levels. This process activates the fight or flight mode in your brain. It also produces an increase in reaction time and energy levels. Studies show that caffeine increases physical performance by 11–12%, on average.
Caffeine also triggers alertness and focus. It helps athletes and bodybuilders to increase their performance. Studies suggest a direct correlation between caffeine intake and increased exercise performance.
Inhibits Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes a deterioration of your brain. Although this disease usually affects people over 65. Studies show that drinking coffee or other modes of caffeine consumption can decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 65%. Long-term coffee drinkers can experience these positive effects of caffeine.
Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors that start the process of cognitive decline. Keeping it stopped will delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
It May Lower The Risks Of Developing Cancer
Cancer is the leading cause of death as it triggers the unprecedented growth of cells in your body. Caffeine mitigates the risk of developing liver and colorectal cancer. Studies report that average coffee drinkers have a 40% lesser risk of developing liver cancer.
Another recent research complements this study that coffee could reduce the risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx and skin cancers.
Negative Effects of Caffeine
Consuming caffeine is common in every part of the world. But, overconsumption of this substance can have many adverse effects.
High levels of caffeine can make you jittery, restless, and anxious. It works by blocking the effects of adenosine, the chemical that makes you feel lethargic. This stimulates increased alertness, which can trigger anxiety when there’s overconsumption.
Tolerance level plays a major role in caffeine consumption. If you consume 1,000 mg or more it can boost stress and anxiety in people with high tolerance. Moderate amounts can have the same effects on people with low tolerance. Keeping your tolerance level in check is important.
Caffeine boosts your ability to stay awake and alert. But, large doses can result in insomnia in some people. Studies have shown that higher caffeine doses drastically affect the time it takes to sleep, especially in the elderly. As caffeine stays in your system for 10 hours, even coffee consumed in the day can affect your sleep.
You should cut off caffeine consumption in the afternoon so you can have a peaceful night’s sleep.
Muscle Breakdown (Rhabdomyolysis)
Prolonged caffeine abuse can lead to rhabdomyolysis, in which damaged muscle fibers enter your bloodstream and cause problems in your vital organs, especially your kidney. Various studies have linked excessive caffeine consumption with rhabdomyolysis, although it’s rare.
We recommend that you limit your caffeine doses to 250 mg per day.
High Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
Caffeine causes a spike in your blood pressure. Although it may be for a short time, the increase is quite dramatic. Its stimulating effect on the nervous system causes a rise in heart rate and, subsequently, your blood pressure. Research shows that the increase in blood pressure is only temporary, and it affects people varyingly. You should monitor your responses to high doses of caffeine and consult a doctor if any issue persists.
Caffeine contributes to a rapid increase in heart rate, often leading to an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. It is most common in teenagers that consume sodas and energy drinks. Caffeine can cause rapid heartbeat, kidney failure, and other coronary diseases when taken in extreme amounts. Thus we recommend you optimize your caffeine intake to avoid such effects.
Despite caffeine’s numerous benefits, it is a psychoactive substance, and can quickly become habit-forming. Numerous studies report that caffeine imitates the same stimulating effect like cocaine and amphetamines. Increased dosages may lead to higher tolerance, which leads to addiction.This is partially due to the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, causing you to want more than you usually take.
A study of 213 caffeine users answered a questionnaire after 16 hours of caffeine withdrawal. They all experienced withdrawals in the form of fatigue, headaches, and difficulty in concentration, among other symptoms.
After a thorough investigation, we believe that caffeine is harmful and addictive if taken in extreme amounts. We recommend a dosage of 250 mg if you want to avoid its adverse effects.
However, dependency can vary as each person is caffeine sensitive at different levels.
We instruct you to monitor your response and tolerance levels to caffeine. It will help you steer clear of its exceedingly harmful effects.