Caffeine, Is It Good or Bad for Health?
Caffeine tops as the world’s most commonly consumed drug. Since caffeine is present in so many foods and drinks, it is easy to forget that it is even a drug. This implies that caffeine has some effects to your health.
Caffeine is a stimulant drug. Stimulant drugs work partly by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. Which causes the same physical effects as the “fight or flight response”—speeding up the heart and breathing. Making you feel more alert, and increasing muscle tension.
With so many myths and controversies about whether caffeine is good or bad for us. Evidence suggests that moderate coffee consumption can bring both benefits and risks. However, high consumption of caffeine may not be unhealthy. Caffeine is present in tea, coffee, and chocolate. It is also regularly added to gum, jelly beans, waffles, water, syrup, marshmallows, sunflower seeds, and other snacks. Not forgetting energy drinks too.
This article will highlight the effects of caffeine to your health.
Benefits of Caffeine
Caffeine may boost weight loss or prevent weight gain. Possibly by: suppressing the appetite and temporarily reducing the desire to eat. Also by stimulating thermogenesis, so the body generates more heat and energy from digesting food. Weight loss products that are marketed as thermogenics may contain caffeine and ephedra, or ephedrine.
However, research has not confirmed long-term results.
Researchers have shown that caffeine can boost alertness and wakefulness in some consumers. In one study involving 9,003 British adults, caffeine was linked to dose-dependent improvements. This is in visuospatial reasoning, simple reaction time, choice reaction time, and incidental verbal memory. These results were durable and more prevalent in older vs younger adults, which indicated that tolerance to caffeine’s cognitive benefits may be incomplete. Moreover, a muted response was observed in tea drinkers in which researchers observed improvement only in simple reaction time and visuospatial reasoning. However, caffeine is not a substitute for sleep.
Caffeine can improve physical performance during endurance exercise. Intense exercise burns off loads of glycogen. Caffeine promotes glycogen resynthesis, which is necessary for recovery. In well-trained athletes, when paired with carbohydrate intake, post-exercise caffeine consumption stimulates glycogen build-up.
The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) recognize that caffeine can increase endurance performance, endurance capacity, and reduction in perceived exertion.
However, the effects on short-term, high-intensity exercise remain inconclusive.
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
Research has found that lifelong caffeine consumption may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Studies also suggest that people with a higher coffee consumption have a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.
So, it is good news that coffee consumption could have a neuroprotective effect, reducing a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as Parkinson’s disease. That’s according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto and the Krembil Research Institute in Canada.
Research suggests that caffeine can improve memory. That’s because many who religiously consume the beverage notice that they seem more alert when they’ve had coffee.
Research from Johns Hopkins University indicates that a dose of caffeine after a learning session may help boost long-term memory. Caffeine is a stimulant drug that affects the brain directly. It is without a doubt able to increase alertness. Research indicates caffeine is not a reliable way of improving memory in older people on the other hand.
Liver and colon
Research also suggests that caffeine enemas may help prepare the colon for an endoscopy or colonoscopy by supporting the excretion of bile through the colon wall. Proponents claim that a caffeine enema increases the levels of glutathione, an antioxidant, and so it supports the natural processes of detoxification in the liver.
Patients with colorectal cancer who drank coffee, either caffeinated or decaffeinated, showed a lower risk for colorectal cancer-specific death and overall death in two large prospective cohort studies. The benefits were strongest in patients who drank at least two cups per day both before and after their diagnosis.
However, there is little evidence to support this theory.
Side Effects of Caffeine On Your Health.
Caffeine increases alertness. Adenosine, a brain chemical that makes you feel tired is blocked. At the same time, it triggers the release of adrenaline, the “fight-or-flight” hormone associated with increased energy.
However, at higher doses, these effects may become more pronounced, leading to anxiety and nervousness. If you notice that you often feel nervous or jittery, it might be a good idea to look at your caffeine intake and cut it back.
Caffeine’s ability to help people stay awake is one of its most prized qualities. On the other hand, too much caffeine can make it difficult to get enough restorative sleep.
Again, it’s the caffeine working here. Your recommended maximum amount of caffeine is 400 milligrams, roughly the amount that you’ll get from 4 cups of coffee. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, be careful with coffee. You are probably already aware of what amount and what kind of coffee suits, or doesn’t suit you.
Caffeine can help you stay awake during the day, but it has the ability to negatively impact your sleep quality and quantity. Cut off your caffeine consumption by the early afternoon to avoid sleeping problems.
Many people enjoy that morning cup of coffee because it helps to get their bowels moving. The regular caffeine fixes have certain effects on our health and, in particular, our digestion in certain ways. The common digestive symptoms that could be related to regular coffee consumption, include heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation, leaky gut among others.
Caffeine is said to stimulate bowel movements by increasing the contractions that move food through your digestive tract.
There is a serious condition in which damaged muscle fibers enter the bloodstream, leading to kidney failure and other problems called Rhabdomyolysis. Excess usage and consumption of coffee can lead so there is a need to limit intake of coffee.
Despite all of caffeine’s health benefits, there’s no denying that it may become a habit in the making. A detailed review suggests that although caffeine triggers certain brain chemicals similar to the way cocaine and amphetamines do, it does not cause classic addiction the way these drugs do. However, it can lead to psychological or physical dependency, especially in cases of high dosage.
High Blood Pressure
It has been shown that caffeine is able to raise blood pressure in several studies due to its stimulatory effect on the nervous system. It should be noted an elevated blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. This because it may damage arteries over time, restricting the flow of blood to your heart and brain.
High caffeine intake has also been shown to raise blood pressure during exercise in healthy people, as well as in those with mildly elevated blood pressure. Therefore, paying attention to the dosage and timing of caffeine is important, especially if you already have high blood pressure.
Rapid Heart Rate
The stimulatory effects of high caffeine intake may cause a faster heart to beat.
An altered heartbeat rhythm, called atrial fibrillation, which has been reported in young people who consumed energy drinks containing extremely high doses of caffeine can also be a side effect of caffeine on your health.
Its therefore important to take of notice your heart rate or rhythm. So that you can catch any changes after drinking caffeinated beverages. Also, consider decreasing your intake.
Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages are famous for boosting energy levels.
However, they can also lead to rebound fatigue after the caffeine leaves your system. Of course, the shortcut is to continue to drink lots of caffeine throughout the day to avoid the rebound effect. On the other hand, this may affect your ability to sleep.
Therefore, it is better to consume caffeine in moderate rather than high doses.