Caffeine: Side effects and benefits

Have a deadline to meet? Want to finish those handouts before the exams in the morning? Need to prepare a presentation for your boss? Need to stay awake for all these? Think caffeine is the best answer? Hold on and read through this. Caffeine provides no nutritional value on its own. It’s tasteless, so you won’t necessarily know if it’s in your food either. It can be found in soft drinks, nescafe, tea etc. Even some medications may contain caffeine without your knowledge. Caffeine has various side effects despite the benefits when used frequently and in excess (It is addictive, you know). The following are effects of caffeine on: - Central nervous system Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. When it reaches your brain, the most noticeable effect is alertness. You’ll feel more awake and less tired, so it’s a common ingredient in medications to treat or manage drowsiness, headaches, and migraines.Studies have found that people who drink coffee regularly have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia, and cutsuicide risk by 45 percent. These benefits are limited to people who drink high-octane coffee, not decaf. Some people consider coffee to be a health drink, but like most foods, over indulging can cause side effects. For example, too much caffeine can give you headaches. This is primarily linked to caffeine withdrawal.The blood vessels in your brain become used to caffeine’s effects so if you suddenly stop consuming caffeine, it can cause a headache.Other symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include: anxiety, irritability, drowsiness. In some people, sudden withdrawal may cause tremors.Although it’s extremely rare, it’s also possible to overdose on caffeine. Symptoms of an overdose include: confusion, hallucinations, and vomiting. An overdose can result in death due to convulsions.Overdosing happens by consuming large amounts of caffeine, most often in energy drinks or diet pills.Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine is considered to be safe, according to the Mayo Clinic. This equals about 4 cups of coffee, although the amount of caffeine in beverages varies widel - Digestive and excretory systems Caffeine increases the amount of acid in your stomach and may cause heartburn or upset stomach. Extra caffeine doesn’t get stored in your body either. It’s processed in the liver and exits through your urine. This is why you might have an increase in urination shortly after having caffeine.If you have experience stomach problems, like acid reflux or ulcers, ask your doctor if it’s okay for you to have caffeine. - Circulatory and Respiratory systems Caffeine is absorbed from your stomach. It reaches its highest levels in your bloodstream within an hour or two.Caffeine can make your blood pressure go up for a short time. This effect is thought to be attributed to either an increase in adrenaline or a temporary block on the hormones that naturally widen your arteries. In most people, there is no long-term effect on blood pressure, but if you have irregular heart rhythms, caffeine may make your heart work harder. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension) or heart-related problems, ask your doctor if caffeine is safe for you to consume.An overdose of caffeine may cause rapid or irregular heartbeat and breathing trouble. In rare cases, caffeine overdose can result in death due to convulsions or irregular heartbeat. - Skeletal and muscular systems Caffeine in large amounts may interfere with absorption and metabolism of calcium. This can contribute to bone thinning (osteoporosis).If you consume too much, caffeine may cause also your muscles to twitch.If experiencing caffeine withdrawal, a symptom may include achy muscles. - Reproductive system Caffeine travels within the bloodstream and crosses into the placenta. Since it’s a stimulant, it can cause your baby’s heart rate and metabolism to increase. Too much caffeine can also cause slowed fetal growth and increased risk of miscarriage. In most cases, a little caffeine is safe during pregnancy.According to the Mayo Clinic, you should limit caffeine consumption between 200 and 300 milligrams per day if you’re trying to get pregnant. There’s some evidence that large amounts of caffeine can interfere with the estrogen production and metabolism needed to conceive. Health Benefits of Caffeine 1. Caffeine in coffee is loaded with anti-oxidant benefits; people who are regular coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of developing cirrhosis by 90 percent. 2. An increase of stamina and energy levels: It increases stamina during workout sessions, and caffeine improves physical performance as it helps in breaking down the fat cells, into free fatty acids which are utilized by the body as a fuel. 3. Caffeine helps to speed up the metabolism up to 11%, which may help to improve digestion and to burn the extra calories. 4. Waking the Brain: Caffeine helps to kick start a day. It is a central nervous system stimulant. It promotes alertness and increases the concentration level. It is a psychoactive substance, which improves energy levels and various aspects of the brain function. Caffeine in coffee is classified as a nootropic (a drug that can enhance memory or other cognitive functions) as it sensitizes neurons and provides mental stimulation. 5. Fat-Burner: Caffeine in coffee is an essential fat burner and boosts metabolism. Caffeine also promotes loss of weight. 6. Diuretic: Caffeine is a diuretic, that is, it helps the body to get rid of extra salt by urinating more. 7. Good for Liver: Caffeine is good for the liver, detoxifies it and cleanses the colon. 8. Good effects on the skin: Caffeine can improve your skin, helps in collagen synthesis, delays aging, tightens skin and helps to reduce wrinkles, dark spots and has anti-inflammatory properties. Caffeine products also promote good and manageable hair. 9. Caffeine Lowers the Risk of Developing Type II Diabetes: In Type 2 diabetes, people develop elevated blood sugars as the body is unable to form insulin; coffee drinkers have a relatively lower risk of developing diabetes of Type 2. 10. Reduces Risk of Diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia: Caffeine drinkers have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease which is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the neurons of the human body that result in the death of nerve cells of the body. 11. Caffeine helps to fight Depression: A cup of coffee helps you fight depression, elevates your mood and makes you happier. 12. Caffeine helps to fight Cancer: Cancer leads to uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Coffee helps to be protective against liver and colorectal cancer. Now, it is your choice to make. Do you think the benefits outweighs the side effects? Take caffeine if you have to, but let it be in moderation. Ciao!


Writer at The Healthwise...daily health tips