Caffeine is a psychoactive drug. It is a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant belonging to class ‘Methylxanthine’. It is highly consumed all over the world, combined with many mediums. This is a legal drug and nearly used and imported in all parts of the world. With stimulating properties, caffeine contains addictive agents as well.
Caffeine is known for boosting up and elevating mood. The action duration of caffeine is 3 to 4 hours. People also take caffeine for reducing pain and manage mood swings. Caffeine makes the person alert by boosting up brain function. Caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter in the brain that makes us sleepy, which is adenosine.
In this era, millions of people commonly take caffeine daily for waking up and getting charged. Because of caffeine, let us stay alert and be fresh. Not just us, historians also used caffeine in tea and Ethiopians noticed by giving their goats coffee, that it provides extra energy. In the 1800s and late caffeinated drinks were consumed, which rated high in the market and is still in use. 80% of the whole population of the world and 90% of the adult population consume caffeine in high weightage.
The main well known source for caffeine is ‘COFFEE BEANS’ which are taken from seeds of coffee plants.
How does caffeine work?
After consumption, caffeine absorbs quickly in the blood. When it reached the liver, it breaks into several compounds that affect the function of the organ and especially the brain. It works by blocking adenosine which is a neurotransmitter and makes us feel sleepy and tired. Caffeine keeps us alert. It makes us awake and reduces tiredness.
It also increases the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine which are also neurotransmitters.
That is why caffeine is said to be a ‘psychoactive drug’.
Drinks and food that contains caffeine:-
Caffeine is widely used in the preparation of many food items. Caffeine is harvested and grown all over the world and found in nuts, seeds, and leaves of plants. People used caffeine in combination with other items. Not only in food items, but caffeine is also used in beverages and drinks that are also highly consumed. Caffeine is widely consumed all over the world in the form of :
- Dark chocolate beans
- Coffee coated beans
- Energy drinks
- Fat reducing supplements
- Brewed tea
- Yerba mate
- Soft drinks
- Caffeinated drinks
- Cocoa beverages
- Chocolate milk
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate
- Chocolate cakes
- Coffee liquor.
In all these food and drinks, the coffee limit is average, which is 400mg for adults and 85 mg for children. This is the intake limit.
Affect of caffeine intake on mood:-
Caffeine affects our brain just like I told you above, how it works. So caffeine has a good impact on our brain and mood. It makes us alert and active as it reduces tiredness and sleep. It elevates our mood. Several studies were done on this topic. One of them states that caffeine blocks the signalling, which benefits your mood.
Another study states that drinking 2 cups of coffee daily can reduce the risk of suicide by 45%.
There is another study that states that depression risk reduces in coffee or caffeine consumers by 13%.
But it is not necessary that just caffeine is needed for mood betterment. There is a study which results that if we take a cup coffee right after the first one, it does not give any benefit unless it is taken after 8 hours of the first consumption.
Drinking coffee or having caffeine two to three times a week can also reduce causes for some brain disorders up to 60% like,
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinsons disease.
The medical benefits of caffeine:-
Caffeine is sometimes prescribed medically. It helps in reducing risks for many diseases as well as help in managing some diseases. As told above that caffeine, is gives brain function elevating benefits too, which prevents some brain diseases. Just like this, there are some more disorders in which caffeine helps. These problems are:
- BRONCHOPULMONARY DYSPLASIA in infants for treatment and prevention. In this disease, caffeine helps to prevent language delays and reduces cerebral palsy. It helps in maintaining the weight during therapies.
- Treatment for orthostatic hypertension.
- Apnea for premature
- Asthma is sometimes treated with coffee or caffeinated drinks. They are fewer pieces of evidence, but caffeine is used to improve airway functions and asthma. And maintains it for 3 to 4 hours.
- Coffee or caffeine helps in the replacement of counter pain medications. They are used as a pain reliever, cold, and allergy. It gives good results if taken with brufen or paracetamol.
- Migraine pain can also be relieved with the help of coffee.
- Having caffeinated drinks or coffee rich in caffeine helps decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Gall bladder diseases are also prevented by intaking caffeine.
- Physicians suggest that having coffee before and after heart surgery can help in preventing atrial fibrillation.
- To decrease the risk of stroke, having caffeinated beverages helps. It works especially in women.
- Caffeine reduces dementia and short term recall.
- Research proved that a high intake of caffeine could reduce the chance of skin diseases such as skin cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer.
- Skin redness, pain, and itching can also be overcome by consuming caffeine.
- Caffeine is used in the preparation of fat reducing and weight loss supplements. And also, coffee a day helps in burning calories. It manages to burn fat up to 13%.
Does caffeine enhance physical performance?
Yes, caffeine enhances our physical activity. It boosts our metabolism because of its brain-stimulating property which goes by an 11% increase in our activity. Caffeine delays sleep and drowsiness. The benefits show up almost after 1 hour of intake and show up until 4 hours. It helps for people working in the night shifts for staying up.
Caffeine is commonly used among athletes but within limits. Caffeine increases physical activity performance like cycling running and different athletic performances. Caffeine also helps in the delay of muscle fatigue which can give alertness and strength for many hours. It is beneficial to consume caffeine before an exercise or weight lifting exercise. It strengthens the muscles and gives power and reduce exertion.
Overdose of caffeine:-
Some products are concentrated, high in caffeine which can give adverse effects. Likely it is said to use 400mg which makes up to 4 cups of coffee per day which seen to be beneficial. But high intake can give negative and adverse reactions. Caffeine is dangerous if taken orally, it can cause nausea vomiting stomach irritation increase in respiratory rate and heart rate. It causes restlessness and insomnia.
Caffeine intake by AIDS defected person can be worse and cause sleep disorders. High doses cause anxiety and chest pain.
Caffeine is unsafe to take in raw form and orally. It can lead to death even. It causes irregular heartbeat.
High Caffeine intake up to 1000 to 1500 mg per day can cause a condition known as ‘CAFFEINISM’. This condition results in overstimulation of CNS, which gives symptoms of insomnia, restlessness. It converts into caffeine toxification. The symptoms are:
- Gastrointestinal disturbance
- Diuresis (increase in urine production)
- The rambling flow of speech
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Rhabdomyolysis (the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue)
There is no medication for caffeine intoxication, whereas hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and hemofiltration can help.
Not just this but high use of caffeine like more than 1000 to 5000mg per day, give rise to many diseases or can worsen the condition of many disorders like
- Osteoporosis. Caffeine increases the limit of calcium flushed in urine.
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bleeding disorders
- Anxiety disorders
It is good to avoid having high doses of coffee or caffeinated products during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is likely safe to take 300 mg of caffeine per day, but excessive amounts can give rise to multiple serious complications. High consumption increases the chance of miscarriage.
Caffeine also passes through the milk from the mother to the baby, so it is important to take low intake of caffeine either it will cause sleep disorder, irritability, and bowel disturbances to the infant.
In last, ensure that a limited amount of caffeine that is 400 mg per day is beneficial, but higher can not be. So take it properly without harming yourself. Pure caffeine intake can be noxious as well as death-causing, so it should be avoided, so use it with some food. And enjoy!
A student of Surgical Technology from Dow University of Health Sciences. She brings her expertise on surgical procedures, knowledge on Human Anatomy and Modern Day Surgeries to help students understand and learn easier ways and help patients understand hospital procedures before their surgeries.