Every day, several people wake up relying on caffeine or to overcome an afternoon slump or to get through a night shift. The natural stimulant caffeine is amongst the most frequently used ingredients across the world. Although people often consider that caffeine affects anxiety and sleep adversely, studies reveal that caffeine has several health benefits. Here in this article we briefly tell you about the effects of caffeine on the body
Here, You can Find The Effects of Caffeine on the Body
Caffeine- an Overview
Caffeine remains a natural stimulant very frequently found in coffee, cacao plants, and tea. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and brain helping to stay alert preventing symptoms of tiredness.
The study indicates that brewed tea came into use for the first time in 2327 B.C. Further research establishes that an Ethiopian discovered coffee several years later, after noticing the extra energy goat developed after consuming it.
Caffeinated soft drinks became popular in the market during the late 1990s, followed by energy drinks. Presently, 80% of people globally consume caffeinated products, and the percentage is as high as 90% for adult people in North America.
Caffeine, a natural stimulant, is consumed widely throughout the world. Caffeine helps to stay alert and ward off tiredness.
Working Mechanism of Caffeine
As soon it reaches the gut, caffeine enters the bloodstream quickly and enters the liver. In the liver, caffeine further breaks down into compounds affecting the functioning of several organs. However, caffeine is primarily responsible for activating the brain and blocking adenosine, a neurotransmitter that causes the brain to relax and make people feel tired.
Generally, as adenosine levels start building every day, people get increasingly tired and want more sleep. Caffeine can prevent the adenosine receptors in the brain from becoming activated, thus making people less prone to tiredness.
Further, caffeine can increase the brain activities of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine and increase the level of adrenaline in the blood. Such combination stimulates the brain further, promoting a state of alertness, focus, and arousal. Since caffeine affects the brain, it is referred to as a psychoactive drug very often.
Moreover, all such effects of caffeine take place quickly. For example, a cup of caffeine can reach the bloodstream within 20 minutes, and it takes only one hour to realize the full benefits.
The main effects of caffeine on the body and brain. By blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine’s effect, caffeine can stimulate brain activities.
Caffeine Rich Foods and Drinks
Caffeine is available in the nuts, seeds, and leaves of a few plants. Such natural sources are further harvested as well as processed producing caffeinated beverages and foods. The expected quantity of caffeine per 240 mL or 8-ounce serving of a few popular types of beverages are as follows.
The popular beverages are Espresso (240-720 mg), Yerba mate (65–130 mg), Coffee (102–200 mg), Energy drinks (50–160 mg), Soft drinks (20–40 mg), Brewed tea (40–120 mg), Decaffeinated coffee (3–12 mg), Chocolate milk (2–7 mg), Cocoa beverage (2–7 mg).There are examples of a few foods containing caffeine.
For instance, dark chocolate of one-ounce size comes with 5-35 mg of caffeine, and 28 grams or 1 ounce of milk chocolates come with 1-15 mg. Further, you can find caffeine in over-the-counter or prescription drugs, like allergy, pain, and cold medications, and as a supplement for weight loss, where caffeine comes as a common ingredient.
Caffeine is mainly found in tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and energy drinks.
Benefits of Consuming Caffeine
Caffeine comes with several benefits, and a few are as follows:
- Caffeine can Improve Brain Function and Mood
Caffeine can block adenosine, the brain-signaling molecule, causing a corresponding rise in other signaling molecules, like norepinephrine and dopamine, thereby benefiting the brain function and mood for a person.
One review indicates that participants ingesting 37.5 to 450 mg of caffeine had improved short-term recall, reaction time, and alertness. Further study reveals that drinking caffeinated coffee of 2-3 cups per day, equivalent to 200-300 mg caffeine, reduce the risk of suicide by 45%, and another study stated lowering of risk of depression by 30% in caffeine consumers.
However, caffeine may not necessarily improve the mood. A study reported that there should be a gap of at least eight hours between two intakes of coffee to get further benefits. Drinking tea more than three cups per day or coffee between 3-5 cups per day can decrease the brain disease risks like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease by 28 to 60%. Besides caffeine, there are other bioactive compounds in tea and coffee that are also beneficial.
Summary: Caffeine can decrease the risk of depression, improve mood, reduce chances of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and improve brain function.
- Caffeine Helps Boosting Metabolism as well as Burning Fat
Caffeine can energize the central nervous system, which further helps in increasing the metabolism rate by 11% and fat burning rate by 13%. By consuming caffeine by 300 mg per day, you can burn 79 calories extra every day.
Although the calorie value seems small, the amount is similar to the calorie responsible for the yearly weight gain average of Americans by 2.2 pounds. The result of a 12-year study conducted to assess the relation between caffeine and weight gain reveals that people drinking a lot of coffee gained 0.4 to 0.5 kg equivalent to 0.8 to 1.1 pounds weight on average.
Summary: Boosting metabolism and promoting fat loss are two essential attributes of caffeine. However, over a long period, such effects are probably to remain small.
- Caffeine Boosts Exercise Performance
Caffeine can use the fat more to use as fuel during exercise, which is vital in helping the stored glucose in the muscle last longer, thus delaying the time of exhaustion. The research established that a dose of 5 mg per kg or 2.3 mg per pound of bodyweight improves endurance performance by around 5% if consumed one hour earlier to exercise.
A very low dose of 3 mg per kg or 1.4 mg per pound of body weight, can be sufficient to get benefits. Further, the study indicated similar benefits in resistance exercises, highly-intensive workouts, and team sports. Moreover, caffeine is effective in reducing exertion felt during exercising by 5.6%, making workouts easier.
Summary: Consuming a small amount of caffeine around one hour before is expected to boost exercise performance.
- Caffeine Protects Against Diabetes and Heart Diseases:
Despite popular belief, caffeine does not cause heart disease. The study establishes that the chances of heart disease decrease by around 16-18% in men and women drinking 1-4 cups of coffee every day, equivalent to 100 to 400 mg of caffeine intake per day.
Other studies reveal that drinking daily between 2 to 4 cups of green tea or coffee can lower the chances of stroke by 14 to 20%. However, in some people, caffeine may lead to increased blood pressure, although such an effect is observed to be as low as 3 to 4 mm Hg and tends to reduce for the majority of individuals consuming caffeine regularly.
Further, caffeine can also protect people from diabetes. People drinking coffee frequently are reported to have lower chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Similarly, people consuming most caffeine run a lower risk by 30% of developing type 2 diabetes.
Every 200 mg of caffeine reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 12 to 14%. Moreover, the study reported that decaffeinated coffee consumption also lowers the risk of diabetes by 21%, which indicates that coffee has other beneficial compounds that reduce the type 2 diabetes symptom also.
Summary: Caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee can reduce the chances of heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes, though it can depend on an individual.
More Health benefits Provided by Coffee
Coffee consumption can also provide many more health benefits that are as follows:
- Protecting the Lever: Coffee can reduce the chances of liver damage like cirrhosis by around 84%. Coffee intake can lower the chances of premature death, improve response to treatment, and slow down the disease progression.
- Longevity: Drinking coffee reduces the chances of premature death by around 30%, particularly for people having diabetes.
- A Decrease in Cancer Risks: Consuming 2 to 4 cups of coffee daily can reduce the risk of developing liver cancer by around 64% as well as colorectal cancer by 38%.
- Protection of Skin: Consuming four cups or more of caffeinated coffee daily can lower skin cancer risk by 20%.
- Reduced Risk of Multiple Sclerosis: Drinking coffee can also reduce the chances of developing multiple sclerosis abbreviated to MS by around 30% although all studies do not agree to it.
- Gout Prevention: Regular drinking of coffee of around 4 cups per day can reduce the chances of developing gout by 57% in women and 40 % in men.
- Gut Health: Intake of 3 cups of coffee daily for at least three weeks can reduce the chances of developing gout by 57% in women and 40% in men.
Coffee comes with other substances needed for improving health. A few benefits listed above can be due to other compounds apart from caffeine.
Summary: A regular intake of coffee is beneficial for the skin, liver, and digestive tract. Coffee can also increase life-expectancy and can prevent many diseases.
Safety and Other Side Effects
Although caffeine consumption can be safe, it can form a habit. A few side effects due to excess consumption of caffeine are restlessness, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, troubled sleeping, and tremors. Further, excess consumption of caffeine can lead to high blood pressure, headache, and migraine.
Moreover, since caffeine can cross the placenta, there can be an increase in the chances of low birth weight and even miscarriage. Thus pregnant women must limit the intake of coffee. Additionally, caffeine interacts with a few medications. Individuals who take Zanaflex, a muscle relaxant, or antidepressant Luvox, need to avoid caffeine, as there can be enhanced effects of such drugs.
Summary: In some people, caffeine can lead to adverse side effects like trouble sleeping, restlessness, and anxiety.
The European Food Safety Authority (EESA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), suggest 400 mg of 2 to 4 cups of coffee intake every day to remain safe. However, consuming coffee above 500 mg in a single time can be a fatal overdose.
Thus, the amount of coffee consumption in a single time needs to be limited to 200 mg per dose. The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists suggests that pregnant women must not consume above 200 mg of coffee per day.
Summary: Intake of 400 mg daily and 200 mg per dose of caffeine is generally accepted to be safe. Pregnant women need to limit the daily intake of caffeine not exceeding 200 mg.
As against the popular belief, caffeine is healthy, established by pieces of evidence. So, it remains safe to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee daily, promoting good health.