Since you are here, my best guess is you are a consumer of caffeine. About 80% of adult Americans are too. With this article, we'll show you why caffeine is good for you and why caffeine is bad for you.
We'll also discuss how caffeine works and where it originated.
So if you are ready to learn how caffeine stimulates the central nervous system to increase energy, focus, alertness, mental clarity and concentration, and much more, keep reading.
Caffeine is a chemical compound naturally found in 28 different plants, like coffee beans, tea leaves, cacao, and many more. It stimulates the central nervous system and is often found in prescription medications, drinks, and foods, thanks to its many benefits.
Caffeine is listed as a drug but is not regulated by the FDA.
Caffeine for medicinal purposes is older than its current use as a stimulant. Caffeine became popular in the 15th and 16th centuries and during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe. At least when we're talking about caffeine from coffee.
Tea became popular in China in the 14th century and in the 18th century in Britain.
Caffeine works differently for different parts of your body. It stimulates your Central Nervous System by blocking adenosine receptors. When caffeine blocks adenosine from binding to the receptors, it stops adenosine from making you sleepy. It also means fewer receptors are open for adenosine to connect with, increasing neural activity.
Caffeine increases your body's adrenalin production, giving you better focus and more energy.
Caffeine also increases the production of the "feel-good" neurochemical dopamine, which you get addicted to. Dopamine gives you a feeling of pleasure and motivation.
As mentioned above, caffeine gives you more energy, focus, and mental clarity. It also indirectly stimulates the release of serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid, which are known to improve sleep, stress & anxiety feelings, and more.
Caffeine is known to support your memory and learning ability. This is also an effect of the blockage of the adenosine receptors.
Blocking the adenosine receptors has a lot of benefits, as you've read above. And I'll mention one more.
As the adenosine receptors get blocked, so do some of our pain receptors, making our threshold for pain higher. This is why caffeine is a constituent of many over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs. It even increases the effectiveness of pain relievers by up to 40%.
Caffeine protects against free radicals thanks to it being a plant nutrient with antioxidants. It enhances our antioxidant defense, which helps fight free radicals.
The antioxidant regulates oxidative balance, healthy nerve cells, and brain function.
Caffeine is good for physical work as it elevates your physical energy and performance. As caffeine gets your body to create more adrenaline, your blood vessels and air passages dilate, increasing blood flow and oxygen to your brain and muscles. To maximize the results, you should seek to drink coffee one hour before your workout.
Let's summarize it for an easier look.
Caffeine improves attention & focus
Caffeine enhances problem solving and creativity
Caffeine fuels mental alertness
Caffeine elevates your mood
Caffeine regulates the oxidative balance
Caffeine protects against free radicals
Caffeine makes our pain threshold higher
Caffeine gives you energy
Caffeine gives your mental clarity
Caffeine improves sleep
Caffeine decreases feelings of stress & anxiety
Caffeine enhances exercise performance.
Caffeine decreases the risks of brain dysfunctions and diseases.
Caffeine doesn't tell why it isn't suitable for some. It affects everyone differently. What makes your caffeine experience unique is your age, sex, genes, diet, hormones, metabolism, etc.
You may experience side effects such as jitters, insomnia, withdrawal headaches, and a few more. Let's look at how they affect you.
Feeling jitters is when you start feeling shaky, mainly in your hands. You may feel a sense of restlessness in your body and have a hard time relaxing. This happens when you've had more caffeine than your body can handle at that point.
It usually doesn't last long, as it only takes about 15-60 minutes for your body to absorb the caffeine. After that, you start going downwards in energy and get the caffeine crash we all can relate so much to.
Caffeine-caused insomnia is when you take caffeine too close to your bedtime. Caffeine is most active during the first 6 hours of taking it and should be avoided within 3 hours of sleep. Doing otherwise will damage your Circadian rhythm. Even if you can fall asleep after taking caffeine, you are most likely not getting good sleep.
Addiction and withdrawals go hand in hand. As we've mentioned above, caffeine is somewhat addictive. Because it's something we so often consume, it's very easy to fall into a caffeine addiction. And when we forget or stop drinking our usual amounts of caffeine, we get headaches. If you stop, you can experience nausea and sleepiness in the next few days. This affects about half of the people trying to quit caffeine. It's not dangerous, but it can be uncomfortable.
We'll summarize this into a list as well.
Caffeine may cause Jitters
Caffeine may cause insomnia
Caffeine may addictions
Caffeine may cause withdrawal, headaches & nausea
Caffeine may cause a caffeine crash
Caffeine may disturb your Circadian rhythm
Caffeine may cause increased blood pressure
As mentioned, caffeine is different for different people depending on many variables. But most scientists do agree on some things.
Like the fact that you should not consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine daily; for some, that may be lower. But even if you stay below this red line, you should still have good margins on your bedtime. Caffeine can take up to 10 hours to leave your body, and knowing this might give you a good idea of when you should have your coffee.
If you start feeling jitters, as we mentioned above, you've had too much. Think about the amount you had and make a mental reminder of how much was too much. Consider things like food intake before you consumed caffeine and if you had done anything particular this time.
Knowing your body and when it thinks you've had too much caffeine is good knowledge to possess.
Because of the daily consumption of energy drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate, and more, we consume caffeine at historic levels.
Caffeine has become such a part of our life that many consider it a necessity to be able to function normally or even start their day.
Luckily the benefits outweigh the downsides when we consume it in moderation. That means 2-3 cups of coffee a day, four at most.
If we translate that to energy drinks, it is at most four small cans of Redbull (80 mg Caffeine) or two small cans of Monster (160 mg Caffeine). But, consider that if you drink four cans of Redbull, you also consume 108 mg of sugar. If that is something you want to do, I suggest you look into the side effects of sugar.
Getting caffeine through coffee is by far the best way to get energized. Plus, coffee has many mental and physical benefits beyond being one of life's pleasures. And if you mix it with spices, it might become even better!