What is Caffeine – Benefits and Side Effects

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Overview 

Coffee is a go-to morning beverage for many. Coffee aficionados all over the world usually turn a blind eye to the pros and cons of drinking their favourite brew.

People rely on it several times throughout the day while engaging in various activities. The caffeine in coffee forms a regular component of the daily routine for most people. This is especially true for those enjoying beverages like creamy lattes, earthy tea and smooth cold brews. 

The stimulating benefits of coffee can come in handy when in need. But caffeine has advantages more than just boosting energy.

What is caffeine? 

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that works by activating the central nervous system (CNS). Caffeine is commonly regarded as a drug, which is a psychoactive substance. 

Caffeine is lawful and widely used, in contrast to many other psychotropic substances. Increased alertness is the most vital effect of caffeine.

There are also some adverse effects of caffeine consumption but taking it in the appropriate dose can be healthy. 

Caffeine is found in many common foods and beverages like tea, chocolates, soft drinks, coffee and over-the-counter medications.

The FDA states that 400 mg of caffeine is the recommended daily dosage. When used moderately, caffeine can have various positive effects on health.

How does it work? 

Caffeine activates the central nervous system (Brain and spinal cord) by inhibiting adenosine receptors.

Adenosine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that nerve cells (neurons) produce. Adenosine reduces brain activity and induces sleep when it attaches to certain receptors. Adenosine naturally rises the longer a person is awake and drops while sleeping at night.

Caffeine and adenosine share a lot of structural similarities, making it possible for caffeine to bind to adenosine receptors. This helps us feel more awake and alert as it prevents adenosine from connecting to those receptors.

Caffeine forms 

When it comes to the speed of caffeine delivery and action, there are two primary types instant release and extended-release. The kind of caffeine one consumes impacts how quickly it enters the system, how rapidly the blood levels of caffeine rise, and how it eventually affects the person.

Caffeine is typically taken as instant-release caffeine. There are foods, beverages and supplements that contain this form. It is swiftly absorbed by the body, increasing plasma levels of caffeine, which can also drop as quickly as they rise.

Extended-release caffeine, also known as sustained-release caffeine, is present in supplements like mbg’s focus+ (along with instant-release caffeine, so one gets energy benefits immediately and throughout the day). 

This specific form of caffeine from green coffee beans is created to gradually release over several hours, producing constant energy and cognitive improvements.

Benefits of caffeine 

Improves brain function 

The polyphenol antioxidants found in caffeine help to enhance and improve brain function. Coffee use may enhance cognition and reasoning abilities while also delaying the onset of dementia.

Caffeine also improves memory, which is another way it benefits brain health. Caffeine use, particularly after learning, has been linked to increased long-term memory.

Improves focus 

Caffeine inhibits adenosine receptors and stimulates the pituitary gland to produce some adrenaline. This resembles our natural stress response, increasing our awareness and boosting our energy and alertness. 

Moreover, caffeine indirectly promotes the release of neurotransmitters like GABA, dopamine and serotonin. These “feel-good” neurotransmitters can support attention and focus maintenance, making it easier to accomplish daily tasks.

Helps in weight loss 

Caffeine helps people lose weight over the long term by reducing appetite and raising the body’s resting metabolic rate.

Increases alertness 

Caffeine consumption has been linked to two well-known benefits—increased alertness and attention.

It increases alertness and, in certain situations, sharpens memory and speeds up logical reasoning.

Boosts memory 

Small dosages of caffeine can enhance memory and cognitive function, which may be due to its capacity to bind to adenosine receptors and its neuroprotective benefits.

The effects of coffee on memory may differ based on a person’s demographics (such as age, sex, and caffeine metabolism rate) and memory type.

Caffeine has been shown to improve both short- and long-term memory in young and older people.

Boosts physical performance 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has acknowledged that caffeine can enhance physical performance and endurance capacity during endurance exercise. This helps people who exercise vigorously or go to the gym. Several athletes have also benefited from caffeine use and improved their performance.

Relief for headaches and pain 

Caffeine is an effective pain reliever for headaches and muscle pain. Aspirin and other painkillers have caffeine as an ingredient, which is useful for treating headaches and other discomforts.

Benefits for hair 

Caffeine promotes hair growth in balding people of both genders. This does not imply that to grow hair. One must start consuming more coffee. Instead of increasing the caffeine intake, it is beneficial to use a caffeine-rich solution on the head and scalp.

Pre- and post-workout 

Pre-Workout – Taking coffee before a workout might help us burn more fat and lose weight since it speeds up metabolism. Moreover, caffeine improves mood and energises the body, putting us in the right frame of mind for a productive workout.

Post-Workout – Coffee has long been known for its ability to relieve pain. Most painkillers have caffeine as their primary component. It has been shown that people who exercise or engage in physical training can reduce their post-workout soreness and pain by taking caffeine.

Benefits for skin 

Improved skin texture is among the best advantages of caffeine. They also render antioxidants and anti-ageing effects. When applied to the skin through skincare products or treatments, caffeine helps reduce puffiness and tightens the skin. 

Inflammation, fine lines and wrinkles are reduced by caffeine consumption.

Caffeine sources 

The amount of caffeine in each serving might vary greatly when it comes to the most popular sources of the substance. It relies on several factors, including the method of preparation and brewing time.

According to USDA, the amount of caffeine found in common sources is as follows.

  • Instant coffee – 62 milligrammes (mg) (1 Cup – 240 ml)
  • Brewed coffee – 96 mg (240 ml)
  • Espresso – 64 mg (29.6 ml or 1 ounce)
  • Dark chocolate – 23 mg (1 ounce)
  • Semisweet chocolate chips – 18 mg (60 pieces)
  • Brewed green tea – 28 mg (240 ml)
  • Brewed black tea – 47 mg (240 ml)

Caffeine can also be found in supplements. It can be taken alone or in combination with other nootropic compounds (drugs that boost memory).

Caffeine dosage 

According to the FDA, the recommended daily caffeine intake for a normal person is 400 mg. Scientific research has shown that 400 mg is safe for healthy adults, but for women who are pregnant or attempting to get pregnant, a moderate daily limit of 200 to 300 mg is advisable.

Side effects of caffeine usage 

Insomnia 

People become alert from caffeine consumption, which also helps them focus and stay awake. Too much coffee can make it harder for an individual to fall asleep. According to studies, those who consume higher amounts of caffeine have problems falling and staying asleep.

Fertility 

Caffeine lowers fibrillation activity in the fallopian tubes, which slows the egg’s movement. Fertility may be affected as a result.

Mental disorders 

Caffeine abuse might worsen existing mental health issues. If not taken into consideration, it might negatively impact bipolar disease and anxiety. People with mental health issues are to avoid caffeinated beverages and foods.

Digestive issues 

Overdosing on coffee may cause gastrointestinal issues and stomach inflammation. Caffeine overdoses can cause diarrhoea and, in certain situations, can exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease. It’s best to limit caffeine intake as it can negatively impact the digestive system’s health and performance.

Jitters 

Caffeine can give some people jitters, shakes and restlessness as it raises their adrenaline levels. This is true if caffeine is not paired with its sustained-release compound. Taking it close to bedtime can cause jitters, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Pregnancy 

When used in moderation, caffeine may be safe for pregnant women, but high doses may raise the risk of miscarriage and other complications.

Caffeine is also not recommended for a lactating woman as it could enter the breast milk and cause discomfort to the infant. It is better to consult a doctor for recommended dosage.

Caffeine crash 

Instant-release caffeine is absorbed by the body within 15 to 60 minutes. Its rapid absorption can diminish just as quickly in the absence of sustained-release caffeine, which in some people can result in the dreaded afternoon energy crash.

Dehydration 

Due to its diuretic properties, caffeine can cause frequent urination and dehydration and lower the body’s levels of sodium chloride, potassium chloride and chloride ions.

Addiction 

Coffee addiction is common. After quitting coffee, a person tends to experience withdrawal symptoms like headache, wooziness and drowsiness. In rare cases, it may result in nausea and vomiting.

Conclusion 

Caffeine is a stimulant. It makes the nervous system and brain work harder. Moreover, it causes a greater flow of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline throughout the body.

Caffeine can help us feel awake and alert. Caffeine can cause anxiety and trouble falling asleep when used in high amounts.

It is recommended to consume caffeine in moderate amounts to prevent side effects and benefit from their positive effects.

FAQs 

How much caffeine is too much? 

For a healthy adult, 400 mg of caffeine per day is recommended

How much caffeine is in one cup of coffee? 

94.8 mg of caffeine is present in a cup of coffee

Is caffeine good for the heart? 

One to two cups of coffee a day can help prevent heart failure, which occurs when the heart is too weak to pump enough blood to the body.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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