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Caffeine Effects

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Around 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine in one form or another every single day. More than half of all American adults consume more than 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine every day, making it America’s most popular drug by far. The caffeine comes in from things like coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, etc.

Around 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine in one form or another every single day. More than half of all American adults consume more than 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine every day, making it America’s most popular drug by far. The caffeine comes in from things like coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, etc.

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes caffeine so popular? What does this drug do that causes its use to be so widespread? In this article, you will learn all about caffeine.

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a drug that is naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. It’s also produced artificially and added to certain foods. It’s part of the same group of drugs sometimes used to treat asthma.

Caffeine is defined as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system, causing increased heart rate and alertness. Most people who are sensitive to caffeine experience a temporary increase in energy and elevation in mood.

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Caffeine is an addictive drug. Among its many actions, it operates using the same mechanisms that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin use to stimulate the brain. On a spectrum, caffeine’s effects are more mild than amphetamines, cocaine and heroin, but it is manipulating the same channels, and that is one of the things that gives caffeine its addictive qualities. If you feel like you cannot function without it and must consume it every day, then you are addicted to caffeine.

Products containing caffeine

Caffeine is in tea leaves, coffee beans, chocolate, many soft drinks, pain relievers, and other over-the-counter pills. In its natural form, caffeine tastes very bitter. But most caffeinated drinks have gone through enough processing to camouflage the bitter taste. Most teens get the majority of their caffeine intake through soft drinks, which can also have added sugar and artificial flavors.

Effects of caffeine

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. In moderate doses, caffeine can:

  • increase alertness
  • reduce fine motor coordination
  • cause insomnia
  • cause headaches, nervousness and dizziness

In massive doses, caffeine is lethal. A fatal dose of caffeine has been calculated to be more than 10 grams (about 170 mg/kg body weight) – this is the same as drinking 80 to 100 cups of coffee in rapid succession – not an easy thing to do.

Caffeine enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine and can have its effects as soon as 15 minutes after it is consumed. Once in the body, caffeine will stay around for hours: it takes about 6 hours for one half of the caffeine to be eliminated.

Caffeine belongs to the xanthine chemical group. Adenosine is a naturally occurring xanthine in the brain that is used as a neurotransmitter at some synapses. One effect of caffeine is to interfere with adenosine at multiple sites in the brain including the reticular formation. Caffeine also acts at other sites in the body to increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels, relax air passages to improve breathing and allow some muscles to contract more easily.

Caffeine increases heartbeat, respiration, basal metabolic rate, gastroenteric reflexes, and the production of stomach acid and urine; and it relaxes smooth muscles, notably the bronchial muscle. All of these changes vary considerably among people and may depend upon the individual’s sensitivity to this drug, his/her metabolism, or upon whether the consumer habitually uses or rarely uses caffeine. How long caffeine’s effects last is influenced by the person’s hormonal status, whether he/she smokes or takes medications, or has a disease that impairs liver functioning.

Caffeine may cause withdrawal symptoms for those who abruptly stop consuming it. These include severe headaches, muscle aches, temporary depression, and irritability.

Caffeine sensitivity refers to the amount of caffeine that will produce an effect in someone. This amount varies from person to person. On average, the smaller the person, the less caffeine necessary to produce side effects. However, caffeine sensitivity is most affected by the amount of daily caffeine use. People who regularly drink beverages containing caffeine soon develop a reduced sensitivity to caffeine. This means they require higher doses of caffeine to achieve the same effects as someone who doesn’t drink caffeinated drinks every day. In short, the more caffeine you take in, the more caffeine you’ll need to feel the same effects.

Caffeine has health risks for certain users. Small children are more sensitive to caffeine because they have not been exposed to it as much as older children or adults. Pregnant women or nursing mothers should consider decreasing their caffeine intake, although in small or moderate amounts there is no evidence that it causes a problem for the baby. Caffeine can aggravate heart problems or nervous disorders, and some teens may not be aware that they’re at risk.

Caffeine Dose

Although the effects of caffeine vary from one person to the next, doctors recommend that people should consume no more than about 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily. That might sound like a lot, but one espresso contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine!

For most people, the amount of caffeine in two to four cups of coffee a day is not harmful. However, too much caffeine can make you restless, anxious and irritable. It may also keep you from sleeping well and cause headaches, abnormal heart rhythms or other problems. If you stop using caffeine, you could get withdrawal symptoms.

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. They should limit their use of caffeine. So should pregnant and nursing women. Certain drugs and supplements may interact with caffeine. If you have questions about whether caffeine is safe for you, talk with your health care provider.

Cutting Back Caffeine

If you’re taking in too much caffeine, you may want to cut back. Kicking the caffeine habit is never easy, and the best way is to cut back slowly. Otherwise you could get headaches and feel achy, depressed, or lousy.

Try cutting your intake by substituting noncaffeinated drinks for caffeinated sodas and coffee. Examples include water, caffeine-free sodas, and caffeine-free teas. Keep track of how many caffeinated drinks you have each day, and substitute one drink per week with a caffeine-free alternative until you’ve gotten below the 100-milligram mark.

As you cut back on the amount of caffeine you consume, you may find yourself feeling tired. Your best bet is to hit the sack, not the sodas: It’s just your body’s way of telling you it needs more rest. Your energy levels will return to normal in a few days.

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1 COMMENT

  1. […] Oh, it’s hard, you know. But not only coffee contain caffeine. Caffeine is an addictive drug. Among its many actions, it operates using the same mechanisms that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin use to stimulate the brain. On a spectrum, caffeine’s effects are more mild than amphetamines, cocaine and heroin, but it is manipulating the same channels, and that is one of the things that gives caffeine its addictive qualities. If you feel like you cannot function without it and must consume it every day, then you are addicted to caffeine. Caffeine Effects […]

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