Millions of people start their day with a boost of caffeine with a cup of coffee or tea. Amid all the myths and controversies moderate use of caffeine can bring both benefits and risk.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is a psychoactive drug meaning it can change the mood, behaviour, alertness, consciousness, cognition of the user. It is one of the most used legal unregulated psychoactive drug all over the world.
Mechanism of Action of Caffeine.
Caffeine works by stimulating the Central Nervous System. Caffeine, when consumed, is directly and quickly absorbed from the gut to the bloodstream. The liver then receives it and breaks it into compounds which exert action on the various organ of your body.
Mainly, It acts in the brain by reversibly blocking the action of adenosine in the adenosine receptor which consequently prevents the onset of drowsiness, tiredness induced by adenosine. It also stimulates other parts of the autonomic nervous system.
Caffeine may also increase blood adrenaline levels and increase brain activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
Sources of Caffeine
Naturally, caffeine is found in :
- Tea Leaves
- Coffee beans
- Cocao plant ( used to make chocolate products)
- Kola nuts ( used as a flavouring in soft drink colas)
Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, and chocolate, and it is regularly added to gum, jelly beans, waffles, water energy drink, syrup and other snacks.
It is also available in the form of tablets, capsules, suppository for medical use.
About 400 mg of caffeine per day is considered safe for your body. Which would mean about 4 cups of coffee, 10 glass of your favourite soda and usually 2 energy drinks.
Risk and Benefits of Caffeine
Benefits of caffeine to your body.
Caffeine is said to have many health benefits, but all of them are not backed by research.
- It stimulates your Central Nervous system, makes you alert, temporarily removes drowsiness and fatigue and gives you a boost of energy however caffeine is not a substitute for sleep.
- Caffeine is a diuretic meaning it helps your body to get rid of excess body salt and water.
- It boosts your metabolic performance and may help in weight loss.
- Research has found that daily use of caffeine in high content may reduce the chances of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Caffeine may enhance exercise performance. It increases the use of fat as fuel and makes glucose last in your tissue longer, which increases your tolerance to fatigue.
- Research has also shown that the use of caffeine may also enhance long term memory power for up to 24 hours.
The risk associated with the use of Caffeine.
1. Caffeine is addictive and can cause withdrawal symptoms.
If a body is dependent on caffeine, the sudden withdrawal of caffeine form diet can cause withdrawal symptoms within 12-24 hours.
Gradual withdrawal of caffeine from your diet is recommended and reduces the chances of suffering from any unpleasant side effects.
2. Caffeine has also said to promote high blood pressure, headache and migraine.
3. In Pregnancy, Caffeine consumption posses increased risk of miscarriage and fetal growth retardation.
4. Acidity and heartburn.
5. In a patient with heart disease, caffeine is seen to have an increased risk of an irregular heartbeat.
6. Other Side effect includes anxiety, restlessness, tremors, insomnia.
You can always relax and enjoy one or two cups of your favourite coffee a day. It might just be good for your health but excess consumption may set you back on health problems.
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