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Caffeine – Benefits & Side Effects

Health Effects of Caffeine 

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is the stimulant of the central nervous system which is comprised under the group of methyxanthines. It is the psychoactive drug that is legally used by majority of the people. The caffeine is a white crystalline purine which is bitter in taste. The most prominent action of caffeine is to block the action of adenosine thus preventing it from producing drowsiness.

This caffeine is found in the seeds of the plants which are basically from Africa and East Asia. The most common source of caffeine is our coffee beans. Caffeine containing beverages like coffee, tea, cocoa are widely consumed as of now. The American adults consume almost 164 mg of caffeine per day in an average.

Caffeine possesses no nutritional value. Hence it is an unnecessary component in our diet. It’s tasteless that we either don’t know its presence. It is sometimes added to a drug as a component to treat disorder related to mind and alertness.

How does it work?

Caffeine enters the body and quickly absorbed into the blood stream. The caffeine easily passes through the epithelial tissue, from the very first sip onwards. Thus, the caffeine begins to enter your blood stream from your initial sip itself.  It takes almost 45 minutes to make the 95% of caffeine to enter into your blood stream.

As soon as the caffeine enters into your blood stream, the liver starts metabolising it. After metabolising, the caffeine is broken down into theophylline, theobromine and paraxanthine. From the blood stream, these products travel throughout your body and enter into organs and cells, thus affecting the functions.

Not all the caffeine are broken down by the liver, there are some caffeine molecules that are freely roaming in the blood stream. This free caffeine molecules thus makes its entry to the brain. The caffeine has the similar structure as adenosine molecule. This makes the caffeine molecule to easily bind with the adenosine receptors. Thus blocking the work of the adenosine molecule.

The adenosine plays an important role in the sleep wake cycle. The caffeine does not replace the need for sleep but masks the tiredness that is caused.

So with all the part that we discussed above, you might be now thinking, caffeine is filled with only negative effects. Actually it is not like that, caffeine also do possess some beneficial that are essential in our day to day life.

Benefits of caffeine

  • Improves the energy levels and makes you work smarter. A cup of coffee in the mid of heavy stress filled work makes you feel refreshed and energised. This is because; the coffee contains the natural stimulant caffeine. This blocks the inhibitory effects of the neurotransmitters in the brain and giving you more energy and refreshment.
  • Helps in fat burning. The caffeine is the substance that is present in the fat- burning supplements which are available in the commercial market. This caffeine may boost your metabolism from 3-11%. This aids in the quick fat burning to some extent.
  • Improves the physical performance. The caffeine stimulates the nervous system, signalling the fat cells to break down the fat to use it as energy. It also increases the levels of adrenaline, the fight and flight hormone thus preparing the body for any physical exertion.
  • Holds important nutrients. The coffee which is the common beverage provides you some nutrients like riboflavin (11% of RDA), pantothenic acid (6% of RDA), Niacin and magnesium (2% of RDA) and Manganese and potassium (3% of RDA). You may be surprised, but this value actually adds up when you take more cups of coffee in a day.
  • Prevents from certain diseases. The caffeine is used in the treatment of certain disease like Parkinson, Alzheimer and some times in the treatment of diabetes.
  • Aids in the healthy liver. There are several diseases that affects the liver like hepatitis, fatty liver diseases which ultimately leads to cirrhosis. Interestingly, coffee lovers are devoid of these risks. The caffeine in the coffee aids in the decreased rate of liver disorders. Regular consumption of coffee prevents in the gall bladder disorders thus ensuring a healthy gall bladder.
  • May prevent from dementia, depression and helps in living the life happily. The caffeine is used in the drugs used to treat the mind related disorders like dementia, depression and so on. Coffee lovers live their life joyfully.
  • Contains antioxidants which aids in the prevention of many illnesses caused due to free radicals.

Hence, consume the coffee or any other beverage containing caffeine, to a reasonable amount, so as to enjoy the benefits.

When to stop coffee or what are its negative effects

The caffeine, when exceeded in their quantity, may produce some ill effects. You may stop having the coffee, when you see this.

  • There is significant relationship between consuming caffeine and decreased bone density. This may cause osteoporosis.
  • Caffeine is the diuretic thus leading to dehydration some times.
  • Caffeine may cause anxiety and insomnia. The caffeine thus blocking the adenosine receptors increases the alertness, thus making you forget your sleep.
  • Rhabdomylosis is a condition in which the muscle fibre enters into blood stream from the muscle. There are of course several factors that contribute to this disorder but in certain cases, the excessive consumption of caffeine may lead to this condition.
  • Despite its side effects, it becomes more addiction towards its consumption. This addiction produces more problems when you start withdrawing from it.
  • High blood pressure and rapid heart rate. Massive dose of caffeine may increase the heart rate and sometimes excessive pressure may leads to kidney damage.
  • Increased urination may also be seen while the consumption amount has been increased.