Caffeine is probably one of the most frequently used brain stimulating substances, commonly found in beverages like coffee, tea, etc. The amount of caffeine varies with the beverage type, for example coffee contains more caffeine than tea. The daily intake of caffeine has been a topic of debate among health experts for many years. Some suggest that caffeine stimulates the nervous system, thus improving the learning abilities and cognitive skills of a person. On the other hand, some health experts are of the opinion that excessive consumption of caffeine can have long-term adverse effects on the physical and mental health of a person (Chawla, 2013).1
This blog post discusses various aspects in which caffeine intake influences human health. Readers will also be guided about the appropriate dosage of caffeine.
What is Caffeine Action?
The study of DiSalvo (2012)2 focuses on the neurological action of caffeine and how it makes a person hyperactive. Contrary to the normal perception that caffeine stimulates the nervous system, caffeine merely mimics the function and shape of a neurochemical substance found naturally in the human body called adenosine. The human brain is programmed to monitor adenosine levels in the human body. When the threshold is reached, the human brain stops producing adenosine, thus making a person go to sleep. Caffeine, on the other hand, has this remarkable ability to copy the formula and structure of adenosine. It functions in the same way as adenosine, but is not detected by the adenosine receptors generated by the brain, thus improving the productivity and energy level of a person. However, DiSalvo mentions that a person should always consult a physician or a health expert to follow an appropriate dosage of caffeine in accordance with his/her health conditions.
Positive Effects of Caffeine
Narula (2013)3 conducted a study to highlight the positive and negative effects of caffeine intake. The study emphasized that the side effects of caffeine depend on the dosage and health conditions of a person. Some of the many positive effects of caffeine on human health are:
1. Reduced Risks of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases
Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease is caused due to the reduced number of brain cells. Narula, in the study, quoted that a number of case studies have proven that caffeine intake not only increases the life of brain cells, but also facilitates the production of new cells, thus decreasing the risk of mental disorders or brain-related diseases. The study also highlighted the fact that caffeine sources like green tea or coffee remove dead cells from the body and replace them with fresh ones. This not only ensures proper functioning of the brain, but also keeps other vital organs healthy.
2. Controlled Mood Swings
Hiwale (2014)4 mentioned in a research study that caffeine not only increases the energy level and productivity, but also controls mood swings. Mood swings are caused due to hormonal imbalance. Caffeine ensures proper functioning of hormones secreting glands and decreases the risk of bipolar or depressive diseases.
3. Improved Memory
Narula also highlighted that caffeine when functioning with adenosine, improves the learning abilities of a person. The combination is considered highly effective in improving the memory of a person. Caffeine, by reducing sugar levels in the blood, makes the mind more alert and allows a person to think simultaneously in multiple directions. The study of Narula also quoted a case study which proves that people who take caffeine regularly have better decision-making abilities.
4. Healthy Heart
Dean (2013)5, in a research study highlighted that caffeine not only improves the functioning of the brain, but also decreases the risk of heart strokes and failure. Caffeine contains a large amount of antioxidants which facilitate circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body. Moreover, caffeine also reduces the risk of blocked vessels.
Negative Effects of Caffeine
Narula also highlighted some negative effects of excessive use of caffeine on human health:
Excessive use of caffeine reduces calcium density in bones, thus increasing the risk of diseases like osteoporosis. The author said that 6 ounces of coffee or caffeine rich beverages can reduce up to 5mg of calcium from bones.
As caffeine imitates the structure and shape of adenosine, it increases the working capacity of a person. However, excessive use of caffeine can result in loss of sleep or insomnia, which adversely affects human health.
The study also mentioned that women who consume large quantities of caffeine on a daily basis are more prone to miscarriages and fertility issues. The neurochemical substance disturbs menstrual cycles in women and impacts the production of eggs.
1. Chawla J. (2013). Neurologic Effects of Caffeine.
2. DiSalvo D. (2012). What Caffeine Really Does to Your Brain.
3. Narula S. (2013). Positive And Negative Health Effects Of Caffeine.
4. Hiwale D. (2014). Caffeine - Why Can't We Jump-Start Our Day Without It?
5. Dean J. (2013). What Caffeine Really Does to Your Brain.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.