Everyone has had those overtime nights-shifts, or an assignment due the next day, which puts pressure on their body to work in overdrive. And the basic resolution is often a mug or two of coffee.
Coffee contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant that helps in increasing mental alertness as it works on the central nervous system (CNS). It is extracted by a process called infusion, steeping the plant product in water. It is found in the seeds, nuts, or leaves of around sixty plant species. Common sources are the “beans” (seeds) of the two cultivated coffee plants, Coffea arabica, and Coffea canephora.
It is one of the most commonly used stimulants; global consumption of caffeine has been estimated at 120,000 tonnes per year. Consumption within limits is generally considered safe (dose of less than 400 mg per day).
The most well-known source of caffeine is coffee beans. People may use other products containing it, such as tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, other beverages, chocolate, caffeine tablets, other oral and inhalation products.
But, through the time the benefits and the downside of this natural stimulant are questioned upon and weighed against each other. Extensive researches have shown the effects of caffeine, both sides of the coin: the positive and the negative.
What Are The Effects Of Caffeine?
The Positive Effects Of Caffeine
1. Mental Alertness
Caffeine contains antioxidants, affects receptors and act on various pathways in the brain. It’s shown to increase alertness and attention, improve reaction time, reasoning and memory. It also increases the efficiency of work in a state of sleep-deprivation.
It is used for the treatment of various headaches, including migraines, tension headaches, and headaches after surgery. It is approved by the FDA for this purpose.
3. Weight Loss
It suppresses the appetite and temporarily reduces the desire to eat. Many products that are marketed as promoters of weight loss contain caffeine.
It increases endurance performance, capacity, delay exhaustion and reduces exertion. In endurance exercises like swimming or running, on the short-term it has shown better performance.
5. Risk Reduction
Drinking caffeine is linked with a lower risk of developing several diseases including gallbladder diseases, type 2 diabetes, liver diseases, strokes, skin cancer, and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s.
It has been suggested that it improves airway function, which can be helpful in patients suffering from asthma.
Besides these, there are other assumed benefits of caffeine that are being researched upon.
The Negative Effects Of Caffeine
1. Mental Disorders
Caffeine might worsen some pre-existing mental disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia in some people. It has also shown to increase stress, which makes people more vulnerable to mental disorders.
It may lead to dependency, capable of causing physical as well as psychological withdrawal symptoms if the consumption is stopped. People who consume it daily also showed higher cravings for caffeine.
Its laxative qualities stimulate bowel movements; large doses may lead to loose stools, diarrhea, or other digestive problems.
4. Heart Functions
It may lead to altered heartbeat rhythm, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and irregular heartbeat.
5. Bladder Control
It causes an increase in urination; bladder control worsens by frequency and the urge of urination. It has also been linked to incontinence.
6. Rebound Fatigue
It’s used to increase alertness and activity but can cause opposite effects like tiredness and fatigue, after the amount of caffeine consumed is cleared out of the system.
7. Drug Interactions
Antibiotics, bronchodilators, antipsychotics, diuretics, estrogens, and a number of herbs and supplements may interact with caffeine and cause serious complications or affects.
Besides these, caffeine may cause incontinence, muscle spasms, nervousness, restlessness, and dizziness.
Although, the current trend of abusing the substance and forming Caffeine-related disorders remains a matter of concern. In the general population of healthy adults’ moderate consumption of it appears to be harmless and may bring health benefits. However, understanding one’s own body: size, sex, sensitivity, effects, medications, or supplements should be kept in mind while setting the consumption value, as impacts vary from person to person.