Caffeine is probably the most frequently ingested drug in the world. Americans consume loads of caffeine on a daily basis, to stay energized throughout the day. Caffeine most commonly consumed through soft drinks, coffees, and teas. It’s been reported that the average American drinks about 200 mg of caffeine per day, which translates to about 2 cups of coffee. After conducting a poll on my social networks, I discovered there to be confusion on the effects of caffeine towards our bodies. This article will discuss the truth about caffeine and how It influences our health.
Many individuals will often discuss their perceived addiction to caffeine or coffee. The truth is, caffeine is not actually addictive. You can’t develop an addiction to caffeine but you can develop a dependency. A dependency just means that when you have less of It, you go through a mild “withdrawal.” Caffeine does enhance dopamine signaling in the brain and acts as a stimulant but It does not cause a large surge that unbalances the reward circuits in the brain, necessary for an addiction. Scientifically speaking, It’s not addictive. Some of the withdrawals experienced by heavy caffeine drinkers include, sleepiness, feeling overtired, and headaches. However, these symptoms will subside in a matter of a few days.
There have been many studies that examined the adverse affects of caffeine on human health. Based on the data reviewed, It can be concluded that moderate caffeine consumption, ranging up to 400 mg per day, is not associated with any negative health effects on healthy individuals. Some populations, such as pregnant women and children, may be advised to monitor their caffeine intake and not surpass 300mg, but generally speaking, the effects of the stimulant are harmless. Some studies found anxiety and altered behavior for pre-adolescents consuming caffeine. However, it’s safe to say moderate caffeine is not associated with cardiovascular effects, changes in adult behavior, or incidence of disease, such as cancer.
Benefits of Caffeine
Caffeine may propose benefits to your health when taken in moderation. Caffeine can improve memory, decrease fatigue, and improve your mental functioning. It can also improve your reaction time and make you more alert. Coffee drinking may even help prevent type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, and liver disease, including liver cancer.
What does this mean?
Caffeine may be consumed without the risk of health issues arising. However, research supporting the consumption of caffeine are fixed around moderate consumption. Anything taking out of moderation can potentially be dangerous to your health. Caffeine is often accompanied with other health harming ingredients when consumed. Therefore, being mindful of the sugars and hidden ingredients, is crucial for your health. If you choose to consume caffeine, maintain the moderate level up to 400mg per day or, 3-4 cups of caffeinated coffee, to assure your safety and health.
Joris C. Verster, Juergen Koenig. (2018) Caffeine intake and its sources: A review of national representative studies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 58:8, pages 1250-1259.
Lane, J. D., Adcock, R. A., Williams, R. B., & Kuhn, C. M. (1990). Caffeine effects on cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to acute psychosocial stress and their relationship to level of habitual caffeine consumption. Psychosomatic Medicine, 52(3), 320-336. doi:10.1097/00006842-199005000-00006