Up to 68% of Americans are hooked to consuming caffeine every day. This proves that caffeine is part of the daily consumption of people and almost everyone craves for it. Caffeine may be found in various foods and beverages such as coffee, chocolates, sodas and other energy drinks.
Other products such as weight loss supplements also contain caffeine because of the calorie burning capabilities of which. Various studies have pointed out the contradicting effects of caffeine in the body. Some may say caffeine is beneficial while others provide a contrasting result saying that caffeine may cause harm for the health. For caffeine consumers, the negative effects of caffeine might be surpassed by the benefits they get making them continue to consume caffeine daily, but for some, the negative effects may just lead to more serious health effects.
Mechanism of Caffeine
Caffeine is a natural stimulant, which causes both CNS and cardiac stimulation. It also increases the stress response because of the absence of adenosine to control the over stimulation of the cells. According to studies, caffeine may also be addicting to some people and may produce withdrawal symptoms once the regular caffeine intake is reduced.
Pros of Caffeine
The stimulating effects of caffeine may produce beneficial results for consumers such as:
• It improves the memory
When caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, the frontal lobe also tends to be stimulated leading to improved memory. In fact, caffeine may improve the overall cognitive functioning and alertness of individuals because of the simple fact that it improves the brain signalling in the brain.
• It reduces fatigue
Caffeine also has a calorie burning effect because of the increase in the utilization of calories as a result of increased cardiac stimulation. This increase in energy levels may help reduce feelings of fatigue or tiredness.
• Increases reaction time
The stimulating effects of caffeine also improve the reaction to stress so people who consume caffeine usually have widened perceptual field.
Drinking coffee at most three cups a day was also found to reduce the risks for Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and liver problems.
Cons of Caffeine
Although caffeine may produce positive results, a number of disadvantages may also be seen among people who consume more than the recommended daily allowances including:
• Increases blood pressure
People with hypertension or a family history of high blood pressure may have abnormally elevated blood pressure when caffeine is regularly consumed. This increase in blood pressure coupled with increased reaction to stress and elevated heart rate has been found to cause heart diseases over time.
• Increases blood glucose levels
The intake of coffee and other caffeine containing foods and beverages may also cause elevated blood sugar levels especially when sodas and other sugar-rich beverages are consumed. However, this effect is related to the actual sugar content of the beverages and foods and not directly due to the caffeine content.
• Lowers bone mineral density
Caffeine was also found to be antagonistic to calcium wherein constantly elevated caffeine levels in the body may cause depletion in calcium in the bones and blood leading to bone disorders and muscle twitches overtime.
• Causes insomnia
Chronic coffee drinkers are also seen to suffer from insomnia because of the constant alertness from caffeine. Insomnia is also seen to occur with nervousness, anxiety and tremors.
The advantages and disadvantages of caffeine implicate the need for moderate caffeine consumption. Benefits of caffeine is seen when caffeine is taken moderately and the downfalls are usually developed with too much caffeine consumption. Due to these, make sure to consume caffeine within the daily recommended allowances of at most 3 cups of coffee a day.