Caffeine Facts: 3 Interesting Things to Know about Caffeine

Caffeine Facts: 4 Interesting Things to Know about Caffeine

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in cocoa plants, tea, and coffee. It is consumed worldwide; in fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 80% of the world’s population consumes some form of caffeine every day.

What Effect Does Caffeine Have on Your body?

Most people rely on caffeine for a wake-up boost in the morning or for an instant buzz of energy to beat the afternoon slump. What many of us do not realize is that caffeine does more than just keep us awake. As a central nervous system stimulant, it has several effects on your body.

Understanding the long-term effects caffeine has on our body may make you think twice before gulping down yet another cup of coffee.

Let us discuss the effects of caffeine on your body in detail.

Central Nervous System

We have already established that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. As soon as it reaches your brain, it makes you more alert and it shoos away your tiredness– this is perhaps the core reason why people like to have a dose of caffeine in the morning.

This stimulating effect has made caffeine a common ingredient in medications that treat or help with migraines, drowsiness, and headaches.

Studies suggest that consuming caffeine on a regular basis may help cut down the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and even suicide by as much as 45%. However, these benefits seem to be restricted to people who drink high-octane coffee and not decaf coffee.

Given the beneficial effect of caffeine on the central nervous system, many people consider coffee as a healthy drink. However, it is important to understand that consuming too much caffeine can yield unpleasant side effects.

Health Effects of Caffeine

Health Effects of Caffeine

Digestive and Excretory Systems

Caffeine increases the level of acid in your stomach; hence, it may result in heartburn or an upset stomach.

In addition to this, your body does not store excess caffeine. It gets rid of it through urination after processing it in the liver. This explains why your urge to urinate increases significantly after just a few minutes of consuming caffeine.

In case you experience stomach complications, such as ulcers or an acid reflux, consider talking to your doctor to make sure caffeine consumption is not harmful to you.

Circulatory and Respiratory systems

Within an hour or two of consuming caffeine, your body absorbs it from the stomach, and it takes no time for it to reach its highest levels in the bloodstream.

After consuming caffeine, you may experience your blood pressure level increasing temporarily. This effect is either because of an increase in adrenaline or a temporary blockage of hormones that are responsible for widening your arteries.

In most people, caffeine does not have a long-term effect on blood pressure levels. However, caffeine may push your heart to work harder if you have irregular heart rhythms. If you have high blood pressure, or hypertension, or any other heart-related condition, we would recommend you consult your doctor to find out if caffeine consumption is safe for you.

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Skeletal and Muscular Systems

You should keep a tab on your caffeine consumption every day. In large amounts, it may cause hindrance in the absorption and metabolism of calcium, which may further cause your bones to thicken resulting in osteoporosis. Too much caffeine in the body can also cause muscle twitching.

Reproductive System

For all pregnant women out there, it is crucial to understand that caffeine can potentially cross into the placenta while traveling within the bloodstream. With its stimulating properties, it may lead to an increase in your baby’s heart rate and metabolism.

Consuming too much caffeine when you are pregnant can also slow down the growth of the fetus and increase the risk of a miscarriage. Therefore, we would recommend pregnant women to not consume more than just a little caffeine.

Even if you are trying to get pregnant, you should consider limiting your caffeine consumption between 200-300 milligrams per day. Studies imply that increased caffeine consumption may interfere with your metabolism and estrogen production, which is vital for conception.

Caffeine Overdose: How Much Is too Much?

For healthy adults, the recommended amount of caffeine is typically 400 milligrams a day. On the other hand, adolescents should limit themselves to a maximum of 100 milligrams caffeine per day. If you consume more than this amount, caffeine overdose may occur.

This is a general dosage recommendation of caffeine, while the potential safe amount of caffeine may vary from individual to individual. This depends on their weight, age, and overall health status.

After you consume caffeine, it takes between 1.5 hours to 9.5 hours for the caffeine level in your blood to drop to its half. This wide range in the average half-life of caffeine makes predicting the exact amount that can lead to an overdose quite challenging.

Having said that, it is noteworthy that caffeine overdose in severe cases may prove fatal. Nevertheless, many people only experience some unpleasant symptoms that tend to go away as soon as caffeine leaves the body.

Causes and Risk Factors of Caffeine Overdose

Consuming too much of caffeine drinks, foods, or medications is the ultimate cause of caffeine overdose.

While there are some cases where people can apparently ingest way more than the recommended daily amount of caffeine without any problem, this, however, is exceptional and is strictly NOT recommended.

Caffeine overdose can lead to serious health complications, such as seizures and irregular heartbeat. Moreover, if you consume a high dose of caffeine on a regular basis, you can possibly experience hormonal imbalances as well.

If you consume caffeine only occasionally or perhaps rarely, you would want to keep the amount ingested to a minimum. In contrast, if caffeinated products are a staple in your daily diet, you should look out for any unpleasant symptoms. These should be a warning enough to stop immediately.

Best Caffeine Pills for Energy

Best Caffeine Pills for Energy

What Are the Symptoms of Caffeine Overdose?

Caffeine overdose comes with several warning signs. Some symptoms of caffeine overdose may be mild enough to not worry you that you have had too much caffeine. These not-so-serious symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Increased thirst
  • Diarrhea
  • irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Fever

Other symptoms, however, can be more severe and warrant immediate medical attention. These may include:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular or accelerated heart rate
  • Breathing problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements

Surprisingly, even babies can experience caffeine overdose if breast milk contains excessive caffeine amounts. Mild symptoms like nausea and continuous tensing and relaxing of muscles may occur in addition to some serious signs, such as vomiting, rapid breathing, and shock. These symptoms call for emergency medical treatment.

Diagnosing Caffeine Overdose

Upon suspecting a caffeine overdose, you should inform your doctor about the caffeinated products you consumed before experiencing the symptoms.

While diagnosing caffeine overdose, the doctor is likely to check your breathing rate, heartbeat, and blood pressure level. Moreover, they may also take your temperature and probably give you a urine or blood test to identify the drugs in your system.

Treatment for Caffeine Overdose

The treatment for caffeine overdose involves excreting caffeine from the body while managing the symptoms. Activated charcoal is a common remedy that inhibits caffeine from entering the gastrointestinal tract.

If caffeine has already passed into the intestine, you may receive a laxative or a gastric lavage – when the doctor washes the content of your stomach with a tube.

Throughout the treatment process, the doctor will use an electrocardiogram (EKG) to monitor your heart rate, and if there is a need, they offer breathing support.

For mild symptoms, you can simply wait for the caffeine to leave your body or treat the overdose yourself by using home remedies, such as drinking water, doing mild exercise, or eating potassium or magnesium-rich foods, including leafy green vegetables and bananas.

If you are having second thoughts about self-treatment, you can simply consult your doctor to seek advice.

Can Caffeine Treat Depression?

There is a wealth of clinical evidence supporting the hypothesis that caffeine can treat depression.

Many observational studies suggest that caffeine consumption may decrease the risk of depression. One study confirmed the link between coffee consumption and decreased depression.

Furthermore, another 10-year study found that consuming caffeinated coffee might reduce the risk of suicide.

While the type of caffeinated product in addition to an individual’s age and caffeine sensitivity level may play a role, caffeine seems to have the potential to treat depression.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Depression is a real disorder and calls for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The symptoms of depression include:

  • Excessive sadness
  • Panic feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • A sudden change in appetite
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Unexplained pains or aches

Does Caffeine Trigger or Treat Migraines?

You may be surprised to hear that caffeine can trigger and treat migraines.

Knowing that it is beneficial for you may help treat a migraine and knowing that you should avoid it may also help.

Many migraine medications contain caffeine, so even if you are not a regular tea or coffee drinker, you may be consuming it.

What Causes Migraines?

Here are some common triggers that cause a migraine.

  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Skipping a meal or fasting
  • Humidity
  • Powerful smells
  • Bright lights
  • Hormonal changes

Some prescription medications can also cause a migraine. In addition to this, different foods often combine with other triggers, resulting in a migraine.

How Can Caffeine Ease a Migraine?

Before you experience a migraine, your blood vessels tend to enlarge.

With amazing vasoconstrictive properties, caffeine eases migraines by restricting the blood flow. This is how consuming caffeine can help relieve the pain of a migraine.

How Can Caffeine Make a Migraine Worse?

Where to Buy Caffeine Pills

Where to Buy Caffeine Pills

One good reason to not rely on caffeinated items to treat your migraine is that caffeine can make migraines worse.

Regularly consuming caffeine can lead to dependency, which means you will need to increase the amount of caffeine you take to experience the same desired effects. Increasing your daily caffeine intake may harm your body in several ways. It can cause tremors, sleep disturbances, and nervousness. Worst-case scenario, you may even develop a caffeine use disorder.

One study found that people who often experience migraines experienced a significant decrease in the intensity of their headaches after discontinuing the consumption of caffeine.

This, however, does not mean you should not drink a cup of tea or coffee when you feel a migraine coming on. While caffeine may not cause a headache, it surely can trigger a caffeine rebound.

A caffeine rebound is a condition experienced when you regularly consume high amounts of caffeine and suddenly stop; thus, you end up experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The side effects may be serious. Sometimes they may be worse than a bad headache or a migraine itself.

Considering the individual differences when it comes to caffeine reaction, we cannot say that there is a set amount of caffeine that causes rebound headaches. It is possible for a person to drink a cup of coffee daily and experience nothing unpleasant as much as it is possible for someone to get rebound headaches from just a single cup in a week.

Caffeine Safety and Side Effects

In general, health experts consider caffeine consumption as safe.

However, you should bear in mind that caffeine is addictive, and some people, because of their gene makeup, may be more sensitive to it.

Some side effects of caffeine include tremors, anxiety, restlessness, irregular heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, and sleep problems. Consuming too much caffeine can also lead to headaches, migraines, chest pain, and increased blood pressure in some individuals.

Furthermore, caffeine may interact with certain medicines to produce negative side effects. Therefore, it is important for individuals who take the antidepressant Luvox or the muscle relaxant Zanaflex to avoid caffeine consumption. Both these medications can boost its effects.

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