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CAFFEINE: The Good, The Bad and The Maybe!

How Caffeine Works:

Adenosine prepares the body for sleep by curbing the interacting between nerve cells and by widening blood vessels to increase the flow of oxygen. Receptors on the surface of the brain cells cannot tell the difference between Adenosine and caffeine. So when you consume caffeine, it attaches itself to the receptors and adenosine is blocked out. Without adenosine to make you sleepy, your brain activity perks up and you are more alert. By blocking adenosine, caffeine also constricts your blood vessels which can make a headache disappear.


The Good:

  1. Parkinson's disease: people who consume caffeine regularly have a lower risk , caffeine seems to protect human brain cells, 100 to 200 milligrams a day.

  2. Gallstones: nurses who drank three cups of coffee a day had a 20% lower risk of gallstones. Tea, decaf coffee and caffeinated soft drinks were NOT protective because not enough caffeine.

  3. Mental Performance: caffeine improves alertness and reaction time, 100-200mg. 20-200mg of caffeine people report an increased well being, happiness, energy and sociability. Over 200mg of caffeine produces increased anxiety, nervousness, jitteriness and upset stomach.

  4. Physical Performance: caffeine helps the body burn fat instead of carbohydrate and it blunts the perception of pain.

  5. Headaches: are caused by blood vessels dilation or they become wider. Caffeine causes blood vessels to constrict which may explain why it can help relieve headache pain.

The Bad:

  1. Sleep: consuming caffeine within three to five hours of bedtime with disturb sleep of most people.

  2. Fertility: 300mg of caffeine a day can reduce odds of becoming pregnant.

  3. Miscarriage: 200mg of caffeine a day more than doubles chance of having a miscarriage.

  4. Birth Defects: No data only in animals

The Maybe:

  1. Heart Disease: No more likely to suffer from heart disease, no higher risk than non-caffeine drinkers.

  2. Cancer: No increased risk to pancreatic, kidney or liver cancer.

  3. Diabetes: Cholinergic acid, a major component of coffee, can delay glucose from being absorbed in the intestines

  4. High Blood Pressure: No higher risk long term if your drink coffee or not, short term rise in blood pressure by 4 points systolic and 2 points diastolic.

  5. Osteoporosis: 5mg loss of calcium for every 180ml of coffee or 355ml cola but this can be offset by adding milk to your coffee.

  6. Dehydration: Caffeine not a diuretic from 45 to 225mg but over 575mg can be considered a diuretic.

  7. Weight Loss: Consuming 100mg of caffeine raises the metabolic rate by 5 percent. That's is equivalent to burning 75/100 extra calories. Double the caffeine and double the increase in metabolic rate.


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