Caffeine stimulates the Central Nervous System (CNS). Many beverages such as coffee and cola contain caffeine. Its abuse has spread worldwide. Caffeine is used in medications too, such as migraine treatment. Caffeine is a diuretic and can relieve headaches and fatigue. Even many medicines that are used to cure headache contains caffeine as an active ingredient. Some chocolate products also contain caffeine. It is injected in sodium benzoate solution when need arises.
Risks and Benefits of Caffeine Consumption
1. Taking caffeine elevates the mood slightly.
2. It increases alertness and the sensitivities.
3. If consumed in excess can cause nervousness, depression, irritability, insomnia and tremors.
4. It also leads to constriction of blood vessels.
5. It increases the basal metabolic rate.
6. It limits the glucose metabolism.
7. It causes relaxation of smooth muscles.
8. It increases the urine flow.
9. It stimulates the brain and central nervous system and is known to help in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
10. Caffeine intake in athletes is also recommended as it enhances their athletic performance.
Side Effects Associated with Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can cause quite a large number of harmful effects but it’s most common effects include nervousness, headache, increased heart rate, upset stomach, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, heartburn, diarrhea, fatigue, dizziness and insomnia. Over dose of caffeine can be fatal in children.
Caffeine insomnia and hypertension
Besides the above, caffeine can also shorten the sleep time. It can reduce depth of sleep. Caffeine encourages early dream-state sleep and on the other hand, reduces later dream-state sleep. Caffeine, when combined with tobacco smoking, can aggravate the effects caused by elevated blood pressure. Sometimes caffeine is used as an alternative to street drugs made of amphetamine.
Caffeine can cause withdrawal effects too. Prolonged use of caffeine develops dependence. The psychological need of caffeine becomes a ritual, as the inevitable need of a cup of coffee in the morning, to cite an example. Withdrawal of caffeine can cause abstinence syndrome which can start within 18 hours of having taken the last dose of caffeine. The caffeine withdrawal symptoms include headache, irritability, fatigue, depression, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, inability to concentrate, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, and nervousness. However, the most common withdrawal symptom after stopping caffeine is a throbbing headache, occurring at the temples. This ache can also occur around the eyes or at the back of the head. Taking caffeine can cure the above symptoms, but this is not a proper solution.
Caffeine during pregnancy
Caffeine crosses the placenta and it’s over consumption can adversely affect the growing baby inside the womb. So, the consumption of caffeine should be restricted among pregnant ladies.
Caffeine more deteriorating in females
Caffeine intoxication or abuse can cause harmful effects that include agitation, GI irritation, increased cholesterol, nutritional deficiencies, poor concentration and bed wetting. Consuming chocolate also is harmful if it is on a daily basis. It is believed that caffeine can also cause uterine fibroids in women. Hence women should be more careful with consuming chocolate. Cola too contains caffeine. Some soft drinks contain more caffeine than it is in cola.
Recommended amounts of caffeine considered safe
Consuming a moderate amount of caffeine, which would be 200 – 300 mg, may not be harmful for healthy persons. If you have any symptoms caused by caffeine, you have to trim your consumption of caffeine. Caffeine sensitivity depends on mass of body, amount of regular consumption, age, smoking or other conditions related to health. If you have more caffeine sensitivity, limit your consumption. Sleep deprivation caused by caffeine can harm your health in many ways. Some antibacterial medications can interfere with caffeine breakdown and may be present in the body for a longer time.