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Before You Pour Yourself That Umpteenth Cup Of Coffee, You Need To Read This!

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Caffeine is naturally found in the leaves and fruits of some plants. It has been consumed since time immemorial. Today, it is consumed throughout the world as tea, coffee and in some carbonated soft drinks.  It is also found in mild quantities in chocolates, cough syrups and non-prescription medicines. It is the most commonly consumed and among the most studied psychoactive substances in the world. In many parts of the world, caffeinated beverages are popular and cultural. Workers, students and professionals consume caffeinated drinks as a refreshing alternative. It is in coffee, black and green tea, cola soft drinks and energy drinks. 

Certain studies show that caffeine consumption in mild-to-moderate amounts is safe and has health benefits. However, consumption of extremely high intake of coffee per day, up to 1,000mg has immediate serious side effects. It may cause jitteriness and nervousness, and similar symptoms in people who are sensitive

Representational image.

to low doses of coffee.


The result of one study reveals that 25 healthy people who consumed 300mg of coffee per day experienced more than double the stress as compared to the people who took a placebo. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases alertness. The effect may be noted immediately within a minute, which may include feelings of freshness, alertness, wakefulness, concentration, constriction of blood vessels leading to increased blood circulation and overall activeness to the senses. Children are more susceptible to caffeine stimulation; hence they are usually advised not to consume caffeine-containing drinks.

The effect of caffeine is quick as well as long-lasting. It potentially brings sudden activeness, an alertness that gives pleasure and a sense of well-being. It boosts metabolism, mood and physical performance.

Side Effects Of Caffeine:

  1. Peptic ulcers: Caffeine increases gastric secretion, hence it can cause peptic ulcers if consumed too frequently. The patients who have a history of ulceration are advised not to take caffeinated drinks.
  2. Digestive problems: Caffeine consumption may lead to digestive problems in some people, causing diarrhoea and disturbed Gastrin secretion (a digestive hormone). The results are the same even with the consumption of decaffeinated coffee drinks.
  3. Fatigue: Caffeine drinks, carbonated beverages that contain caffeine and energy drinks claim to boost energy levels as an immediate response. However, as the caffeine leaves your system, it drains your body of energy, leading to fatigue and tiredness. However, consumption of caffeine throughout the day rebounds the energy, but then it has a tendency to lead to sleeplessness.
  4. Disturbed sleep-wake cycle: Caffeine may be consumed to prevent or delay sleepiness to concentrate better on work or study, however, it disturbs the natural sleep-wake cycle which also hampers other body cycles, hormone secretion and processes that are linked with the natural body clock. It may lead to insomnia.
  5. Anxiety: Caffeine consumption causes anxiety. At first, it may provide alertness but then leads to anxiety. Regular consumption of caffeine enhances tendencies of anxiety in a person. It may cause shortness of breath. Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder is also listed in the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
  6. Restlessness: Since caffeine is addictive as its effects can cause dependency, skipped caffeine consumption can promptly be felt as restlessness or as if something is missing. Cravings and unusual restlessness is distractive and reduces concentration during work to some degree. It prompts the consumer for continued caffeine consumption in the future which has detrimental side effects. 
  7. Breast Tissue Cyst: According to a study published in Oxford, women who consume 31-150 mg of caffeine per day are 1.5 times more at risk of developing fibrocystic breast disease. The risk of developing a cyst increases in direct proportion with more consumption of daily caffeine.
  8. PCOD: Women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome are advised to lose some weight (even if they are skinny), along with regular exercise and cutting drastically on caffeine consumption to control the symptoms. In fact, along with an active lifestyle, cutting on caffeine consumption has positive effects of preventing cysts to occur in the future to an effective degree.
  9. Cancer: Overconsumption of caffeine leads to more chances of developing various types of cancer. It also leads to a higher risk of breast cancer. The patients of certain types of cancer are advised to check caffeine consumption for good chances of controlling symptoms and promoting recovery. The roasted coffee beans contain acrylamides, which is a category of the carcinogenic compound. Too much caffeine makes you susceptible to various types of cancers if consumed from a young age.
  10. Stress: Even a modest dose of caffeine has a tendency to increase stress levels. Interestingly, stress levels are similarly irregular as well in less frequent caffeine consumers, suggesting the compound has the same effect on stress levels regardless of whether it is consumed habitually or occasionally.

    Representational image. Image Credit: Pixabay
  11. High blood pressure and heart rate: Since caffeine is a stimulant, it enhances the blood pressure and heart rate as an immediate effect. However, a frequent, chemically enhanced high blood pressure and heart rate may trigger other health problems in the long run.
  12. Stimulates hormones and neurotransmitters: Caffeine has effective chemical stimulation in hormonal secretions as well as neurotransmitters. Too much coffee disturbs hormonal secretion which affects other organs of the body on which they act.
  13. Reduced fertility: Women who regularly consume coffee or caffeinated drinks have 27% less chances of conception, as per a study by the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Men also have reduced sperm count as a result of regular caffeine consumption, according to a Danish study, the University Department of Growth and Reproduction.
  14. Miscarriage: In a recent study, consumption of up to 2 caffeinated beverages a day during the weeks prior to conception slightly increases the risk of a miscarriage. However, the effect varies from individual to individual.
  15. Unhealthy for diabetes type 2: According to a study by the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetics are susceptible to caffeine impaired glucose metabolism, which is detrimental to various vital body organs.
  16. Ageing: Caffeine can speed up the natural ageing process of the body to a considerable degree. Hence it is avoided by people who are concerned with skin issues and seek to preserve youthful skin and body (along with regular exercise).
  17. Rhabdomyolysis risk: It is a condition in which damaged muscle fibre enters the bloodstream, which can lead to kidney failure and other organ damage. It might be a result of excessive or frequent coffee consumption throughout the day regularly.
  18. Bladder incontinence: Caffeine has a stimulatory effect on the bladder, which causes frequent urination and overconsumption has the likelihood of bladder incontinence or frequent urgencies. However, cutting caffeine consumption helps to check the effect.
  19. Risk of gout attack: Gout is an inflammatory disease which affects the joints by the buildup of uric acid which causes pain and swelling, similar to arthritis. Men who frequently take caffeinated beverages are at risk, according to studies.
  20. Risk of early death: A Mayo Clinic partnered study revealed that men who consume more than 235ml of coffee per day have a 21% more all-cause mortality. Another study found that the consumption of more than 6 cups of coffee a day leads to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, poor health and poor quality of life due to conditions related to caffeine. A study conducted by Dr Lucio Mos found that young adults with high caffeine consumption are more prone to hypertension and developing heart diseases.
  21. Worse menopausal symptom: Women who consume coffee during the phase of menopause face a lot of detrimental symptoms compared to non-caffeine consumers, according to a study published in the North American Menopause Society.

Decaffeinated Coffee

Some people opt for decaffeinated drinks, in which the coffee beans are made by rinsing with a chemical solvent, over and over again, until a majority of caffeine is removed. However, some amount of caffeine always remains. A decaffeinated cup of coffee may contain as much caffeine as a regular mild coffee. 

Awareness About The Health Benefits

Awareness about the risks of excessive caffeine consumption can help check its overuse and prevent harmful health effects. Anything which is taken in excess harms the body. In regulated doses and concentrations, it can provide favourable health effects, suited to our lifestyle.  Coffee can also have a lot of benefits in an average individual if taken in the proper doses, daily or occasionally. It is even included in the list of healthy beverages along with green tea. However, the consumption and concentration of coffee and other caffeinated drinks are up to the user, as per their requirement and suitability of their lifestyle to derive its best benefits.

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