Many of us consider coffee as an essential to start the day. That double shot of caffeine in the morning wakes you up and keeps you going, alert, focused and at your peak performance level. There are substantial benefits to drinking coffee and that caffeine boost; however, do you know what caffeine really does to your body? Learn about the potential side effects and possible damage to your health before sipping that extra cup midday.
To avoid the risk of caffeine overdose the standard recommendation for coffee consumption is a maximum of four cups per day. Several factors determine one’s sensitivity to the negative effects of a caffeine habit as age, sex, body mass and size in addition to chronic health conditions. Following is a sample of the ways in which caffeine dependence can wreak havoc on the body:
• Caffeine acts as a stimulant releasing adrenaline while reaching the brain and central nervous system within fifteen minutes. The substance may keep you more alert and awake; however, it causes irritability, anxiety, tremors, headaches, confusion as well as insomnia.
• Caffeine is absorbed into the stomach, triggering the rise of acid in your system, often causing upset stomach, heartburn, acid reflux and ulcers for those with sensitive stomachs.
• While acting as a diuretic, caffeine depletes the system of water upsetting the flow of vitamins and minerals needed for the body to function properly. • Caffeine circulates in the bloodstream at high levels within a couple of hours resulting in the heart working harder and a rise of blood pressure. The effect on hypertension and heart problems may be acute in some individuals.
• An excess of caffeine interferes with the absorption of calcium, which may eventually lead to brittle bones and osteoporosis.
• Consuming large amounts of caffeine may limit the production of estrogen, making it difficult to get pregnant. Painful fibrocystic lumps in the breast may develop as well.
• Extensive and constant use of caffeine is known to result in muscle cramps and spasms.
• Certain antibiotics and supplements do interact poorly with caffeine usage causing nausea, vomiting along with palpitations.
Based on the way in which caffeine works to keep the body and mind highly stimulated and alert, physical dependence ensues as tolerance levels increase. The cycle becomes difficult to break as withdrawal symptoms of severe headaches, depression and fatigue most often follow any attempt to stop or curtail usage. Cutting back on coffee gradually is essential.
Jonah Engler is an avid coffee lover from New York City.