Today, we will be discussing caffeine. This stimulant is enjoyed by people all around the world on a regular basis, and today, we will be looking at its pros and cons.
Caffeine is definitely a main-staple of its day. With 80% of the world’s population drinking at least one caffeinated beverage per day, I think I’m pretty safe in my above-stated opinion (1).
Let’s start off by looking at what happens, once you swallow caffeine.
First off, the caffeine is absorbed quickly from the gut, into the bloodstream. Then, it travels to the liver and is broken down into compounds that affect the function of a variety of organs. Thus, caffeine’s main effect is on your brain.
A lot of people love caffeine because it works as a stimulator, and it seems to give them a burst of energy. That’s great at first, until we dig deeper into why this happens.
Instead of giving you more energy, caffeine actually shuts down the part of your brain that registers tiredness. Caffeine irritates the receptors in your brain which are responsible for recognizing adenosine. This is a chemical which signals fatigue. When these adenosine receptors are turned off, caffeine tricks your brain into thinking that you are more awake than you actually are.
Ever had a coffee crash, where, right after feeling like you were full of energy, you now feel miserable and tired? That’s because, since your adenosine receptors have been shut off, they become a lot more sensitive when the caffeine stops blocking them.
Caffeine also contributes to heartburn and acid reflux. Have you ever felt a sort of burning pain in your chest, after you drank coffee? Or like your chest was on fire? If so, it may be causing you acid reflux or heartburn.
Caffeine makes the lower esophageal sphincter relax. This is the muscle that stops the food you eat from coming back up to your throat, once it has hit your stomach. When the sphincter is relaxed, food and acid are allowed to come back up to the esophagus, where the acid ends up burning the unprotected tissue, there.
Caffeine can also affect your central nervous system, which can create problems like drowsiness, anxiety, nervousness and irritability.
However….by blocking the adenosine receptors like I mentioned above, neuronal firing is increased, creating higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. This can help improve mood and alertness.
Plus, partly due to the stimulant effect of caffeine, it can raise metabolism and increases the oxidation of fatty acids. This can help people lose weight faster, especially if they use the energy they get, for exercising.
So….it really is up to you, to decide whether to drink, or not to drink. 🙂
Well, that’s all I’ve got for y’all! I hope that this was an educational post.