If you are like most modern people, then most likely caffeine is part of your daily life. But did you know where there is more caffeine and how this substance acts on your body.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a substance that, in its natural form, is produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants.
Also, man learned to create an artificial analogue, the formula of which is C8N10N4ABOUT2, and apply it in food. Caffeine has medicinal properties and is used as a stimulator of the central nervous system, causing increased activity. Most people react to this substance by increasing energy and improving mood.
Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate, various soft drinks, and is also part of painkillers. Natural caffeine is a bitter-tasting substance, but in many products this bitterness is masked as a result of processing.
The main source of this substance for adolescents is energy and other soft drinks. Their "work" is palpable, usually for 6 hours. True, sensitivity to caffeine is an individual indicator. Usually, the younger the person, the less substance is needed in order to feel its influence. Individuals who regularly consume caffeinated drinks lose their susceptibility to this invigorating component over time. And this means that to achieve the effect they will need to increase the dose again and again.
Once in the body, caffeine is metabolized to dimethylxanthine derivatives (paraxanthine, theobromine, theophylline), then to monoxanthin, and then to the xanthine molecule. Other metabolic products are di- and trimethyl allantoin, uric acid, and uracil derivatives.
Caffeine is readily distributed in plasma, intercellular fluid, and within cells. It also circulates as part of extracellular adipose tissue. By the way, in smokers, caffeine metabolism is faster. Also, differences in the speed of the process can be in people of different nationalities, which is explained by a genetic factor. But the difference in the rate of assimilation in women and men practically does not exist.
Our body is able to absorb these “invigorating molecules” fairly quickly. But also quickly it gets rid of them. Processed mainly by the liver, caffeine has a relatively short half-life. Usually 5-7 hours is enough to get rid of half of the resulting substance. For this reason, the cup of coffee that you enjoyed before dinner would not hurt you to fall asleep in the evening.
Caffeine can be synthetic and natural (obtained from plants). To determine the difference between them is possible only by laboratory means. You can measure the concentration of any of these substances in the body by examining saliva, since this substance accumulates in the body mainly in liquids. Caffeine can enter the body through the mucous membranes of the cheeks. For this reason, chewing gums containing the substance are characterized by faster absorption compared to coffee. Since it is in the form of a drink, caffeine must first pass through the stomach and intestines, and only then enters the bloodstream.
Effect on the body
Caffeine is a plant product, the highest concentration of which is found in coffee beans, tea leaves, soft drinks, chocolate, and cocoa beans.
It is also found in some medications (painkillers, against allergies, colds and for weight loss). In fact, from a chemical point of view, caffeine is an anesthetic, as well as a substance that enhances the action of other pain relievers.
It is believed that for healthy people, 300 mg of an invigorating substance per day is a normal portion that does not harm health. Meanwhile, in some cases it is important to limit the intake of a substance. Large portions (more than 700 mg per day) contribute to the excretion of calcium and magnesium from the body. It used to be that caffeine was one of the causes of osteoporosis. Meanwhile, recent studies have shown that calcium losses caused by caffeine from 1 cup of coffee can easily be compensated for with 2 tablespoons of milk. But in people who are particularly sensitive even to minor calcium losses, caffeine really serves as the basis for frequent fractures. For this reason, women after menopause should not abuse caffeinated products, as they are already at risk of developing osteoporosis.
It also acts on the body as a mild diuretic. But again, do not worry that products containing this substance can cause dehydration.
Speaking of caffeine, many people primarily remember coffee. But this is far from the only source of matter. Tea, cola and other drinks also contain caffeine. And this explains why, according to studies, children aged 6-9 years consume about 25 mg of an invigorating substance daily, and their parents may not even be aware of it. Meanwhile, in children sensitive to it, irritability and anxiety appear.
Caffeine acts as a stimulant, affecting the central nervous system. The World Health Organization has equated caffeine with narcotic drugs. In the body, this substance begins to act approximately 15 minutes after ingestion and this effect lasts up to 6 hours.
Consuming moderate doses (up to 250 mg of brewed coffee or 500 mg of cola) helps people focus and eliminates drowsiness. But higher doses increase the heart rate, raise body temperature, increase blood flow to the skin and limbs, increase blood pressure and blood sugar, and also stimulate the secretion of stomach acid, act as a diuretic.
With excessive consumption of the substance, people may experience dizziness, hypoglycemia, nausea, troubled breathing, confusion, irritability, insomnia, changes in appetite, dry mouth and other side effects. But contrary to a common misconception, caffeine cannot neutralize alcohol in the body.
How does it get into the blood?
Once in the body, caffeine is absorbed in the intestines by almost 99 percent. And the concentration of the substance in the body can reach up to 10 mg per 1 kg of weight. The entire absorption process occurs approximately 45 minutes after ingestion, and caffeine reaches its peak in the blood after 15-20 minutes. But these are approximate estimates, since in each case the rate of absorption of substances depends on physiology and source. Caffeine from chocolate and cola is absorbed most slowly, faster from coffee and the substance in the form of tablets. But still, it is most rapidly absorbed from chewing gums - through the mucous membranes of the oral cavity.
Caffeine and Pregnancy
Some studies show a link between high doses of caffeine and an increased incidence of miscarriages, premature births, and the birth of underweight children. Caffeine consumed in high doses during pregnancy affects the heart rate of the fetus, as well as the quality of its breathing.
During pregnancy, as well as when planning it, it is important to limit the intake of caffeinated drinks to 200 mg per day. And it’s better to refuse altogether.
Effect on the stomach
Caffeine is able to enhance the secretion of stomach acid, which gives reason to talk about it as a means of causing gastritis. Meanwhile, studies have shown that coffee without this invigorating component also affects the secretion of the stomach, and causes acid production even more than pure caffeine.
Moderate doses of caffeine generally have no harmful effects on the body. Although some researchers argue that regular consumption of 100 mg of coffee daily subsequently can cause infertility, heartburn and intestinal dysfunction.
Consuming high doses of caffeine deprives sleep, and a person ceases to notice the body's signals about the need for rest. Meanwhile, it is important to understand that caffeine does not replenish energy reserves and does not prevent emotional fatigue. It simply blocks the physiological needs of the body in rest. Over time, this condition leads to the development of depression, causes anxiety, excessive nervousness, sweating and tremors.
Some studies say caffeine can be a health hazard. Here are some arguments in favor of this.
- Consuming more than 4 cups of coffee per day leads to early death. Studies show that this daily dose is enough to increase the risk of sudden death by 21 percent.
- Raises blood pressure. In people with hypertension, after 2 cups of coffee, blood pressure rises over the next 2-3 hours.
- Increases the risk of cardiological diseases at a young age. It is enough to drink 4 cups of coffee daily to increase the risk of heart attack by 4 times.
- Caffeine causes gout.
- It provokes the formation of cysts in the mammary glands in women. It is enough to consume from 30 mg of coffee per day to increase the chances of fibrocystic mastopathy by one and a half times. And women who drink 500 mg of coffee are 2-3 times more likely to have cystitis.
- Causes urinary incontinence. People who drink regularly and in large doses are 70 percent more prone to incontinence than others.
- Causes insomnia.
- Provokes an upset stomach. Especially if you drink coffee on an empty stomach.
- Excessive caffeine intake provokes headaches.
- Caffeine leads to fertility in women: the chances of getting pregnant are reduced by 27%.
- The risk of miscarriage is increased: it is enough to drink 2 servings of coffee daily for several weeks before conception.
- Deteriorates the health of diabetics because it disrupts glucose metabolism.
- May cause overdose or allergy symptoms.
- Accelerates heart contraction.
- Exacerbates the manifestations of menopause.
- Increases anxiety, depression.
- Caffeine lovers consume more glucose, which is fraught with obesity and diabetes.
- It inhibits the production of collagen in the skin.
- It makes bone more fragile, which increases the risk of fractures.
Caffeine withdrawal result
People who refuse to consume caffeinated beverages may experience discomfort and deterioration in the first 12-24 hours. Usually the first side effects of caffeine refusal are manifested by headaches, irritability, nausea, nervousness, muscle tension. But these symptoms do not last longer than a week. Then the body is finally rebuilt on a new way of life.
In order to avoid side effects, experienced people advise you to gradually start caffeine-free life - every day reducing the portion of substance consumption.
How to give up caffeine painlessly
For starters, try drinking plain water instead of cola. Stick to this principle for a week. Craving for caffeine decreased? So "treatment" must be continued. Now is the time to replace traditional coffee with a similar caffeine-free drink. It is also important to track the portion of consumption of the product. Continue until the daily dose of caffeine drops to 100 mg or less. The gradual abandonment of caffeinated drinks will protect you from unpleasant physiological sensations, and will also be less "painful" at the psychological level.
Does caffeine feel tired? Make sure you have enough hours a day to relax? Better yet, check the vitamin-mineral balance in the body? Drowsiness and chronic fatigue can talk about vitamin deficiency or other health problems. But caffeine does not cure this.
Benefit for health
People who regularly use caffeine (in adequate doses) report an improvement in concentration and cognitive function. For some people, this is a remedy for headaches.
According to some reports, it is able to reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, liver disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes. But, despite the possible positive effects, do not forget that the consumption of this substance in large doses can have adverse effects.
In addition, caffeine in tablets serves as a cure for migraines. Take 1-2 tablets for a week, and then 1 piece for a month. It has its own benefit for bodybuilders, as it helps to increase performance by almost 20 percent. Bodybuilders consume about 3 mg of the substance per kilogram of body weight half an hour before the planned workout.
By the way, depression of the central nervous system, decreased activity (physical and mental), a condition close to loss of consciousness, cerebral vasospasms (migraine), hypotension and asthma can also cause a cup of coffee or a pill containing caffeine. Even infants with certain diseases are also prescribed this substance as a medicine.
- Reduces pain. Two cups of coffee can reduce pain after training by 48 percent.
- Source of fiber. Two cups of brewed coffee - this is 1.8 g of fiber.
- Diabetes protection. Coffee lovers (1 cup per day) are 9 percent less at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Immunity from Alzheimer's. There is speculation that caffeine can protect against the development of Alzheimer's disease.
- The cure for depression. A 10-year study involving 86,000 women found that coffee-lovers are 20 percent less likely to suffer from depression.
- Parkinson's defense. Researchers from Sweden claim that caffeine reduces the chances of developing Parkinson's disease. Incredibly, scientists suggest that this substance can even affect the genetic factor.
- Protection against cardiological diseases. It all sounds like a fantasy, because traditional medicine prohibits people with a heart condition from consuming caffeine. But Korean researchers say that 3 cups of coffee a day improves health and reduces the chances of heart disease.
- Stronger DNA. But in the European Journal of Nutrition at the time there was information that the DNA of coffee lovers is stronger and without damage. They say that again this is the merit of caffeine.
- Less likely to have multiple sclerosis. 4 cups of caffeinated drink per day can protect against multiple sclerosis, prevent the neural inflammation that causes the disease. At least that's what researchers from Sweden say.
- Reduces the risk of cancer. Moderate consumption of caffeine reduces the risk of cancer in the colon by 26 percent. This was stated by scientists from California after a study involving 5100 people. And another group of scientists from the Cancer Center of Southern California noticed that coffee lovers are 29 percent less susceptible to liver cancer.
- No gout. A study involving more than 50 thousand people allowed scientists to conclude that coffee protects men from gout. It is believed to be the "work" of caffeine. Although no one gives a 100% guarantee in this yet. Moreover, there is an absolutely opposite opinion that just the same it causes gout.
In addition, some experiments have shown that caffeine can stimulate sexual desire in women, protects against early death (according to Japanese scientists), prevents tooth decay, retinal damage and even melanoma.
In the 90s, people got 90 percent of caffeine from coffee and tea.
Another 10 percent comes from cocoa products.But similar calculations in the 2000s gave different results. The percentage of caffeine consumption from tea and coffee fell to around 83, while carbonated drinks accounted for 12 percent.
But as for the main sources, it is very difficult to say exactly how much caffeine is in different products. The content in coffee depends on the plant variety and can range from 40 to 180 mg of substance per 150 ml of drink, and the same amount of tea will provide from 25 to 50 mg of caffeine. Cocoa powder, as a rule, contains about 0.21% of caffeine of the total weight, chocolate contains 0.017-0.125% of the substance, and in hot chocolate about 4-5 percent of a serving.
By the way, as some studies show, the inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries and the Germans consume the most caffeine, followed by the countries of North America and Western Europe. Meanwhile, Scandinavians get the majority of caffeine from coffee, Europeans from tea, and Americans from cola.
The caffeine content of foods can range from 160 (in some energy drinks) to 4 mg (in a piece of chocolate). Even caffeine-free coffee, paradoxically, is not at all a product that is completely free from this substance.
Below is a list of caffeinated products. Using this information, you can calculate how much an invigorating element you get daily with food. And if you count more than 500 mg per day - this is a serious reason to think about a partial rejection of caffeinated products. As for adolescents, nutritionists advise that the daily norm for them should not exceed 100 mg of the substance. But younger children should generally avoid caffeinated products. But immediately we note: the numbers indicated in the table are approximate, since they can vary depending on the type of drink and the duration of brewing.
The caffeine content, for example, in tea depends on the plant variety, the age of the leaves, how they are processed and the brewing time of the drink itself. The lowest concentration of invigorating substance in young leaves, and, by the way, in large-leaf varieties, it is also lower. In green tea, the concentration of the substance is about 7 times lower than in black varieties. The quantitative content in an already prepared tea drink is determined by the temperature of the water used, the brewing time and the brewing method. Usually a cup of tea is not able to harm the body. A signal about the excessive concentration of the drink will be an accelerated heartbeat. 5-7 cups of tea per day are considered safe for health.
|Variety||Amount (ml)||Caffeine (mg)|
|Coffee with milk||200||60-170|
People all over the world start their morning with a cup of coffee or black tea. Both drinks have antioxidant properties, can lower cholesterol, protect against depression and even diabetes. And the reason for all this is the caffeine contained in them. Meanwhile, it is caffeine that can cause health problems if you do not adhere to the recommended norms and consume too many invigorating drinks.