Caffeine is it Really Worth it? What it is Really doing to Your System
A lot of people live to have their coffee, and most of those people who don’t get their daily fix, watch out! They will let you know! In our society it seems to be the normal thing to drink coffee to help us through our crazy work week, then to help us wake up and relax on the weekends. Does anyone really stop to think how caffeine affects our bodies? Not really, and here is why they should.
Caffeine causes lots of disruptions in the body, everything from mild headaches to extreme addiction (believe it or not, this is a real thing!). Here is a quick list of what caffeine does to our body in a negative way, keep in mind this ranges from mild to severe,
Distraction – not being able to think clearly until the caffeine has been consumed
Dehydration – caffeine is a diuretic, long story short; it influences the body to flush through the kidneys more often, which in turn leads to frequent urination and loss of minerals and other important nutrients. This also encourages headaches, and muscle cramps, without proper hydration. Dehydration has the potential to lead to weight gain. Dehydration signals the brain to replenish and typically we will reach for a snack. Grab a glass of water first.
Irritability – ever notice how some people know to treat most coffee drinkers like a wild Grizzly bear in the morning? There is reason behind that! Most true coffee drinkers, do not want to have any socialization before they have had their morning coffee due to the fact that they NEED it to function! It is nothing short of an addiction. So to make a long story short, Caffeine is a stimulant to the C.N.S. (central nervous system) , regular consumption of our favourite liquid causes dependence of caffeine. Although this is not as serious as taking high risk drugs, it is basically a mild form of drug, just with non life threatening results.
Heartburn – for some people the acid that is in caffeine can add to an already highly acidic stomach causing more acidic pressure on the cardiac sphincter, which then results in what we call “heartburn”
Nausea – just like mentioning what the acid does for heartburn, it can do the exact same thing to cause nausea, if it wears away too much at the protective mucus lining, it can even cause ulcers
Digestive Problems – consumption of daily caffeine increases acidity in the stomach which can lead to heartburn, acid indigestion, and acid reflux as well as adversely affects the stomach and intestinal linings. Because of its natural laxative effect, it can actually push food into the small intestine before it’s completely digested which in turn can cause abdominal pain. In extreme or sensitive cases caffeine can trigger insomnia, anxiety, and even an irregular heartbeat. These reactions can affect your digestions by decreasing the amount of blood available.
Elevates Stress Hormones and Interferes with GABA Metabolism – natural stress hormones cortisol, and adrenaline are our ‘fight or flight’ responders. To be triggered by fear or danger. Caffeine elevates these hormones which in turn elevate blood pressure and heart rate, essentially keeping our system ‘on’ all of the time.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that is naturally produced in the brain and GI tract. It’s function is to regulate mood and stress, and to provide a calming effect on the GI tract. Caffeine interferes with the binding of GABA to its receptors, therefore preventing the calming effect.
Mineral Absorption – Coffee also inhibits retention of magnesium, calcium, zinc, and other important minerals. All of which play important roles in the digestive process. For instance, magnesium plays an important role in regulating bowels and how our bodies convert food into energy. Symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, muscle tension, headaches, anxiousness, irritability and inability to sleep have all been linked to magnesium deficiency.
Negative Effects for Pregnancy – as we already know, everything the mother ultimately eats gets transported through the placenta to the baby. All these negative effects of caffeine will also be transmitted to the baby. Studies show that caffeine is also a mild suppressant in preventing conception!
Confusion/Hallucinations – Yes that’s right , I did indeed say it! Hallucinations are believed to occur when there is an overconsumption of caffeine, this causes the body to become physically stressed. This is a result of high adrenaline levels brought on by caffeine
In short, drink responsibly! Small amounts of caffeine are fine, but try to restrict from drinking multiple cups a day, 2 cups is more then enough. If you are someone who just enjoys the coffee for its taste, switch to decaf. If you still feel you cannot function without the caffeine stimulant, try switching to organic teas, they include; Theophylline and Theobromine, both are healthier choices for getting that boost of energy when needed. Theophylline relaxes smooth muscles in the airway, while stimulating the heart in a much more calming way. Theobromine stimulates and improves blood flow throughout the body, also making it a healthy alternative.
- Chicory supports healthy GI micro flora
- Roasted Barley has a soothing effect on GI tract
- Roasted Dandelion supports healthy liver function
- Chamomile has soothing and anti inflammatory properties
- Marshmallow or Slippery Elm soothing for inflamed GI tract, also nutrient rich
Caffeine and its affects, paragraphs 5,7,8 http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/alcohol,_tobacco,_&_other_drugs/caffeine.php Copyright, Brown Education 2015
Side effects of caffeine, paragraph 1 , http://www.healthline.com/health/caffeine-effects-on-body Copyright Healthline 2015
http://www.inc.com/sarah-kimmorley/19-horrible-things-that-can-happen-if-you-drink-too-much-caffeine.html Copyright INC company 2015
Caffeine and Blood Pressure: Healthy caffeine alternatives, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood-pressure/faq-20058543 Copyright Mayo Clinic 2015
Effects of Coffee and/or Caffeine on the Gastrointestinal Tract,
Coffee and Digestion – 7 Digestive Problems with Coffee