Caffeine is one of the most powerful stimulant drugs around, as if you didn’t know. Thank God it’s legal. But, we are caffeinating ourselves at a very self-destructive rate on a daily basis. We could not work without it. We could not “relax” without it. Caffeine occurs naturally in many plants and serves as a mildly addictive stimulant that our country appears more than mildly addicted to. So why get caffeine in pill form instead of drinking some coffee or a soda? That’s a more difficult question and the answer can vary. When it comes to late shift workers, often they don’t have access to beverages except during breaks.
Another thing that caffeine has been known to do is temporarily suppress the appetite, which may also help contribute to eating less. Consuming less daily calories always leads to weight loss, but exercise increases the amount of weight that is lost, which leads us to our final conclusion. Some studies seem to say that caffeine acts like drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine or nicotine. These studies suggest that caffeine affects the part of the brain that triggering functional activity in the shell of the nucleus accumbens. Many of the unwanted side effects of caffeine are linked to either the time of the day and the amount being ingested. Most people are aware that it is a stimulant, but few realize how potent its effects can be the drawbacks to drinking too much caffeine.
Since caffeine causes a high blood pressure, there is also an increase in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Too much (overdose) of caffeine can give you all sorts of grief such as stomach pain agitation, anxiety, restlessness, confusion, seizures, dehydration, faster breathing rate, fast heartbeat, fever, frequent urination, increased sensitivity to touch or pain, irritability, muscle trembling or twitching, vomiting, sometimes with blood, fibrocystic breast disease, ringing or other sounds in ears, seeing flashes of “zig-zag” lights, and trouble in sleeping.
Obviously caffeine has not proven to be so harmful that the FDA has banned it or made it illegal. But with everything there comes consequences and too much of anything can be dangerous. Caffeine does cause addiction and tolerance because your body and brain become used to its supply and the up-regulation or expression of adenosine receptors because of it.
Coffee, unsurprisingly, contains the highest caffeine levels, closely followed by tea and cola. But the amount of caffeine in specific drinks varies greatly, depending on the type and the way it’s made. The addicts experience physical ailments like headaches, tension in the muscles, anxiety, nervousness, dizziness, stuffy nose, nausea, tiredness, jitters and irritability. These are a few common caffeine side effects that are faced by most caffeine addicts.
The drinks that work through this mechanism, then, don’t actually increase the levels of energy in their users’ bodies, but rather only make their users ‘feel’ more energetic. In a way, this is about mood alteration. Although caffeine doesn’t affect children in any special way, its influence on sleep and personality can be great. Most pediatricians recommend extreme moderation of caffeine consumption for children, but there is good news as well.