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The Effects of Caffeine

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Caffeine is probably the most widely used drug.  It falls in the stimulant class, and effects the central nervous system. Short term side effects such as headache, nausea, and anxiety have been shown as symptoms of mild caffeine consumption.

The long term effects of moderate caffeine consumption can be a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, hepatic diseases, and cardiovascular disease.

We have listed some positive and negative effects of caffeine:

Positive effects
• Long-term consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
• Research is suggesting that caffeine minimizes the cognitive decline associated with aging, including reducing risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
• Caffeine increases levels of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, acetylcholine (associated with attention, concentration, learning, and memory),  dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and glutamate.
• Low doses of caffeine show increased alertness and decreased fatigue.
• Caffeine has been shown to increase the metabolic rate.
• Caffeine may reduce the risk of developing cancer and produce a delay in the average onset of cancer.
• Caffeine is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, and use of caffeine is currently studied as a treatment for the Parkinson’s disease motor symptoms.
• Caffeine may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
• Caffeine may reduce certain kind of hepatic cancers.
• Caffeine is a source of healthful antioxidant activity against some free radicals inside the body.
• Coffee contains caffeine, which may increase the effectiveness of gastrointestinal uptake of some pain killers, especially in patients with migraine and headache medications.

In these studies, the greatest benefits were observed in those who drank coffee for a long period in their lifetime.

Negative effects
• Caffeine can increase blood pressure in non-habitual consumers. High blood pressure is associated with an increase in strokes, and cerebral vascular disease, which in turn increase the risk of multi-infarct dementia.
• Caffeine may reduce control of fine motor movements (e.g. producing shaky hands)
• Caffeine can increase cortisol secretion, some tolerance is developed.
• Caffeine can increase insomnia and sleep latency.
• Caffeine is addictive. Caffeine withdrawal can produce headache, fatigue and decreased alertness.
• High doses of caffeine (300 mg or higher) can cause anxiety.
• High caffeine consumption has been linked to an increase in the likelihood of experiencing auditory hallucinations.
• High caffeine consumption accelerates bone loss at the spine in elderly postmenopausal women.
• Caffeine is linked to gout attacks. A study showed that people who binge on caffeinated beverages increase their risk for a gout flare-up
• Caffeine can cause headaches. While occasional doses of caffeine can relieve headache symptoms, the overuse of caffeine can cause headaches and lead to migraines
• Caffeine could reduce fertility in women. A study from The University of Nevada School of Medicine showed that caffeine can reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant by about 27%.

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