How Can Caffeine Affect Our Health?

No matter how healthy we are, there is one drug which most of us will freely admit an addiction to—caffeine. Whether you need a cup of coffee first thing in the morning to feel human, enjoy experimenting with the latest hipster brew, or rely on the sacred bean to get your through the day, coffee and caffeine are hugely popular throughout our society.

While coffee may taste delicious and make us feel better, we should always remember that everything has its downside. The risks and health issues associated with caffeine are not well known but can be severe. Can it affect your heart rate? What are the effects of being able to stay awake all night? And just what is caffeine powder? Whether you are a casual consumer or a coffee devotee, here are the facts you should be aware of—your caffeine habit could be wrecking your health.

Increased Anxiety

It is well known that caffeine makes us feel more awake and alert, and it does so by altering the chemicals of the brain. Adenosine is a chemical which helps us to feel tired and is also responsible for the release of the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline. Caffeine blocks the effects of this chemical, and this can lead to the effects of adrenaline becoming more pronounced, resulting in nervousness and jittery behaviour, and even increased anxiety. Even moderate consumption can lead to increased stress levels and rapid breathing, The results differ from person to person, but it is worth keeping an eye on the effect caffeine seems to have on you. 

Insomnia

This side effect may seem counterintuitive, as many of us value caffeine for its ability to keep us awake. Over consumption, however, can have the opposite effect, and make it hard for us to fall asleep at night. Experts advise cutting out caffeine at around lunchtime to get a good night’s sleep, and this includes sources derived from soda, coffee, and medication. 

Digestive Disorders

Caffeine, and particularly coffee, can have a laxative effect due to the release of gastrin. This hormone is produced by the stomach which is designed to speed up colon activity. Caffeine can also increase peristalsis; these are the contractions which help to move food through the digestive tract. As a result, excessive amounts of caffeine can result in loose stools for some people and can disrupt your digestive function significantly. 

Addiction

Research has shown that caffeine is capable of triggering the same chemicals as drugs such as cocaine, making it an addictive substance. The issue can be physical or psychological but may lead to severe withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and mood swings if you go without caffeine for too long. 

Increased Heart Rate

Caffeine is a stimulant and can lead to the heart beating faster if consumed in large amounts. It can also result in altered heartbeat rhythm, also known as atrial fibrillation. This condition has been particularly prevalent in young people who have consumed energy drinks renowned for their extremely high caffeine content. This fact can result in panic attacks and anxiety, and may even damage the heart after a prolonged period.

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