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The Risk vs. Reward Of Drinking Caffeine

Let me start this off by saying everyone who knows me, knows I enjoy a fresh organic French press coffee. So this blog is not me in any shape or form asking you to quit drinking coffee, however, what I am looking to share insight on is paying attention to signs that the risk for you on an individual basis are perhaps greater than the benefits.

Does Too Much Caffeine Consumption Have A Downside?

Humans know very well that the caffeine found in coffee helps to keep you awake. This is why many people in the UK after all start their day with a fresh cup. However, when something goes up (as does our energy in this case when we drink coffee or any drink containing caffeine) it’s true something must always go down. And when we drink caffeine – that something that. must go down is adenosine production.

Adenosine is an organic compound found within all the cells in the human body and when released in large quantities, usually in the evening, it makes you sleepy. But when we drink coffee – it suppresses this system.

How Long Does Caffeine Stay In The Body?

The half-life of caffeine is 3-5 hours approximately, however, this means how long it takes for the body to expel half the dose. Therefore the remaining can stay in your body for a long time.

This is why it is often recommended that coffee only be drank until midday, to reduce the chances of it affecting your circadian rhythm (the natural sleep-wake cycle).

Can Everyone Detox Caffeine Adequately?

Many people can stick to the above guideline and have no problem with their sleep. However, some people who cannot metabolise caffeine very well may find no amount of caffeine works for them, no matter when they drink it and stop drinking it, as it will still result in a sleepless night.

People who cannot metabolise caffeine that well usually feel jittery or anxious from even small amounts of caffeine. Even drinks like hot chocolate and green tea can cause the same effects as coffee – as they all contain caffeine.

The two genes and their variants that are said to cause a person to inadequately break down caffeine are:

  •  CYP1A2
  • AHR

Other Signs Caffeine May Not Be Right For You

Coffee and its effects on the gastrointestinal system have been studied since the 9th century and it has been found that coffee consumption may cause certain digestive issues and disorders in certain susceptible people.

It has also been noted that coffee can steal vital nutrients from the body, in a similar way that sugar can. Especially calcium and B vitamins.

There is also early research suggesting that caffeine may negatively impact the immune system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system and renal system.

Also, because caffeine is classed as a psychoactive drug, this means it can and does affect how we think and how we feel and can cause us to become addicted and unable to function without it.

Assess Your Relationship With Caffeine

So, if you are experiencing any negative side effects or suspect caffeine may be causing some of your unpleasant health symptoms, the best thing to do is to try to taper off it and then remove it completely for a 3-4 week period.

This will then allow you to write down how you felt when you were off the caffeine during the 3-4 break period and then, if you decide to introduce it again into your life, then you can also note down how this reintroduction made you feel.

If you notice you feel better without caffeine then you know that it isn’t really right for you. Some people may end up, however, finding a balance after doing this ‘caffeine fast’ followed by the reintroduction of caffeine that shows 1-2 cups a week doesn’t have any negative effects, whereas perhaps having 1 cup daily does.

Finding what works for you is key to using food and drink as a medicine. And everyone has their own personal prescription, it just might take some time and requires listening to the body to discover your personal foods and drinks that work best, and in what amounts.

John WayEditor