A lot of people seem to be confused about caffeine because there have been studies showing it’s benefits. For instance one study showed a decrease in gallstones and another showed a mild decrease in the incidence of colorectal cancer. Caffeine can also help some types of headaches; hence its use in many over the counter headache pills.
We all know that caffeine keeps us awake and can sometimes help us solve problems.
It is a central nervous system stimulant, which acts within minutes and counters the drowsiness so many of us feel, restoring alertness.
Caffeine is the most popular drug consumed in America and probably the world. About 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine in some form every day. The most common ways we consume it, is in coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, medications and, in smaller doses, chocolate.
So what’s the problem with it?
Caffeine is an addictive drug. When level of the caffeine in your system drops, you can feel depressed and tired. To counteract this, you have some more caffeine. Like any addictive drug, it has a well-defined withdrawal syndrome. The symptoms of coffee withdrawal are headaches, irritability, depression, fatigue, increased muscle tension and even nausea and vomiting. So the inevitable chasing and addiction starts to avoid the withdrawal and keep the stimulant effect, which can lead to restlessness, agitation, a loss of fine motor control and insomnia.
Caffeine is a stimulant and therefore it:
a) can raise your blood pressure
b) can cause palpitations and other heart rhythm disturbances
c) stimulates the central nervous system and therefore can cause anxiety and irritability; it stimulates the same response in your body that stress does, it is a powerful stressor
d) causes muscle tension and restless leg syndrome
e) causes sleep disturbances; not only can it prevent you from falling asleep, but also more importantly, it effects the quality of your sleep
f) stimulates the secretion of gastric acid and is a gastric irritant in general
g) contributes to osteoporosis by increasing urinary calcium loss
h) may contribute to various problems in pregnancy e.g. miscarriages, premature birth and even birth defects; it may contribute to infertility
i) causes vasoconstriction (narrowing) of blood vessels.
If you are prone to any of the problems listed above, I don’t recommend coffee.
If your adrenals are fatigued -as they are in most people who are Spent, caffeine is just more of a drain on your adrenals and therefore a problem. If you have to have caffeine to start your day or stay alert, then it is more than likely a problem.
For people who are not Spent, do not have any of the above problems including addiction, and are not addicted or have to have their cup of coffee, then having a cup of organic coffee 2-3 times per week is probably fine if you want. Why organic? Because a lot of people believe that many of the pesticides banned in America are sent to some of the coffee producing countries, used on the coffee crops, and then sent back here to the USA.
So although caffeine can be used to increase focus, wakefulness and alertness and reduce physical fatigue, it is important to remember, this is a temporary effect and it can easily lead to addiction. It is also important to remember that consumption of caffeine does not eliminate a need for sleep.