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Is Caffeine good for you?


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I have a friend who is convinced that caffeine is good for you and is not addictive for anyone. I have tried to convince him otherwise but I do not know the science behind caffeine interacting with the body and the mind. My question is: what goes on in your body that makes caffeine have its ill effects? Or its good ones for that matter.

 

 

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Caffeine doesn't really have any ill effects besides making you feel worse than before you drank it (but thats temporary). If there is a good effect to caffeine I haven't heard of them.

 

 

I would think that feeling worse than before you drank it might count as an ill effect. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

It increases attention by stimulating the anterior cingulate cortex. A negative effect is vasoconstriction. It increases heart rate, which can be good or bad, depending on the context. That's just off the top of my head. A simple list of effects should be easy to access with an internet search.

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I have a friend who is convinced that caffeine is good for you and is not addictive for anyone. I have tried to convince him otherwise but I do not know the science behind caffeine interacting with the body and the mind. My question is: what goes on in your body that makes caffeine have its ill effects? Or its good ones for that matter.

 

 

 

There is little point in arguing with people who are scientifically illiterate and whose mind is set upon one notion or another.

 

I have had a similar experience with former IT colleagues who were absolutely set upon the notion that hair was living tissue that could be 'nourished' by the vitamines and minerals in shampoo as per the advertising.

 

My pointing out the obvious fact that hair does not bleed or hurt when you cut it did little to change their mind set.

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Actually, pain reception or bleeding are not terribly good indicators to distinguish living and dead tissue. But aside from that there are studies showing beneficial effects of moderate coffee intake. I do not remember whether they were specifically tied to caffeine but also (more likely) related to other components found in coffee. As everything else, a too high intake of caffeine is harmful. However, it is cleared from the body relatively quickly, so that long-term addiction are unlikely (though psychological effects are quite possible).

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Actually, pain reception or bleeding are not terribly good indicators to distinguish living and dead tissue. But aside from that there are studies showing beneficial effects of moderate coffee intake. I do not remember whether they were specifically tied to caffeine but also (more likely) related to other components found in coffee. As everything else, a too high intake of caffeine is harmful. However, it is cleared from the body relatively quickly, so that long-term addiction are unlikely (though psychological effects are quite possible).

 

I will qualify that.

 

Pain and/or bleeding are reliable indicators for distinguishing living tissue from dead tissue over the surface of the body

 

The only living tissue that does not bleed when damaged, that I can think of is the cornea, but it does hurt like hell.

 

 

 

On the inside of the body bleeding is a reliable indicator of living tissue. But not pain since not all organs have a sensory nerve supply, e.g. central nervous system.

 

Apart from the cornea, what living tissue does not bleed when damaged?

 

 

 

I seem to remember hearing or reading about some studies about short term withdrawal symptoms from caffine - headache, irritability and lethargy. Might have been quantum or catayst on the ABC.

Edited by Greg Boyles
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There is evidence that caffeine protects from the disruption of the Blood Brain Barrier ('BBB' in the article). and, consequentially, ameliorates the onset of Alzheimers disease, or other neurological disorders. It is important to mention that a rabbit model was used and not human subjects. In short, it might be good for us but more testing is needed to draw a conclusion.

 

We conclude that chronic ingestion of caffeine protects against high cholesterol diet-induced disruption of the BBB. BBB is essential for brain homeostasis and, once disrupted, can contribute to a variety of neurological disorders. Therefore, our findings that caffeine, a safe and readily available drug, can stabilize BBB have important implications for therapeutic interventions against neurological disorders. Furthermore, it might be important to control ingestion of caffeine and drugs similar to caffeine in patients enrolled in clinical trials and/or prescribed therapeutic strategies where selective opening of the BBB to facilitate drug entry into brain is desired. Further detailed studies are now warranted to determine detailed mechanism(s) by which caffeine protects against BBB disruption, whether these effects on BBB are species-specific, and whether pathophysiological factors in addition to high dietary cholesterol that are related to acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases are implicated.

 

 

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Edited by jimmydasaint
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According to this caffeine is addictive in exactly the same way as herroin.

 

And while small doses might have some postive effects on health, over use can be detrimental to health, as is the case with all pharmaceutical drugs.

 

So caffeine is good for your health in a similar way to that in which paracetemol is good for your health.

 

But it is not good for your health in the same way that a balanced diet is.

 

Tolerance and withdrawalBecause caffeine is primarily an antagonist of the central nervous system's receptors for the neurotransmitter adenosine, the bodies of individuals that regularly consume caffeine adapt to the continuous presence of the drug by substantially increasing the number of adenosine receptors in the central nervous system. First, the stimulatory effects of caffeine are substantially reduced, a phenomenon known as a tolerance adaptation. Second, because these adaptive responses to caffeine make individuals much more sensitive to adenosine, a reduction in caffeine intake will effectively increase the normal physiological effects of adenosine, resulting in unwelcome withdrawal symptoms in tolerant users.[31]

 

Other research questions the idea that up-regulation of adenosine receptors is responsible for tolerance to the locomotor stimulant effects of caffeine, noting, among other things, that this tolerance is insurmountable by higher doses of caffeine (it should be surmountable if tolerance were due to an increase in receptors), and that the increase in adenosine receptor number is modest and does not explain the large tolerance that develops to caffeine.[32]

 

Caffeine tolerance develops very quickly, especially among heavy coffee and energy drink consumers. Complete tolerance to the sleep disruption effects of caffeine develops after consuming 400 mg of caffeine 3 times a day for 7 days. Complete tolerance to subjective effects of caffeine was observed to develop after consuming 300 mg 3 times per day for 18 days, and possibly even earlier.[33] In another experiment, complete tolerance of caffeine was observed when the subject consumed 750–1200 mg per day while incomplete tolerance to caffeine has been observed in those that consume more average doses of caffeine.[34] In everyday terms, the typical caffeine content of a single cup or mug of tea or coffee is well below the 300 - 400 mg level: an average mug of instant coffee contains approximately 100mg caffeine, the same level as a cup of brewed coffee. An average mug of tea contains 75mg of caffeine. [35]

 

Because adenosine, in part, serves to regulate blood pressure by causing vasodilation, the increased effects of adenosine due to caffeine withdrawal cause the blood vessels of the head to dilate, leading to an excess of blood in the head and causing headache and nausea. This means caffeine has vasoconstrictive properties.[36] Reduced catecholamine activity may cause feelings of fatigue and drowsiness. A reduction in serotonin levels when caffeine use is stopped can cause anxiety, irritability, inability to concentrate, and diminished motivation to initiate or to complete daily tasks; in extreme cases it may cause mild depression. Together, these effects have come to be known as a "crash".[37]

 

Withdrawal symptoms—possibly including headache, irritability, an inability to concentrate, drowsiness, insomnia and pain in the stomach, upper body, and joints[38]—may appear within 12 to 24 hours after discontinuation of caffeine intake, peak at roughly 48 hours, and usually last from one to five days, representing the time required for the number of adenosine receptors in the brain to revert to "normal" levels, uninfluenced by caffeine consumption. Analgesics, such as aspirin, may relieve the pain symptoms, as may a small dose of caffeine.

 

 

Overuse

In large amounts, and especially over extended periods of time, caffeine can lead to a condition known as caffeinism.[39][40] Caffeinism usually combines caffeine dependency with a wide range of unpleasant physical and mental conditions including nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching (hyperreflexia), insomnia, headaches, respiratory alkalosis, and heart palpitations.[41][42] Furthermore, because caffeine increases the production of stomach acid, high usage over time can lead to peptic ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.[43] Caffeine may also increase the toxicity of certain other drugs, such as paracetamol.[44]

 

There are four caffeine-induced psychiatric disorders recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition: caffeine intoxication, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, caffeine-induced sleep disorder, and caffeine-related disorder not otherwise specified (NOS).

 

 

 

 

 

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Caffein did have a beneficial effect on a substantial percentage of people with Parkinsons disease, recently made famous by Michael J. Fox's young experience with the disease.

However, I also found that it heightened the effect of people with panic disorder, which makes sense.

 

In addition, it has a tendency to cause palpatations, indigestion, tremors, headaches, and insomnia, and just a cup a day caused women to be 50% less likely to become pregnant.

Edited by Realitycheck
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According to this caffeine is addictive in exactly the same way as herroin.

 

And while small doses might have some postive effects on health, over use can be detrimental to health, as is the case with all pharmaceutical drugs.

 

So caffeine is good for your health in a similar way to that in which paracetemol is good for your health.

 

But it is not good for your health in the same way that a balanced diet is.

Link to Article

 

 

I checked out the first paper you quoted and it refers to chronic caffeine ingestion in rats. In other words, overdosing a rat brain with caffeine causes withdrawal symptoms when the dosage is withdrawn. I think that there is methodological and analytical uncertainty until human systems are used. IMHO we should refer to the type of animal model and the dosage in our review of this subject.

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Caffeine isn't so much a stimulant as a drowsiness inhibitor. It could affect sleep patterns if overused and therefore be harmful.

 

The body gets addicted to most things you do regularly. Withdrawal happens when you stop doing them. Caffeine has a very mild withdrawal, almost negligible.

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Well some research shows caffeine as a carcinogen or potential carcinogen, others say no.

 

Again, please quote the particular animal model and dosage in relation to humans. As you would imagine, humans have a heterogeneous response to drug administration (and I include caffeine in this description) with factors including genetics, presence of particular hormones or other drugs, presence or absence of disease, age, diet and external temperature, to quote just a few.

 

Here is a good Link for you.

Edited by jimmydasaint
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Caffeine has a very mild withdrawal, almost negligible.

 

That would most likely depend on the constitution of the individual concerned.

 

From research it seems that there is a proportion of individuals within the population that have an 'addictive' character and will become addicted to a wide variety of things - alcohol, herroin, gambling, caffeine, nicotine, cannabis........ I guess in these individuals the expected physiological withdrawal symptoms would be exascerbated by psychological ones thus making it far more difficult for such individuals to give up.

 

In contrast there seems to be some individuals that can give up even smoking cold turkey with few serious withdrawal symptoms - just a matter of breaking the habitual behaviour.

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Talk about "is such and such harmful" should always include some mention of the circumstances.

 

For example, propped up on caffeine, I can finish this report that the boss wants tomorrow morning. Without the caffeine, I will fall asleep, not finish the report; get sacked , have no money and so I will starve.

 

Caffeine is clearly good because it avoids starvation.

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Caffeine isn't so much a stimulant as a drowsiness inhibitor. It could affect sleep patterns if overused and therefore be harmful.

 

The body gets addicted to most things you do regularly. Withdrawal happens when you stop doing them. Caffeine has a very mild withdrawal, almost negligible.

 

As someone else pointed out, that is very much dependant on the person. For me, if I were to suddenly stop drinking coffee (even if I'm on a cup a day) I would get migraines, hot/cold flushes and severe nausea to the point where I wouldn't be able to even keep down so much as water or painkillers. It's certainly not the nicest of experiences. That being said, back before I started uni it did give me a good go-to if I ever needed a weekend off work :P

Edited by hypervalent_iodine
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The individual effects vary wildly, I do not get any withdrawal symptoms, for example, although I am a heavy drinker. But then I do not seem get the benefit of it, either. If I cannot find a coffee with a good taste, I do not bother drinking and have as of yet not noticed any signs of withdrawals when I did so.

 

The effects are usually only very short in duration, as caffeine gets cleared rather quickly and (so far) has not shown to result in lasting effects (e.g. irreversible changes in receptor counts) afaik.

 

 

Also to nitpick, there are tissues that are not heavily vascularized and as such do not really bleed when damaged. Also it depends largely on how much and where you cut whether you severe vessels. And finally, depending on the definition, blood itself is a tissue. But again, these are matters of definition.

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There have been clinical trials on the ill effects of caffeine by... King Gustav III of Sweden who seemed to think that the stuff was so poisionous that a convicted murderer was "sentenced" to 3 pots of coffee a day until he was dead, as per the following:

 

http://idiotsguides.com/static/didyouknow/01_12_11-gustav_iii_of_sweden.html

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There have been clinical trials on the ill effects of caffeine by... King Gustav III of Sweden who seemed to think that the stuff was so poisionous that a convicted murderer was "sentenced" to 3 pots of coffee a day until he was dead, as per the following:

 

http://idiotsguides.com/static/didyouknow/01_12_11-gustav_iii_of_sweden.html

 

Wonderful find :lol:

I would hypothesise that tea and coffee drinking revolutionised the lives of people working in unsterile environments because heating water sterlises it from certain pathogens. I have no evidence of this at all but it is my own pet hypothesis/opinion.

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The individual effects vary wildly, I do not get any withdrawal symptoms, for example, although I am a heavy drinker. But then I do not seem get the benefit of it, either. If I cannot find a coffee with a good taste, I do not bother drinking and have as of yet not noticed any signs of withdrawals when I did so.

 

The effects are usually only very short in duration, as caffeine gets cleared rather quickly and (so far) has not shown to result in lasting effects (e.g. irreversible changes in receptor counts) afaik.

 

It seems that I am of a similar physiology to you as I have not noticed any significant withdrawal symptoms if I stop drinking coffee or cola drinks in favour of some other beverage for any length of time.

 

Also to nitpick, there are tissues that are not heavily vascularized and as such do not really bleed when damaged. Also it depends largely on how much and where you cut whether you severe vessels. And finally, depending on the definition, blood itself is a tissue. But again, these are matters of definition.

 

Never the less all living tissue, except the cornea, bleed when cut.

 

The epidermis does not bleed when cut, as in a paper cut. But then that is also composed of dead keratinised and dieing keratinising cells hence no need for a blood supply. Skin only bleeds if the cut makes it through to the living dermis beneath. Although paper cuts still hurt a bit as the basal layer of the epidermis does have a sensory nerve supply if I remember correctly.

 

Is that what you mean by tissue that is not heavily vascularised? Or did you have some other internal organ in mind?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a friend who is convinced that caffeine is good for you and is not addictive for anyone. I have tried to convince him otherwise but I do not know the science behind caffeine interacting with the body and the mind. My question is: what goes on in your body that makes caffeine have its ill effects? Or its good ones for that matter.

 

Caffeine is dangerous if it crosses the limits. If not, it helps the body. I think the physician would be able to personally guide on the quantity of caffeine that is recommended. smile.gif

 

 

 

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So there are a lot of studies out on the benefits of coffee or tea, including lower incidence of a number of cancers, but few long-term studies on caffeine specifically. The reality is that most people don't go through life popping caffeine pills throughout the day, so we can't easily tease apart the effects of caffeine from the products that have it, and both coffee and tea are known to have other bioactive compounds. And it's a tough one to get info about the short term effects of coffee and tea for the opposite reason, as many of the studies looking at coffee's effect on the brain are actually relying on caffeine tablets, instead of coffee per se, to produce an effect. Apparently, the caffeine in coffee is too variable to be relied upon. Regardless of any of that, there are at least long-term benefits that you can talk about with products that naturally contain caffeine, and short-term benefits of alertness and greater accuracy with caffeine alone.

 

In terms of whether it's addictive or not...this gets sticky. Addiction is a big buzzword, and, at least within neuroscience, has very specific constraints associated with it: it needs to stimulate the nigrostriatal pathway (the "Reward Pathway") to be considered addictive, and caffeine definitely does this. But stimulation of this path alone isn't sufficient to call something addictive. Smelling or seeing something pleasant will also stimulate this path, yet you never hear of "scent addictions" or "visual addictions".

 

So, in addition to stimulating that path, drugs of abuse must also cause withdrawal effects, which caffeine certainly does.

 

Ok, so two criteria met. Is that sufficient to call it addictive? We've just entered philosophical territory on accident. The net's been cast too wide, and we've caught too many non-addictive things in it, along with the addictive ones. The definition of addiction isn't fine tuned enough to exclude it, so, as a working definition, we can say it is addictive...or not.

 

From a personal opinion standpoint, I would definitely say it is.

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