Caffeine: The Effects on the Human body
Did you know that caffeine is one of the most addictive substances out there? It’s true, something we deem as harmless can actually be incredibly addictive. And, it can have numerous effects on the human body that you may not know of.
The purpose of this post is to walk you through what caffeine does to our bodies. Some of the effects are positive, while others are negative. Hopefully, by the time you finish reading, you’ll understand more about caffeine and why you should manage your intake.
It Makes You More Alert
One of the most common effects of caffeine is increased alertness. The substance reaches your brain extremely fast and stimulates your central nervous system. This makes you feel more awake and alert, which is why people often drink coffee in the morning. It gives them a quick buzz to stay awake when they’re drowsy.
It Causes Insomnia
As mentioned above, caffeine stimulates your central nervous system. It’s all to do with adenosine, a natural neurotransmitter in the brain. Caffeine suppresses the actions of it and increases neural activity. This leads to a temporary feeling of alertness and can reduce tiredness and fatigue. This can become an issue when you’re getting ready for bed. Increased alertness can delay your sleep and lead to you staying up later than planned.
Studies have also shown that caffeine can disrupt people’s circadian clock. This clock counts on our brain to tell us what sleep cycle to follow. We release melatonin when it gets closer to bedtime and this makes us feel sleepy. When you ingest caffeine, it delays melatonin release. When this happens, we sleep later than usual and it messes up our circadian clock, meaning we wake up tired.
On a metabolic level, caffeine increases your metabolism. You may think this is good, as it can lead to you burning more body fat. However, an increased metabolism means your resting energy expenditure is up too. Again, this leads to insomnia because you have too much energy when you need to sleep.
Raises Blood Pressure
When caffeine is consumed, it enters your bloodstream through the stomach. It doesn’t take long for the substance to make it’s way around your body and to your heart. Too much caffeine can cause your heart rate to increase and your blood pressure to rise. There are even studies that link high caffeine consumption with increased risk of heart attacks in young people.
It Cures Headaches (And Causes Them!)
One could write an entire book on the relationship between caffeine and headaches. It’s very complicated and hard to get your head around what goes on. You often find caffeine in many pain medication drugs. It can help reduce inflammation and give you some quick relief. And, doctors recommend you take pain medication with caffeine to boost their effects. But, here’s where things get strange and tough to follow. What makes caffeine so effective in treating headaches is that it narrows the blood vessels around your brain. However, when you stop taking caffeine, they expand again, and this gives you a headache. Ingesting caffeine can help cure your headaches, but your body becomes used to it. So, whenever you don’t have enough caffeine in your body, you start getting painful headaches. It’s a very weird chain of events, but the best solution is to avoid drinking too much caffeine. Don’t let your body become dependent on it, and it can’t cause headaches.
Can Lead To Weak Bones
There have been some studies that link excessive caffeine consumption to weak bones. When our bodies absorb lots of caffeine, it affects how we absorb and metabolize calcium. Calcium is important because it helps keep our bones strong, amongst other things. If caffeine stops us from absorbing and using calcium properly, we end up with a problem. We have a calcium deficiency, and that can lead to bone problems.
I think it’s important that people realise what caffeine does to our body. There are some benefits it can bring to you. If you need to stay alert in the mornings then a couple of cups of coffee will do the trick. If you want to speed up your metabolism, then drink some black coffee throughout the day. The issue with this substance is that it’s addictive. And, addictive things can cause withdrawal symptoms. As mentioned above, when you stop taking caffeine you can get headaches. And, you may also get stomach aches and sore muscles.
Regarding your sleep, it’s better if you lay off the caffeine well before bedtime. Otherwise, you may experience restless nights.