The Power of Caffeine
Coffee has somehow made its way back to contemporary society as a great social tool and a great “natural” nootropic, mainly for its caffeine, to get an extra boost in energy or even to pull an overnighter to finish a report.
Although incorporating caffeine into your routine can prove to be a real life saver in getting through the day, it clearly comes with consequences that are worth noting.
The reason why energy drinks or caffeinated drinks almost immediately gives you an immense amount of energy is due to its solubility in water and fat. By being water and fat-soluble, it easily enters the bloodstream and passes through the blood-brain barrier. Dopamine and adrenaline is then released in the brain when caffeine blocks adenosine. Hence, the “sugar rush.”
Adenosine, a critical hormone for sleep regulation, works by blocking neurons in the brain and therefore produces tiredness. However, because of caffeine’s similar chemical structure to adenosine, it occupies the same space as adenosine making the individual having a sense of energy and alertness that can last for hours.
The presence of a single dose of caffeine can impair the brain’s natural functions for up to size hours until the body starts to metabolize it and incrementally reverts to its natural state.
Another way in which your body counters the effects of caffeine is to produce more adenosine receptors to balance out the dose of caffeine. Additionally, the brain’s physical characteristics and chemistry will change with regular caffeine intake.
The attempt to achieve equilibrium with additional adenosine receptors relates to why individuals eventually adapt to their caffeine routine, losing the energy-inducing effect (We call this tolerance build-up).
When one does decide to entirely remove caffeine from their everyday routine, the sudden removal of the chemical leads to another change in the brain’s chemistry and characteristics, which prove to be very unpleasant.
Withdrawal symptoms start within 24 hours and comes in the form of mental fog and tiredness, physically. It is often accompanied with a change in mood, particularly irritability.
After that, a number of symptoms will show, it varies between individuals but mainly consists of the following:
Difficulty in concentration, headaches, muscular fatigue, flu-like characteristics, and even nausea.
The reemergence of caffeine and its benefits being advocated in the form of sport drinks or diet pills and even nootropics, as obscured people from its potential detrimental effects on our brain and mood. According to the FDA, 80 per cent of Americans drink caffeine daily, suggesting that most of us are unaware of its brain physique alteration and addictive consequences.
In terms of caffeine being an addiction, withdrawal symptoms are short-term. The good news is that the brain starts to revert to its natural chemical state within a week. The brain will work towards its natural baseline by reducing its amount of adenosine receptors.
This does not mean that you must completely abstain from caffeine. The aim is to be aware and consume moderately. The occasional coffee or energy drink won’t cause worries but here are some comparisons and alternatives for natural occurring caffeine choices.
Green Tea/cup – 45mg
Black Tea/cup – 75mg
Coffee/8 oz cup – 150mg
The advice given is to not exceed 400mg of caffeine per day. Even though that is a guideline, the risk of having mental impairment or suffering from withdrawal symptoms, especially those who are caffeine sensitive, are present.