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Caffeine Side Effects

Updated on April 28, 2010

How dependent are you on caffeine (coffee, tea, Rockstar Energy Drink, Monster Energy Drink, Red Bull)?

Does caffeine help you to concentrate?


How reliant are you on that first cup of coffee before facing the world?

Caffeine is one of more than 50 drugs restricted by the International Olympic Committee for the effect it has on athletic performance1. No wonder so many people use it to get them out of bed in the morning!

Caffeine can turn you from a sluggish sloth to a high-powered hawk. If you are a committed coffee drinker, try the following experiment:


Objective

To find out if coffee really affects your concentration.


Method

Buy two types of coffee you have not tried before, one caffeinated and one decaffeinated. Put them into identical jars so you don't know which is which. Try each one every day for a week and see if you can tell which is the caffeinated coffee.


Results

Note the effect each coffee has on you. Does it make you less sleepy and more alert? Do you react faster and concentrate better?


Conclusion

Can you say for sure that one type of coffee has a real stimulating effect on you? You may even notice some negative effects. One type of coffee may make you urinate more, or may make your heart beat faster.


Explanation

Caffeine is a chemical - even in small doses it can have a stimulating effect on your nervous system2 by boosting the way messages are transmitted between cells. It affects muscle cells in your heart and the airway into your lungs (a chemical related to caffeine has been used to treat asthma). It makes your kidneys take more water out of your blood to form urine, so you will urinate and drink more3. In addition, caffeine causes the release of insulin, a hormone that acts to reduce the amount of sugar in your blood. If you don't have something to eat with your coffee, you may quickly feel hungry.


Taking action!

You are not necessarily caffeine-free just because you don't drink coffee. Do you drink tea, cocoa or soft drinks? These are also likely to include caffeine. If you really want to reduce your caffeine intake, try the following instead: a smaller cup; instant rather than ground coffee; decaffeinated rather than caffeinated coffee (or a mixture of the two); weaker tea; decaffeinated soft drinks; or herbal tea.

Sources

  1. World Anti-Doping Agency. www.wada-ama.org
  2. Drugscope. www.drugscope.org.uk
  3. Encyclopedia Britannica. www.britannica.com

Comments

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    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 

      8 years ago from US

      Wow I know the difference. My husband and I quit coffee years ago and what a good thing that was! Sure we still get a little in chocolate, etc, but that is nothing compared to cups of coffee a day, my husband switched to decaf for awhile which still has some caffeine but found all the sugar he needed for it was not having a good affect on him either. Great hub! Polly

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