Caffeine is perhaps the best-known stimulant in the world. Naturally found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and cacao beans, caffeine has been surrounded by controversy regarding whether it is good or bad for us.
According to the FDA, the recommended maximum dose of caffeine is 400 mg per day, which is about 2 cups a day. Caffeine can provide numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation. However, consuming caffeine in high doses can lead to negative side effects.
Learn about the potential benefits and side effects of caffeine.
What are the advantages of caffeine?
- Alleviates fatigue: As a central nervous system stimulant, it can fight fatigue and improve mental alertness.
- Boosts weight loss: Caffeine aids in weight loss in the long run by decreasing appetite and increasing the basal metabolic rate of the body.
- Enhances athletic performance: Caffeine increases strength during endurance activities and can boost athletic performance.
- Reduces risk of cognitive decline: Some researchers have concluded that long-term intake of caffeine reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine can also boost long-term memory.
What are the disadvantages of caffeine?
- Worsens anxiety and depression: Caffeine is a mood enhancer when taken in moderation. However, when ingested in excessive quantities, it can worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Increases blood sugar levels: Caffeine reduces the activity of insulin, which increases the level of glucose in the blood.
- Not good for pregnant or breastfeeding women: Caffeine should be avoided during pregnancy because it can lead to complications such as miscarriage or fetal heart irregularity. Caffeine is contraindicated when breastfeeding because it can pass via milk to the infant.
- May affect fertility: Caffeine reduces the fibrillation activity in the fallopian tubes, hampering the movement of the egg. This can reduce fertility.
- Increases risk of incontinence: Caffeine causes urinary incontinence, and in extreme cases, it can cause fecal incontinence.
- Disturbs sleep: Due to its effects as a stimulant, caffeine can disrupt the sleep-wake pattern especially in people with insomnia.
- Dehydration: Because caffeine is a diuretic, caffeine can increase the frequency of urination and cause dehydration, leading to low levels of sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and chloride ions in the body.
- Addiction: Caffeine is an addictive substance and if you become dependent on it, reducing intake can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and drowsiness. In extreme cases, it can cause nausea and vomiting.