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Is Caffeine Bad For Your Brain

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How To Tell If Caffeine Is Increasing Your Anxiety

Is Caffeine Bad For Your Brain? (Caffeine Effects On The Brain)

Not sure if your coffee habit is affecting your anxiety levels? Keep a diary to track your caffeine consumption and your anxiety symptoms, Sweeney suggested. Then see if any patterns emerge.

For example, on a day when they felt particularly anxious or had more trouble sleeping, was that the same day they had an extra cup of coffee? she said. could also tell whether the pattern of caffeine consumption relates to anxiety symptoms, such as whether having two cups one right after the other results in greater anxiety than two cups spread across the morning, or whether consuming caffeine later in the day coincides with greater trouble sleeping.

What Caffeine Does To Our Brain And Body Is Widely Misunderstood

    I recently stopped drinking coffee. Yeah, I know, why would anybody do that? For me it was a combination of health-related reasons, and overall I can say Im happy I did. If you had asked me a few days after I kicked it, though, I would have told you it was one of the dumbest things I ever even thought of doing that is, if my head stopped pounding long enough to answer you in a complete sentence.

    This radical life adjustment made me curious about caffeine and its effects on the brain, so I did some research. The most surprising thing I found was that caffeine doesnt really jack up the volume in our brain the way most of us think it does the story about how our favorite drug works isn’t nearly so straightforward.

    First, what caffeine does not do.

    Caffeine does not, by itself, make you a super productive, super fast, super talky jitter machine. That venti Café Americano is not the sole reason youre able to cram six hours of work into 45 minutes, or that youre shockingly charming between the hours of 8-11 a.m.

    What caffeine does do is one heck of an impersonation. In your brain, caffeine is the quintessential mimic of a neurochemical called adenosine. Adenosine is produced by neurons throughout the day as they fire, and as more of it is produced, the more your nervous system ratchets down.

    The remarkable talent of caffeine is to mimic adenosines shape and size, and enter the receptors without activating them. The receptors are then effectively blocked by caffeine .

    It Changes The Way You Remember Words

    Consuming 200mg of caffeine, the equivalent of about two cups of coffee, before a word memory task helped people to remember words with positive associations seriously quickly, according to a study from 2012 published in PLOS ONE. Verbal short-term memory is an interesting part of the brain and still mysterious to researchers, but a dose of caffeine definitely boosted participants’ ability to recall happy words, though not ones with negative associations. If you’re trying to remember your wedding anniversary, this might be a good trick to try.

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    Caffeine The Great Short

    Caffeine causes a short-term boost to your adrenalin levels, giving you some drive and motivation. Nicotine triggers the release of dopamine, GABA, glutamate, adrenalin and acetylcholine, while dampening the effect of serotonin. Sugar can also increase amounts of dopamine in the short term. But all of these substances are unsurprisingly bad news in the long term.

    Negative Effects Of Caffeine On The Brain

    Is Caffeine Good or Bad for Your Brain?

    Granted, caffeine can lead to temporary increased alertness, and sports medicine research does promote it as an athletic performance enhancer under certain conditions. However, excessive caffeine every day also constricts blood flow to your brain and many other organs.

    A daily cup of joe is probably not a problem, but more than 3-4 cups of caffeine, which is metabolized in your hard-working liver, may raise a few issues.

    Adenosine is a chemical in the brain that causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity and its the key to understanding caffeine addiction. When we are tired, adenosine triggers the brain to slow down so we will go to sleep and naturally rejuvenate our own brain function.

    Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine by occupying the adenosine receptor sites and preventing the brain from seeing it. So even if you are tired and in need of sleep to revitalize brain chemistry, caffeine tricks the brain into thinking it is wide awake.

    Additionally, caffeine causes the release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands, putting the body into a stressful fight or flight mode, whereby:

    • Your pupils dilate
    • Blood vessels on the skin constrict to slow blood flow from cuts
    • Blood flow increases to working muscles
    • Blood pressure rises

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    But Some Of Caffeine’s Benefits May Come From The Fact That It’s Hooked Us

    Some research suggests that caffeines perceived benefits arent really benefits at all.

    For some, these studies suggest, all of the positive effects of caffeine from better mood to improved memory and attention span may be the result of a dose of caffeine temporarily reversing the effects of longer-term withdrawal from the drug.

    In other words, when someone whos hooked on coffee stops drinking it, going without the drink might make them feel tired and less attentive. When they start drinking it again, their performance may only increase because the brain and body had already become addicted to caffeine.

    One Cup Of Coffee Could Boost Your Memory For Up To A Day

    Thats according to astudy published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, which found that caffeine strengthened memory for up to 24 hours after consumption. The amount used in the study was 200 mg or about as much as youd find in a 12-ounce cup of coffee.

    Caffeine might also help us cope with dull tasks and recall straightforward information from memory. In onestudy, participants given moderate to high doses of caffeine reported feeling less bored after performing a repetitive task and were able to recall lists of words better than non-caffeinated participants.

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    New Study Finds Drinking Too Much Coffee Can Shrink Your Brain Increase Dementia Risk Significantly

    Researchers say drinking more than six cups of coffee daily could have adverse effects on the brain.

    Story at a glance

    • Researchers from the University of South Australia assessed the effects of coffee on the brain among more than 17,700 participants between the ages 37 and 73.
    • They found that participants who consumed more than six cups of coffee each day had a 53-percent increased risk of dementia and smaller total brain volumes.
    • Healthy adults are advised to limit their daily coffee intake to about four or five cups, which is roughly 400 milligrams of caffeine.

    Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world and has been linked to a reduced risk of ailments, including Parkinsons disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstones and several types of cancers.

    But having way too much of the morning pick-me-up could have an adverse effect on brain health over time, according to a new study led by the University of South Australia.

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    Researchers behind the study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience assessed the effects of coffee on the brain among more than 17,700 participants between the ages 37 and 73.

    They found that participants who consumed more than six cups of coffee each day had a 53-percent increased risk of dementia and smaller total brain volumes compared with those who consumed one to two cups a day.

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    The Effects Of Caffeine On Teenagers

    How coffee affects your brain | Is coffee bad for your brain? | how does caffeine affect the brain

    How does caffeine intake affect teenagers minds and bodies, and should we be worried? As clinical psychologist Gemma Cribb explains: Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant to increase alertness and make you feel less worn out. It binds to the adenosine receptors in your brain, preventing the chemical from making you feel tired.

    And while feeling less tired may seem beneficial for overworked adults, the effects of caffeine in teenagers can be far reaching. Studies show caffeine consumption can affect a teenagers concentration and ability to sleep, which in turn may slow the maturing process of their brains.

    And because of their smaller body weight , caffeine has more than twice the impact on children than it does on adults. This means children and young adolescents are more susceptible to caffeine-related symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and nervousness.

    Additionally, studies have suggested that the adolescent brain is more susceptible to stress and addiction due to the way the developing brain is wired. During adolescence, the brain has the most neural connections it will ever have in your life, Gemma explains. Caffeine will disrupt your brain’s ability to form these connections.

    In very rare cases, coffee could put pressure on the heart if consumed in very high doses, particularly where there could be an existing heart condition, reports the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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    How Much Caffeine Is Safe

    An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine, while a similar-size cup of tea has about 30 to 50 milligrams, per the FDA.

    Run the numbers to see how much you might be drinking per day. A 12-ounce can of soda with caffeine has about 35 to 45 milligrams, according to the NLM. What about energy drinks? Each one can add another 70 to 100 milligrams of caffeine to your day’s total.

    Caffeine is also in chocolate and some medications, especially those you might take for colds, per the NLM. Some dietary supplements have concentrated amounts of caffeine as well, according to the FDA.

    Even some packaged foods might contain caffeine. Many voluntarily list how much caffeine is in them, the FDA says. “Read the labels to understand how much caffeine you’re taking in and pay close attention to how it affects you,” Hultin says.

    How Caffeine Affects The Brain

    Caffeine does help most of us stay alert. However, caffeine, especially when taken at night, can disrupt sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation, in turn, can affect the gray matter of your brain, as proven by previous studies.

    A team of researchers led by Professor Christian Cajochen and Dr. Carolin Reichert from the University of Basel investigated whether sleep deprivation due to caffeine is the culprit in affecting the brain structure.

    Findings showed that caffeine consumption did not result in poor sleep. On the other hand, researchers observed changes in the brain’s gray matter. The study was reported in the journal Cerebral Cortex on February 15.

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    Is It Safe For Teenagers To Drink Coffee And Energy Drinks

    From flat whites to energy drinks, Australian adolescents drink a surprising amount of caffeine. Heres how it affects their health.

    Lucy E CousinsUpdated September 2020

    On average, 75% of Australians enjoy at least one cup of coffee a day. Picking up a coffee from your local café is a daily routine for many, so its no great surprise that our teenagers are starting to take part in our coffee culture.

    Research suggests 15% of Australian teenagers are regularly drinking coffee and the average consumption of caffeinated tea among 1417-year-olds is 5.5 cups a week. But caffeine intake isnt limited to tea and coffee, with the consumption of energy drinks also rising.

    When To Call Your Doctor

    How coffee affects your brain

    “Because caffeine can cause blood pressure to rise, if you struggle to maintain normal blood pressure, it would be smart to call your doctor if you’re having symptoms of cardiac or nervous system problems,” Hultin says. If you think the situation represents an emergency, don’t hesitate to take action, she adds.

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    The Pros And Cons Of Caffeine

    So, if you choose to continue your morning routine of drinking coffee there are few things for you to consider.

    Heres the thing: There are caffeine benefits but there are also some caffeine issues you want to keep your eye on.

    The Good

    Here are some benefits of including responsible caffeine intake in your daily routine.

    • It can increase your mood.
    • It can make you feel more alert and awake.
    • It can help boost memory function.
    • It may increase your attention span and focus.
    • It may make over-the-counter medications, like Tylenol and aspirin, work faster.
    • It can enhance your performance.

    The Bad

    Drinking caffeine in any amount isnt always good for you, here are some negatives of caffeine consumption.

    • Some get heartburn when consuming caffeine.
    • Fatigue is common as an effect after caffeine leaves your system.
    • Digestive issues are common with caffeine consumption, often looked at as normal when people joke about their morning after-coffee bathroom break.
    • Caffeine has been shown to raise blood pressure because of its stimulatory effect on the nervous system which can lead to a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks.
    • Insomnia and restlessness are common. It takes about 5-6 hours for just half of the caffeines effects to dissipate .
    • Caffeine is known it increase alertness, rapid heart rate, and anxiety – meaning that it can stress you out and make you irritable.

    The Ugly:

    • Caffeine addiction is a real thing that we need to be aware of.

    Should You Stop Consuming It

    Theres nothing wrong with a cup of coffee in the morning! Just make sure that youre not basing your whole existence around 6 cups a day.

    The answer is still, it depends on your lifestyle, wants, and health. As long as youre conscious of your caffeine consumption and only take it in at healthy doses, there arent any huge health consequences from it .

    It may also pay to look at what else is in your caffeine-filled beverages or foods. Energy drinks, in particular, contain taurine which is known for adverse health effects.

    Basically, it comes down to being informed about what goes into your body and finding what works for you. If thats a cup of good ol coffee in the morning, go for it!

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    Tolerance Dependence And Withdrawal

    Repeated consumption of caffeine can lead to tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal. Tolerance takes place when you must consume larger or more frequent doses in order to have the same effects. Dependence involves needing to keep taking the substance in order to ward off unpleasant withdrawal effects.

    It Increases Brain Entropy

    Is Caffeine Good or Bad for You?

    This doesn’t sound like a good thing, but be assured, it is. Entropy in the brain is “intense complexity and irregular variability in brain activity from one moment to the next”, according to the British Psychological Society, and is a signal that the brain is operating at a high level . A study in 2018 showed for the first time that a dose of caffeine boosts entropy in the brain, which in turn makes you better at mental tasks, particularly those related to vision, motor skills, reasoning and words. The brain is being given a kick-start by your cup of joe in ways we’re only just beginning to understand.

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    It May Reduce Your Risk Of Dementia

    Whether you have a family history of dementia or just eager to stay cognitively fit as you age, coffee may be a boon to your brain health in the long term.

    “Coffee increases focus, mental stamina, and may help prevent cognitive decline,” says Caroline Thomason, RD, CDCES, a dietitian and diabetes educator. “Coffee has been shown to reduce the risk for dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” she explains.

    In fact, a 2010 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that consumption of three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife reduced a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia by as much as 65%. And if you want to protect your wellbeing, These Are the Worst Types of Coffee for Your Heart Health, Science Says.

    What The Experts Say

    Research has shown that caffeine can have both positive and negative effects on health.

    It can improve mental performanceup to a point. In a study published in 2012, caffeine was shown to improve performance on a range of different tasks including vigilance, response times, information processing, and somebut not allproofreading tasks.

    But it’s no shortcut to improving your performance. When comparisons are made between people whose daily intake of caffeine is low and those who regularly consume a lot of caffeine , the improvements are quite small and don’t get better with more caffeine.

    While people who use a lot of caffeine every day do show improved performance with more caffeine, it may be that they are simply counteracting the effects of caffeine dependenceso by taking more caffeine, they are getting closer to what their performance would be if they weren’t addicted to caffeine in the first place.

    Caffeine might improve reaction times, but expectations may also play a role. According to a review published in 2010, caffeine improves vigilance and reaction times. Another study published in 2009 explored the subtleties of how this works and found that at least some of the time, this is an expectancy effect.

    In other words, if people think consuming caffeine will make their performance worse, they try harder and compensate for the expected effects of caffeine.

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    How To Recognize Caffeine

    Caffeine is an alkaloid found in a wide variety of plants including coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans. It is found both naturally and as an additive in many food and drink items including coffee, tea, chocolate, and soft drinks. On its own, caffeine has no flavor and does not have any nutritional value.

    Note that while Food and Drug Administration regulations stipulate products containing added caffeine must be labeled, labeling is not required for food and beverages that naturally contain the stimulant. Since many products do not specify how much caffeine they contain, it can be difficult to know how much caffeine you are consuming.

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