Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that is found in the fruit and leaves of some varieties of plants. It is a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects. Caffeine is present in coffee and tea as both the beans of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush have naturally occurring caffeine. Other sources of caffeine include Kola nuts, yerba maté, guarana berries, guayusa, and the yaupon holly. Caffeine is a stimulant and is the world’s most consumed psychoactive substance. So, how exactly does caffeine affect the body? Read this article to find out.
How does caffeine affect the body?
Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and the most common effects of consumption in humans are increased wakefulness and restored alertness. Its stimulant affect also helps improve body coordination and clearer thinking. In high does caffeine can have the opposite affect and actually impair body coordination and movement. These effects of caffeine begin less than an hour after consumption and wear off after about five hours. Caffeine may also increase the frequency of urination, but many caffeine uses acquire immunity to this symptom.
Consuming large amount of caffeine can cause caffeine addiction or caffeinism. People who have this addiction may feel irritable, restless, nervous, and experience headaches or heart palpitations; particularly if they cut back or do not have any caffeine. Other conditions associated with caffeine consumption are caffeine intoxication, caffeine-induced sleep disorder, and caffeine-induced anxiety disorder. Caffeine can cause sleep problems in some people by disturbing their sleep patterns and leading to insomnia. A caffeine induced sleep disorder is a disruption in sleep patterns that warrants clinical care and treatment. Small doses of caffeine are said to have little or mild positive effects on anxiety. High doses have been linked with a marked increase in anxiety causing caffeine-induced anxiety disorder. Withdrawal from caffeine can also cause anxiety problems.
Caffeine intoxication can cause the following symptoms:
- Flushing of the face
- Increased urination
- Gastrointestinal disturbance
- Muscle twitching
- A rambling flow of thought and speech
- Irregular or rapid heart beat
Large overdoses can result in much more serious effects such as mania, depression, disorientation, delusions, hallucinations or psychosis. In severe cases caffeine overdoses can lead to death.
Caffeine is believed to have positive effects on cancer and has been show to lower the overall risk of cancer. Caffeine acts on hepatocellular and endometrial cancer, however high levels of caffeine consumption can make a person more susceptible to bladder cancer.