Caffeine is a substance found in many invigorating and tonic drinks. It is found in many plants and is produced synthetically. It has useful and medicinal properties, but the harm of caffeine has also been recorded. May be hazardous to health in case of overdose or during pregnancy.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is an alkaloid that is bitter colorless or white crystals that have no taste or smell. It occurs naturally in seeds and leaves. Their caffeine content protects plants from insects. Artificial is obtained in the laboratory. It is added to medicines. The formula of caffeine is C₈H₁₀N₄O₂, the name is 1,3,7-trimethyl-xanthine. Easily soluble in hot water and poorly – in cold.

Caffeine is a substance that acts as a psychoactive stimulant, forming a connection with the central nervous system and the brain. It increases activity, improves mood and gives a long-term charge of vivacity. But besides the main properties, caffeine has other useful qualities.

It is found in many drinks – coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcoholic cocktails. It is included in the composition of painkillers. Some tablets are designed to be taken with hypotension. Natural caffeine tastes bitter, so if it is added to food, it is masked by other ingredients. The main quality of caffeine is especially noticeable in energy drinks.

A person instantly receives a charge of vivacity and remains active for 5-6 hours. Young people need a small amount, in adulthood the dosage will have to be increased. With regular use, caffeine is addictive, and susceptibility to caffeine is reduced.

Then you have to increase the dosage, but this can cause health problems. Therefore, the best option is to drink caffeinated drinks only when necessary. Given that the effect of caffeine lasts for 5-6 hours, a couple of cups of coffee or two cans of energy drinks are enough per day.

Metabolism and effects on the body

When caffeine enters the body, it is first converted to theophylline, theobromine and paraxanthine, and then to monoxanthine and the xanthine molecule. In the process of metabolism, other substances are also formed – uracil derivatives, uric acid, di- and trimethyl allantoin. Caffeine is quickly distributed through the liquids and enters the cells, fatty tissues. Even more rapid action occurs in smokers.

This ensures the high efficiency of coffee and energy drinks as invigorating drinks. They begin to act in 10-15 minutes. But how quickly the body absorbs caffeine molecules, just as quickly gets rid of them. Caffeine is metabolized in the liver and has a short half-life. Therefore, the effect of such drinks is short-term – up to 5-7 hours, then their effectiveness is significantly reduced.

There are two types of caffeine – natural, which is obtained from plants, and synthetic, created in the laboratory. It is added to many drinks and desserts, but in different concentrations. The tablets often contain an artificial alkaloid. Its concentration reaches 16-200 mg. The table shows the approximate amount of alkaloid in basic drinks and foods based on 150-200 ml of liquid.

ProductsSubstance concentration
CoffeeThe amount of caffeine depends on the type of grains and the strength of the drink – 80-115 mg, in soluble – 75 mg. A cup of natural Arabica contains 45-60 mg.
TeaIn a strong brewed drink – up to 50 mg
CokeAverage value – up to 35 mg
CocoaSweet ready drink – 6 mg
EnergyFrom 50 mg, but an increased concentration may also be contained – up to 160 mg
ChocolateMilk – 15 mg, bitter – 90 mg

The concentration and composition of caffeine in the body can be determined by examining human saliva. Since the substance enters the body through a liquid medium, it is absorbed faster with chewing gum, through saliva. The alkaloid contained in coffee works immediately, and from tea – after absorption in the intestine. But it is the second option for consuming caffeine that has a longer effect.

The highest concentration of natural alkaloid is found in tea leaves, cocoa beans, coffee beans. It is abundant in chocolate and soft drinks. If we compare green and black tea, then the latter contains 7 times more caffeine. Therefore, if pressure reduction is necessary, then such drinks and foods should be discarded.

The substance is added to medicines for colds, allergies, painkillers and weight loss formulations. The alkaloid provides a reduction in pain and enhances the effect of similar medications.

The invigorating effect of caffeine is due to the interaction of adrenaline with fatty acids, from which the muscles draw energy. When a dose of alkaloid is infused into the body, it releases even more energy. This allows muscles and organs to work even more actively. The consumption of carbohydrates switches to the processing of fats.

The benefits and harms of caffeine are almost equivalent. Adenosine molecules protect the body from physical and mental overstrain, but the alkaloid neutralizes their effect. As a result, a person does not feel tired, continues to work actively. But in the end, overvoltage has a negative effect, if then you do not provide the body with a good rest.

A harmless daily dose of caffeine is 300 mg, but if it is consumed from 700 mg or more, this provokes an increased excretion of magnesium and calcium. As a result, the strength of bone tissues is broken, this can cause osteoporosis, which often develops after menopause. Although calcium deficiency is easy to fill 2 tbsp. l. milk, you should not abuse foods and drinks containing caffeine. What harm can caffeine have on the body:

  1. According to studies, caffeine consumption during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth. The alkaloid increases the heart rate in the fetus, worsens the quality of breathing, and can provoke abnormal intrauterine development. Therefore, during pregnancy, you should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day, but it is better to refuse altogether.
  2. It enhances the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Therefore, it can cause the development of gastritis. The risk is increased if coffee or energy drinks are drunk on an empty stomach.
  3. May cause urinary incontinence. The risk group includes people who daily consume caffeine in large quantities.
  4. Increases blood pressure within 2-3 hours after a couple of cups of coffee. Therefore, caffeine is prohibited in hypertension.
  5. Promotes the development of gout. The risk of this disease increases exponentially in the elderly.
  6. In large quantities, it is dangerous for the cardiovascular system. It provokes the development of cardiac diseases. When consumed from 4 cups per day, the risk of developing a heart attack sharply increases, even in young people.
  7. Violates glucose metabolism, so it can be dangerous for diabetics. At the same time, caffeine consumption provokes the development of this disease and obesity.
  8. Promotes the formation of cystic formations in the mammary glands, increases the risk of mastopathy and cystitis.
  9. Why caffeine is dangerous in large doses – causes causeless anxiety, insomnia, headaches. With regular use of an alkaloid in large quantities, depression can develop.
  10. Violates female fertility, reducing the chances of conception by 27%. If you drink two cups of coffee for 2-3 weeks before it, then the risk of early miscarriage and premature birth increases.
  11. May cause an allergic reaction.
  12. Increases symptoms during menopause.
  13. Reduces the natural production of collagen in tissues. As a result, the skin becomes flabby, wrinkles appear faster.
  14. With daily consumption of 4 cups of coffee, the risk of sudden premature death increases by 20%.

The alkaloid has a slight diuretic effect, but does not lead to dehydration. Often people drink a cup of coffee after drinking alcoholic beverages. But caffeine is not able to neutralize alcohol, and even provokes the appearance of problems with the heart and gastrointestinal tract.

Caffeine overdose

For an adult, the normal dosage is up to 300 mg of caffeine per day. A moderate dose is 250 mg of brewed ground coffee beans, or 0.5 liters of Coca-Cola. This amount invigorates, helps to concentrate, relieves lethargy and drowsiness. But why is caffeine harmful if the dosage is exceeded:

  • body temperature rises;
  • the heart rate increases;
  • increased production of gastric juice;
  • blood pressure rises;
  • dizziness occurs;
  • blood circulation is accelerated;
  • increases the concentration of sugar in the blood;
  • acts as a strong diuretic;
  • dry mouth appears;
  • confusion occurs.

The first sign of an overdose is a rapid heartbeat, the second is an increase in blood pressure and headache. With excessive excess of the norm, nausea and vomiting, hypoglycemia appear. A person becomes irritable, his appetite disappears, problems with the gastrointestinal tract may occur. If you drink coffee before going to bed in large doses, it will provoke insomnia.

How does it get into the blood?

Once in the body, caffeine begins to be absorbed instantly – by 99%. And its concentration reaches 10 mg/1 kg. This value is reached within 40 minutes after caffeine intake, and the peak effect is reached after 15 minutes.

But these are average values, the indicators depend on the concentration of the substance in foods and drinks, the individual characteristics of the body. The high rate of absorption of caffeine by the body is from chewing gum, coffee, energy drinks, tablets, and the low rate is from cola and chocolate.

Side effects

If caffeine is consumed without exceeding the recommended dosage, then a negative reaction of the body does not occur. But according to studies, if you drink 100 ml of coffee daily, this can provoke disorders in the digestive tract, heartburn and infertility. If you exceed the recommended dosage of caffeine, it disrupts sleep, causes insomnia, the person does not notice that the body needs to rest.

The main effect of caffeine is stimulation of the nervous system and brain. This forces the body to use reserves, but does not replenish them. Therefore, after the end of the action of the alkaloid, fatigue becomes stronger. This leads to the development of excessive nervousness, tremors of the limbs, causeless anxiety and sweating. Headaches and irritability may appear.

Give up caffeine

If a person is used to caffeine, then it will be difficult to abruptly give it up. But it does not cause such cravings as narcotic substances. The first day a person will feel discomfort, irritability, headache. There is nausea, nervousness, muscle tension.

Symptoms last for a week, then the body is rebuilt and gets used to it. It is better to give up caffeine gradually. You need to reduce the portion every day. This will help avoid side effects.

How to safely quit caffeine

One of the properties of caffeine is that it is addictive and difficult to quit. Therefore, it is better to replace it gradually. Within a week, you need to partially replace cola or coffee with still water. Then reduce addiction by half and switch to decaffeinated drinks. At a minimum, you need to reduce it to 100 mg / day. Gradual withdrawal of caffeine will help reduce nervousness and make it easier to bear it on a psychological level.

Benefit for health

If caffeine is used correctly and in the recommended dosages, it can bring significant benefits to the body. For some diseases, it is even prescribed for young children, and a couple of cups of freshly brewed coffee is an excellent replenishment of fiber deficiency. It stimulates sexual desire, prevents melanoma, retinal damage and tooth decay.

Caffeine is of particular importance in the field of sports. It makes bodybuilders 20% more stamina. To do this, they need to use a dose of alkaloid at the rate of 3 mg / 1 kg of weight 30 minutes before training. If you drink a couple of cups of coffee after intense physical exertion, it helps to eliminate muscle pain.

The main effect of caffeine is aimed at stimulating the central nervous system and the brain. Therefore, he easily copes with migraine, helps to recover from fainting, enhances concentration. Caffeine is an excellent remedy for hypotension, it affects blood pressure, increasing it. Other positive health effects:

  1. Reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and liver pathologies.
  2. To prevent migraines, you need to drink 2 tablets daily for a week. Then the dosage is reduced to one, which is taken for a month.
  3. Reduces muscle spasms and the risk of vascular disease.
  4. For the prevention of type II diabetes, it is recommended to drink one cup of coffee a day.
  5. Improves the functioning of the bronchi.
  6. Caffeine strengthens DNA, maintains its integrity and prevents damage, which helps to preserve complete information at the genetic level.
  7. Prevents the formation of cholesterol plaques.
  8. Swedish researchers found that caffeine reduces the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. To do this, you need to drink 3-4 cups of coffee daily.
  9. Reduces cravings for sweets.
  10. This is an excellent tool for the prevention of cancer of the colon and liver. The risk of cancer is reduced by 29%.
  11. Black tea, which contains natural pure caffeine, is good for colds, has a slight analgesic effect.
  12. Increases the effectiveness of painkillers.

To prevent depression or get rid of it, it is enough to drink one more coffee a day. Then the risk of developing such a condition is reduced by 20%. Korean doctors claim that drinking 3 cups of coffee a day significantly reduces the risk of heart disease.

The effect of caffeine on the body is varied and is of great benefit if it is not abused. In case of an overdose, the alkaloid can cause serious health problems, exceeding the maximum daily amount (700 mg) – even death. But one cup a day (in the absence of contraindications) can give the necessary energy boost and prevent some diseases.