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Life-Coaching, Lifestyle, Naturopathy, Newsletter, wellbeing

Breaking the Caffeine Addiction

So many people are dependent on their cup of coffee or two to get up and feel alive in the morning. What’s the danger of this and how can you break the cycle?  

The effects of coffee can be quite a controversial topic. We’ve probably all heard of its many pros and cons. Depending very much on who you ask, it’s either a super healthy or terribly harmful.

It just so happens that coffee addicts typically promote what they see as the benefits. They’ll typically spruik that it’s high in essential nutrients, such as B vitamins and essential minerals. Especially, extremely high in antioxidants. Hence they claim it reduces the risk of many diseases. Yet, if we’re eating a good diet, it’s likely we can actually get more antioxidants from fruit and vegetables than from a cup of coffee.

We need to remember that coffee contains caffeine and this is a stimulant that can cause many health problems. As a simple example, for some it can disrupt sleep, causing a myriad of other problems.

Mixed Messages

Caffeine is a stimulant that’s said can enhance brain function and boost metabolism. Actually, it’s said that caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. As well as coffee, many other drinks also contain caffeine such as tea, various energy drinks and chocolate. However coffee is the main source, containing around 60 to 100 mg each cuppa.

Numerous studies show that caffeine blocks the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain called adenosine. By blocking adenosine, it actually increases activity in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. This makes us feel more alert reduces tiredness for a short-term. Hence it also temporally helps to elevate mood, reduce reaction time, vigilance and general cognitive function. Also caffeine can increase exercise performance and boost metabolism. However, many of these benefits are likely to be only short-term and we can often come crushing down afterwards.

What Science?

Promotors of caffeine say that it may help protect your brain in old age, leading to reduced risk of the likes of alzheimer’s and parkinson’s disease. They even say that it can help the liver, diabetes, and the like. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that many of the studies are just observational, and it cannot be proven that coffee causes beneficial effects.

In the US, caffeine holds the unusual distinction of being regulated as a food additive, drug, and dietary supplement. Energy drinks are regulated as dietary supplements, which changes the need to disclosure caffeine content on the product label. Consumers of energy drinks that contain caffeine, should consider monitoring their caffeine intake. The caffeine content may not always appear on the product label. So it’s suggested to do some research on product websites, etc.

Caffeine use in cola-type beverages are allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration as a flavoring agent in a 0.02% concentration which is equivalent to 71 mg per 355-mL (12-oz) beverage. Caffeine is also an ingredient in both various prescription and nonprescription medicines. The average adult typically consumes about 168 mg of caffeine a day, mostly from coffee. Consumption of greater than 250-300 mg of caffeine per day can cause many adverse effects such as sleep disturbances and tachycardia.

Excessive caffeine consumption can be troublesome especially for people with certain medical conditions such as heart or liver disease. There’s specific genetic polymorphisms and drug interactions may also affect individual response to caffeine.

Caffeine is almost completely metabolized in the liver by the cytochrome P450 (CYP1A2) pathway. This enzyme accounts for the metabolism of caffeine to its principal metabolite, paraxanthine. Those with impaired metabolism could have adverse effects from caffeine.

Consider that after sleeping through the night the bodily tissues are dehydrated and as we awake we need clean, pure water to filter out toxins and improve energy production in the cells. However, so many people turn to coffee as a stimulant in the morning to give them a jump start. Unfortunately, coffee is a diuretic that further depletes your body of water reserves and essential minerals and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium & magnesium.

The Negatives of Caffeine

However, there are also many downsides to caffeine. These are what the promotors of coffee don’t tell you. Despite, what’s often spruiked, caffeine can be very harsh on the liver. The liver is very sensitive to modern-day insults like excess alcohol, sugar and caffeine. For many, caffeine can cause anxiety and disrupt sleep. The negative aspects to caffeine depends much on the individual.

We all know that consuming too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and may even exacerbate panic attacks. If you are sensitive to caffeine and tend to become overstimulated, then perhaps you shouldn’t be drinking coffee.

Another unwanted side effect is that it can disrupt sleep. If caffeine affects the quality of your sleep, then avoid drinking coffee late in the day. Maybe, best don’t drink coffee after 2pm.

Caffeine is also a diuretic. Hence it can cause problems such as increased blood pressure. Although we may adapt to this, it can also negatively affect many other systems.

Another main problem with caffeine is that it’s so addictive. It’s so addictive that missing just a few cups can lead to withdrawal symptoms. More-so, if you drink coffee every day, then you will build a tolerance to it and the effects will seem less powerful.

The issue with caffeine, is that when it’s consumed regularly, we become tolerant to it. It either stops working as effectively as it did Then, so often people crave a larger dose just to get the same buzz!

We all know, when people abstain from caffeine, we get withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness, brain fog and irritability. This typically can last for a few days. This tolerance and withdrawal are the hallmarks of caffeine addiction.

It’s not a good idea being dependent on a chemical substance in order to function properly. We often forget that caffeine is an addictive drug. So many people are drug dependent.

Caffeine is an addictive substance.

In an attempt to abstain from caffeine, some people instead opt for decaffeinated coffee. However, the downside is that the way decaffeinated coffee is usually made, is by rinsing the coffee beans with solvent chemicals. It’s important to keep in mind that even decaffeinated coffee does still contain some caffeine, just that it’s much less than regular coffee.

The other problem often with coffee is that so many people add unhealthy things to it. This includes the likes of milk, sugar and all sorts of sugar-laden biscuits or cakes. Also keep in mind that some coffees from some cafes can contain lots of sugar.

There’s often an emotional attachment to the coffee. It’s used as a way of feeling comfort. It’s like a friend we can rely on to pick us up. This is what makes it so difficult for many to give up.

Many people would benefit from either limiting or totally refraining from their coffee consumption. Especially those with anxiety issues, high blood pressure, pin in the liver area or insomnia might also want to try limiting coffee for a while to see if it helps. There is also some evidence that people who metabolize caffeine slowly have an increased risk of heart attacks from drinking coffee

The Bottom Line

The question is if the benefits of caffeine consumption outweigh the negatives. Remember the bottom line is that caffeine is a drug. It’s most probably worthwhile remembering that essentially, caffeine is a pesticide. It seems that the plants make caffeine to protect them from bugs. Caffeine acts as a pesticide, protecting the plant from predators.

People only feel energized by coffee due to the stimulating effects of caffeine on the adrenal glands. Coffee stimulates these organs to pump out instant energy hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine.
These hormones stimulate the body to breakdown stored sugar and release it into the bloodstream.
This process causes abnormal blood sugar that increases oxidative stress, free radical formation and overall tissue damage.

This is called dirty energy because it produces a rampant amount of damage to the body in order to activate energy formation. Clean energy produces cellular energy without an excessive load of oxidative stress.

For more information, with alternatives/options to coffee, including how to detox from caffeine become a member at: www.BlissUniversity.com

About Ron Bass

Ron Bass Holistic Naturopath - Counsellor - Life Coach - Remedial Therapist - specialising in Stress, Pain & Fatigue Management

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