Is caffeine friend or foe?

Is caffeine friend or foe?



Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. And tea is not far behind coffee in terms of popularity, either. Many people rely on caffeinated beverages to start and finish the day powerfully. But when do we have to think if we cross the line and get too much caffeine?

Most of us enjoy caffeinated beverages because of their stimulant effects. There is also evidence that caffeine can help improve energy, cognition, and exercise performance. The positive effects of some caffeine sources such as coffee and tea on inflammation, cardiovascular disease, obesity, autoimmunity, fatty liver, neurological diseases and diabetes have also been studied over time. However, when we talk about the benefits of caffeine often, we are not always talking about its potential downsides.

How do you know if you’ve been drinking too much caffeine?

First of all, it is important to note that coffee can have a different threshold for how much everyone has for their own body. Each of us metabolizes caffeine differently. Some people metabolize fast, others slow. The general rule of thumb is that if you’re metabolizing slowly (those are 2 cups of coffee) you should stick to 200mg of caffeine, while if you’re metabolizing quickly (about 4 cups of coffee), you can evaluate your caffeine intake up to 400mg.

If you’re not counting your caffeine doses, here are a few side effects you might encounter if you miss the limit:

  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia or palpitations)
  • Excessive salt and water retention in the body

  • Digestive problems (such as frequent bowel movements, indigestion, acid reflux)

Also think about what you drank

Often times the above problems can be caused by energy drinks that may contain high levels of caffeine and other unhealthy substances. It’s also essential to consider the effects of other ingredients found in your favorite caffeinated beverage. While this is a delicious choice like caffè mocha, you should know that a medium drink can contain more than 35 grams of sugar.

So what are we doing?

I think the first thing to do is to look at the quality of the caffeine you drink and what else is in your drink. Next, you might consider having a genetic test to see if it’s a fast or slow metaboliser. This can help you understand your limits.

So one of the most important steps is to understand how much caffeine you need to consume and how long you need to take it in order to reap the benefits without negative consequences. For example, while opting for espresso, do you really need to drink three shots in an hour to concentrate on your big presentation at work? Probably the answer is no. In fact, if you take small doses of caffeine over a longer period of time, your performance on various tasks can improve. This is the concept of “caffeine microdosing,” and it can help you get the right amount for your body.

As a result

Everyone is different and everyone will have different set points as to how much caffeine they can tolerate and drink. However, you should be careful how much caffeine you consume to take care of your health. There are strategies that can help you reach your goals without going beyond the limits of your body.

References:

PMID: 30422505

Harvard Medical School. “Small Frequent Doses Of Caffeine Best Strategy For Staying Awake, According To New Study”. Şuradan alındı: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040512041022.htm (18.08.2020)

PMID: 29474816


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