The Dark side of Caffeine Part 1

The Dark side of cup of Sunshine – Caffeine

To be caffeinated is not baseline consciousness but altered consciousness

Michael Pollan

Caffeine is the second most traded commodity on the planet after Oil

Nearly 90% adults ingest caffeine daily ; a widely used unregulated drug. A cup of caffeine promises wakefulness, alertness, creativity, uplifts mood and what not. Caffeine is a botanical success story, it has shaped the modern world at an astronomical cost .

The question that we need to answer to ourselves – Is it a cup of optimism or despair?

What is Caffeine?

Naturally occurring chemical found in Coffee, Decaf Coffee, Black/Green/White Tea, Cocoa beans, Chocolate, Colas and some medicinal herbs.

Scientific name 1,3,7 Trimethylxanthine ( in layman’s world – DRUG)

Why I came to write about sober and civilized beverage?

In the past, I had come across to plethora of conflicting views on caffeine. Why some researches claim health benefits of tea and coffee? Some even claim that it prevents cancer and other chronic diseases. On the other hand, caffeine is known to disturb sleep and natural healing ability of body. It’s also the cause of chronic illnesses

It’s an unfortunate reality in Health and Nutrition space. If you can’t convince others confuse them, at least people with vested interest can thrive in the world of confusion, stimulation and addiction. Hence I started to research and tie it to my own journey with caffeine.

Ever wondered what will be the impact on World’s Economy and Individuals if caffeine is taken away for 6 days? Caffeine is not a food supplement, so how did it become an integral part of diet? Without further ado, let’s get to the point

Is caffeine a psychoactive drug?

NASA conducted a research on spiders in 1980s. Spiders were exposed to different drugs including caffeine. The inability to construct logical web is shown in the image. Caffeine is a widely studied psychoactive drug. Many researches have proved it’s intoxicated effects on bees and humans too.

Neither nutrition nor calories, then how does it energize and harm?

Stimulates Nervous system

Every living being has its own rhythmic patterns like eat, drink, excrete, urine, secrete, sleep. The sleep-wake cycle is driven by circadian rhythm (approximately 24 hours). What causes sleep? A chemical called ‘Adenosine’, it builds up in the brain with every waking minute that elapses. The longer you are awake, the more it will accumulate. Very gradually it increases the desire to sleep. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system , it binds to Adenosine receptors. Hence blocks the sleep signals. It tricks us to be alert and awake.

Caffeine Metabolism

Caffeine gets absorbed in the bloodstream within half an hour of consumption. Hence we feel instantly alert and productive. The half life lasts for 5 to 7 hours, other half takes 10 to 18 hours to metabolize (for average human) .

For instance, a cup of coffee at 8 AM may get completely metabolized around mid night. Now imagine the cumulative impact of several cups of caffeine during the day.

Caffeine molecule in the bloodstream

Caffeine crash

Liver enzyme flushes caffeine from the bloodstream, just like any other toxin. As a result energy level goes down and restlessness kicks in. Hence the desire for caffeine increases, as we ingest another cup we feel alert.

Daily caffeine promises optimal solution for the problem it creates At first it creates a problem and then solves its own problem, thereby create one problem after another

Increases Blood sugar, Blood pressure, Soreness in stomach

Our body has natural ‘Fight or Flight’ response to any threat (real/ imaginary). That’s how we dealt with threats from predators and calamities. As caffeine stimulates Adrenal gland , fight or flight response gets triggered. As a result stored reserves of glucose gets released in the blood & heart rate goes up . This false alarm raises sugar level, thereby calls for higher insulin to combat the damage. It is an acidic compound , hence it stimulates stomach to produce more Hydrochloric Acid.

Imagine , our system is going through this stress every time we ingest caffeine. It eventually leads to high BP, weight gain, diabetes, poor digestive tract and depression.

Survey on Caffeine consumption

I have opened a survey in Jan’21. The idea is to highlight the gravity of problem, myths and tie the data with my research. Please take the survey and share

Why did nature create Caffeine? What went wrong? How to abstain ? Continued in Part 2&3

Assuming I have convinced you to quit caffeine , the next step is to know how we landed in this mess and how to abstain . In Part 2 &3I will share how I quit caffeine and how we all can become caffeine free.

16 thoughts on “The Dark side of Caffeine Part 1”

  1. Very well researched article. Coffee and tea have been consumed from many years. It’s harmful effects are coming to light last few years is because it has been causing havoc when coupled with increased stress and reduced physical exercise.

    1. Good to know why not to consume coffee and tea with well researched exercise. Excited for Part 2

  2. Pratibha Hooda

    very informative write up about caffeine. thank you so much for sharing, Vartika ji. looking forward to second part.

  3. Saikat Chaudhuri

    Never thought on these lines. Really an eye opener. Well researched article and a good job done.

  4. Thanks a lot for sharing this information with us Vartika!!
    I drink 3 cups in a day at times and now after reading this I am already looking forward for part -2 on “how to quote caffeine?” Or “if we have any natural substitutes available with us?”

  5. Pingback: The Dark side of Caffeine Part 2 - Creativity in Thrivabillity

  6. Thanks for this information. I was little aware of its harms but …was not aware the way you beautifully explained, the way it hampers our whole system and put us at risk for chronic diseases and much more. I am taking 2 cups of tea in a day which I will definitely reduce it and then abstain.

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