Warning; excessive caffeine consumption is affecting your body negatively!
Things like the jitters and insomnia are pretty commonly known when talking about excessive caffeine consumption, but there are some other side effects that you might be less familiar with.
The way caffeine works is by blocking adenosine. If you haven’t heard of adenosine, don’t worry. The only thing you have to know about it is that it’s the chemical that tells your body when it’s tired and it needs rest. By blocking it, caffeine gives you that familiar burst of energy for up to a couple of hours after drinking it. However, blocking adenosine long-term is not good. It can lead to some pretty bad side effects.
Five ways caffeine is negatively affecting you:
- Emotional fatigue. Part of the problem with blocking adenosine is that if you block it too much and your body doesn’t get told to shut down, that leads to physical fatigue. But it’s also a lot to deal with mentally if your body doesn’t have enough down time to rest and recover. When that happens, you’re in emotional fatigue territory.
- PMS. This one is for the women, obviously. Women who consume a lot of caffeine, either by drinking a lot of coffee or eating a lot of chocolate, will find their pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms are more acute than women who don’t consume a lot of caffeine. PMS-related headaches, bloating and cramping all feel worse when too much caffeine has been consumed.
- Dehydration. Not everybody associates caffeine with dehydration because we largely get it from coffee, which is a liquid. But caffeine also has diuretic properties and it’s because of those that it leads to dehydration.
- Addiction. Just because it’s legal and we often see advertisements encouraging us to drink coffee, we tend to forget that caffeine is addictive. It might not be as dangerous as a lot of other stuff you could be addicted to but it still is addictive. Once your body gets used to getting that daily dose of caffeine, you could become irritable, tired and can show signs of depression if you don’t get it.
- Panic attacks. By blocking adenosine, caffeine triggers our body’s natural fight-or-flight instincts. But too much coffee renders that fight-or-flight instinct into mere panic attacks, causing shaky hands, sweaty and clammy skin and the unshakable feeling that bad things are bound to happen to you.
Enough of the negative, though. Coffee and caffeine aren’t all bad. There are also some very positive side effects to it.
Five ways caffeine is positively affecting you:
- Stamina. Consuming caffeine prior to working out or doing some other physical activity will ward off muscle fatigue, meaning you’ll be able to go faster for longer.
- Diabetes. Yes, caffeine can help out if you have diabetes. It triggers the production of adrenaline and cortisol and when released into the body, they cause the liver to burn up more sugar. This only works, though, in caffeinated beverages and foods that are not sweetened. (Makes sense, right?)
- Heart disease. Caffeine can help prevent heart disease because of its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known to help to prevent heart ailments along with some forms of cancer.
- Parkinson’s disease. In studies, Caffeine has been linked to the prevention of Parkinson’s Disease. It keeps the dopamine in the body active and dopamine is the chemical that activate the brain’s pleasure centers.
- Alertness. I’ve saved the most obvious one for last. We all know that when you need a little extra boost (Monday mornings, anyone?) you can rely on caffeine to give you at least a couple of hours of alertness. And it can keep you fairly alert throughout the day.
So there you have it. Moderation, moderation, moderation. Just like most things in life, caffeine can be helpful and even healthy. But enjoy it in moderation or else it can turn on you!