Coffee addicts know just how important it is to get that first (and second, and third...) cup of coffee in the morning before getting started with the day. Having that cup helps you to not only wake up, but also feel like a normal, functioning human being. But how does it work? There is a scientific explanation for how coffee gives you energy and it all has to do with the chemicals in your brain.
Everyone's brain contains a chemical called adenosine that create feelings of sleepiness. When we drink significant quantities of coffee, the caffeine binds itself to adenosine receptors in the brain.
This prevents adenosine from producing feelings of tiredness by binding itself to those receptors. The more coffee we drink, the more adenosine receptors our brain creates. This is what leads coffee drinkers to crave larger amounts of the drink to stave off feelings of tiredness.
It's also the reason why trying to quit coffee means having to deal with feelings of extreme fatigue. All those extra adenosine receptors created by our coffee drinking take us to a new level of tiredness when caffeine is no longer present in the brain.
Drinking coffee creates energy by increasing our adrenaline. This means our heart rate goes up, blood pumps faster, and our airways are clearer. Caffeine also has an effect on the dopamine that is already present in our brains. It keeps the chemical that contributes to an overall good feeling from getting reabsorbed back into the body.
This means you feel energized and in a better mood when you drink coffee, but it also means that it can easily become an addiction. The effects on the brain from drinking coffee can last anywhere from 6 minutes to 6 hours, depending on your tolerance level and how much you drink.
Coffee addiction is at an all time high in the United States, with almost 70% of the population saying that they are addicted to caffeine. Coffee is not the only way Americans are getting their caffeine fix.
Energy drinks, sodas, coffee laced ice cream, candy, and chocolate are also providing consumers with a jolt of energy. Energy drinks in particular have risen steadily in popularity since 2005. But how does all this caffeine consumption affect our health?
There are actually many well documented benefits of drinking moderate amounts of coffee on a daily basis. Coffee consumption has been shown to boost memory and concentration in its drinkers, and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and liver cancer.
The beneficial effects of coffee are only enjoyed when moderate quantities - up to four cups a day - are consumed.
Too much caffeine, on the other hand, can contribute to high blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, and deterioration of the bones. The boost in blood pressure, as well as the strong reactions you have while under the influence of caffeine could contribute to heart disease as well.
Energy drinks and other supplements that allow a person to consume very high amounts of caffeine in a short period of time are especially dangerous. Caffeine abuse has become something that is quite widespread among young adults and teenagers in this country.
There has been an increase in hospitalizations due to caffeine abuse, where people who consumed too much experienced tremors, vomiting, chest pain, and heart palpitations.
The best thing to do is consume caffeine in moderation. Just one or two cups of coffee a day should give you a boost in energy and concentration, as well as provide you with all the health benefits. When you feel the need to increase your coffee intake, take a break from coffee to regain your equilibrium.