by Boston Gregg

A recent study by New Scientist magazine showed that 90% of North American adults consume some form of caffeine on a daily basis.

Caffeine affects our day-to-day lives more than one might think. It’s important to understand what it is and the potential influences it can have on your health.

It is a central nervous system stimulant found naturally in the beans, leaves, and fruits of over 60 known plants, including the beans/leaves that go into making your daily coffee or tea.

Moderate consumption of caffeine can benefit alertness and reduce fatigue, while withdrawal, misuse, and/or abuse could potentially result in chronic headaches, nervousness, increased anxiety, fatigue, etc.

“Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.”

The Good: (Health Benefits)

  • For many coffee lovers, caffeine is the very lifeblood that keeps their engine running. A morning coffee or tea will cure early morning fatigue and grogginess.
  • Stimulates brain function and promotes mental alertness.
  • Medicine containing caffeine speeds up the absorption and effectiveness of the other active ingredients.
  • Dietary supplements containing it have positive effects on weight lose results when paired with proper diet and exercise.
  • Over the counter (OTC) medicines, pills, energy drinks, etc.
  • Moderate consumption of it has largely positive effects on behavior and mood.

The Bad: (Side Effects & Withdrawal)

  • Withdrawal can have negative impacts on behavior and mood.
  • May negatively interact with other medications, allergies, and some common conditions.
  • Consuming it too close to bedtime can throw off one’s sleep cycle.

Below is a list of some factors to consider before consuming or beginning medicine containing the stimulant.

Avoid if you suffer from any of the following:
  • Allergies to caffeine, medicines, foods, or other substances.
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Heart disease
  • Liver or stomach ulcers
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • High blood pressure

The Ugly: (Misuse & Abuse)

Misuse/abuse can lead to overdose and, in some cases, death.
  • Mildly addictive psychoactive drug and should be treated as such.
  • The recommended amount for healthy adults is 400 mg.
  • If you are taking medicine containing it, be mindful of caffeinated food, beverages, and other medicines.
  • Take medicine as prescribed by your doctor.
  • If you are taking over the counter (OTC) medicines containing the stimulant, follow the instructions.
  • Should never be used as a substitute for sleep.
  • The misuse/abuse OTC medicines can also cause Rebound Headaches.
  • Overdoses are often easily treatable.
Treating overdose:
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat foods high in potassium or magnesium.
  • See your doctor if symptoms worsen.
Symptoms of Overdose:
  • Dizziness
  • Increased thirst
  • Diarrhea

Click here for more information:

  1. Caffeine. (2012, February 26).
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Caffeine – How much is too much? (2014, April 14).
  3. Watson, Stephanie. Caffeine and a healthy diet may improve memory, thinking skills; alcohol’s effect uncertain. (2015, October 29).
  4. Smith, A. (2002). Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 40, pages 1243-1255.

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