Nov. 28, 2014

Caffeine crazy

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November 5, 2009

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We’ve all done it. Once and a while we decide to down caffeine like it’s nobody’s business in order to stay up for an all-nighter. But what are the effects of that Daily Grind or Mews coffee, and caffeine in general?

The good news is that caffeine has a lot of benefits. It reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, increases short term thinking skills, prevents colon cancer (caffeine stimulates activity within the colon, preventing cancer-causing agents from forming), prevents diabetes, reduces inflammation and can reduce the long lasting effects of headaches if mixed with ibuprofen or aspirin.

Unfortunately, there are also many negative side effects. For those with acid reflux, caffeine is possibly the worst chemical to ingest. It contributes to and promotes the churning of acid in the stomach, which can lead to indigestion and heart burn.

It can also cause skin irritation, arthritis problems (for those with pre-existing conditions), can be a leading cause to osteoporosis (caffeine extracts calcium from bone cells, making them weaker), and can increase cholesterol (and therefore cardiovascular disease) and anxiety.

In some studies, scientists have found that a combination of caffeine and alcohol can lead to an increased chance of infertility in women, and the appearance of stretch marks. Yuck.

In order to ward off some of these negative side effects, scientists believe in paper filters used to brew coffee trap terpenes, which raise cholesterol levels and contribute to other risk factors associated with caffeine.

And to retaliate against the caffeine Nazis, caffeine in moderation is perfectly fine (which is equivalent to three 8-ounce cups of coffee) — as long as that small loss of calcium (5mn for every cup) is replaced with the milk or cream.

What about those alcoholic energy drinks with caffeine, like Joose, Tilt, or Four Loko? Energy drinks alone increase the risk of blood clots. But these alcoholic energy drinks are like heart palpitations in a can.

Mixing the effects of energy drinks which contain caffeine and taurine (both ingredients raise blood pressure levels) with alcohol can cause extreme dehydration and increase the risk of seizures.

Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, causing the plasma volume in blood to drop, and as a result make the blood vessels work harder in the body (the blood becomes thicker). What’s worse is that sometimes the person can’t feel the effects of the alcohol because of the caffeine within the drink — and are unable to gage their personal alcohol limits.

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