Caffeine is the most widely used substance on the planet. Love it or hate it, it’s the drug of choice of millions of people around the world who are in love with everything about coffee: from its taste to its aroma, its lifestyle, luxury and of course it’s kick.
We stumbled across two articles from The Caffeine Informer that stimulated our interest on the pros and cons of caffeine. “Caffeine is a drug and can affect people differently just like any other substance. It’s important that consumers understand how caffeine interacts with their bodies in regards to their personal health histories. The food and beverage industry spends millions, if not billions, of dollars world-wide to fund studies and promote caffeinated products as safe or even healthy. Fortunately, caffeine is one of the most researched substances on the planet and there does exist some unbiased data in which to glean some reliable information from. While much of the research published does allude to the safety and even potential benefits of caffeine (in moderation), there are a handful of research studies that highlight the potential harmful effects of caffeine. The risks of suffering from any of the harmful effects of caffeine are diminished by being aware of how much is personally being consumed daily. It is also important to be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions that may contribute to caffeine’s negative effects.”
17 Possible Caffeine Health Risks
Caffeine may cause insomnia. Caffeine in a person’s system at bedtime can mimic the symptoms of insomnia.
Caffeine consumption can lead to increased anxiety, depression and the need for anxiety medication.
Caffeine can cause indigestion. People who consume caffeinated beverages often report an upset stomach or indigestion. This mainly occurs when the beverages are consumed on an empty stomach.
Caffeine can cause headaches. While occasional doses of caffeine can relieve headache symptoms, the overuse of caffeine can cause headaches and lead to migraines.
Caffeine Allergies. Some people have over-sensitivity to the caffeine molecule, which causes allergic-like reactions in the body such as hives and pain. Although not a true allergy, many report very negative symptoms after consuming even the smallest amounts.
Caffeine increases the amount of sugary beverages consumed by people, which contributes to obesity and diabetes.
Caffeine could reduce fertility in women. A study from The University of Nevada School of Medicine showed that caffeine can reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant by about 27%.
Caffeine may not be healthy for type 2 diabetics. A study conducted by the American Diabetes Association showed that caffeine impaired glucose metabolism in those with type 2 diabetes.
Caffeine causes more forceful heart contractions. A recent study showed that immediately after energy drink consumption the heart produced more forceful contractions. It is unclear if this has any long-term health implications except for those with known health conditions.
Worse Menopause Symptoms. A recent study published in The Journal of The North American Menopause Society showed that menopausal women who consumed caffeine had a greater degree of vasomotor symptoms.
More than 4 cups of coffee are linked to early death. A Mayo Clinic partnered study found that men who drank more than four 8 fl.oz cups of coffee had a 21% increase in all-cause mortality. However, those that reported that they consumed excessive amounts of caffeine were also likely to smoke and have poor fitness. Dr. Nancy Snyderman from NBC said there were a few discrepancies with the study, but stresses that moderation is still key.
Caffeine consumption may raise blood pressure. Especially in those already suffering from hypertension and those who don’t normally consume caffeine. People with hypertension were given 250 mg of caffeine (about 2 coffees) and the data revealed that their blood pressure was elevated for about 2-3 hours after the caffeine. A second study performed by The Mayo Clinic found similar results from a 160 mg dose. All participants experienced a marked rise in blood pressure and it was the most pronounced in those that didn’t normally consume caffeine.
Caffeine linked to gout attacks. This study showed that people who binge on caffeinated beverages increase their risk for a gout flare-up.
Caffeine could cause incontinence. A study out of the University of Alabama showed that women who consume a lot of caffeine are 70% more likely to develop incontinence.
Caffeine Overdose. While overdose is rare, it can lead to many adverse symptoms including death, especially in those with underlying medical conditions. Some have a lower tolerance for caffeine than others.
Caffeine inhibits collagen production in skin. This effect is dose dependent but really heavy caffeine consumers should be aware.
Caffeine interferes with ossification and could also lead to greater risk of bone fractures. This is dose dependent, but heavy caffeine consumers should take note.
19 Possible Caffeine Health Benefits
In Japan, researchers have shown that caffeine increases memory. Also, a newer study out of Johns Hopkins University showed that a 200mg caffeine pill helped boost memory consolidation.
Caffeine mixed with carbs replenishes muscle glycogen concentrations faster after exercise.
Caffeine detoxes the liver and cleanses the colon when taken as a caffeine enema.
Caffeine helps to keep you alert while driving during periods of sleep restriction.
Here’s the research
Caffeine can stimulate hair growth on balding men and women.
Caffeine relieves post work-out muscle pain by up to 48%.
Caffeine helps ward off Alzheimer’s.
Caffeine increases stamina during exercise.
Caffeine protects against eyelid spasm.
Caffeine may protect against Cataracts.
Caffeine may prevent skin cancer. A new study out of Rutgers University found that caffeine prevented skin cancer in hairless mice. Another study showed that caffeinated coffee drinkers have less risk of developing melanoma.
People who consume caffeine have a lower risk of suicide.
Caffeine may reduce fatty liver in those with non-alcohol related fatty liver disease. This study comes out of Duke University.
Caffeine consuming men showed increased semen volume and significantly less sperm DNA fragmentation than non-caffeine consuming men.
Men who consume 250-375mg of caffeine per day have a much lower risk of developing ED (erectile dysfunction). Reduced risk was even observed among men consuming as little as 85mg of caffeine daily. This research was conducted by The University of Texas Medical School.
Caffeine may prevent ringing in the ears (tinnitus) in women: A study recently published in The American Journal of Medicine followed a group of 65,085 nurses since 1991. The women who consumed the most caffeine had the lowest incidences of tinnitus reported.
Caffeine Reduces Kidney Stone Risk. In a large 217,883 person study, those that consumed caffeine from any source had less kidney stone formation than those that did not consume caffeine. The researchers believe that this is because caffeine makes urine more dilute.
Caffeine improves reaction time and logical reasoning during times when sleep isn’t possible or restricted.
Caffeine helps those with asthma. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine concluded that caffeine seems to open airways and help asthmatics breathe easier similarly to theophylline a drug currently used and one that’s a close cousin to caffeine.
Disclaimer: The information on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.
What’s your verdict?
Kirsty, Monique’s sister, joined red espresso® in 2008 after years of graphic design and art direction on glossy magazines. In addition to being an incredible design talent who has had a fundamental impact on our brand’s look and feel, she has also championed our e-Commerce and Customer Service departments alongside Monique. This has made her a very familiar face to our many customers who have come to know and enjoy their time with her over the years! Kirsty also teaches yoga and volunteers part-time at the Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary in Paarl.