What Does Science Say About Caffeine Consumption?

Caffeine consumption divides opinions in two. However, scientific studies have shown that in most healthy adults, caffeine consumption has positive effects when ingested in moderation.
What does science say about caffeine consumption?

What does science say about caffeine consumption? First, there is much public and scientific interest in the harmful health effects of caffeinated beverages.

However, the studies are not entirely convincing in this regard. Indeed, only one causal relationship related to caffeine consumption is currently known, which has been associated with negative consequences during pregnancy and lactation.

What science says about caffeine consumption, especially based on epidemiological studies, is that this substance has a positive effect in reducing the risks of numerous chronic diseases.

At the same time, in order to understand its effects on health, it is first necessary to know where this active substance comes from.

Where does Caffeine Come from?

Caffeine is the most consumed stimulant in the world. Its main sources are:

  • Cola nuts ( Cola acumina te).
  • Cocoa beans ( Theobroma cacao ).
  • Yerba-mate ( Ilex paraguariensis ), which is mostly consumed in some South American countries.
  • Guarana berries ( Paullinia cupana ).
  • Roasted coffee beans ( Arabica and Robusta ) and tea leaves ( Camellia sinensis ), which are its main sources all over the world.

In addition to the sources mentioned above, caffeine is found in some painkillers, carbonated soft drinks and energy drinks, and some dietary supplements.

The caffeine content varies greatly between beverages that contain it, but coffee is the beverage with the highest caffeine content, about 100 mg per cup (225 ml). Second comes mate, which averages about 78 mg per cup, followed by black tea at about 55 mg per cup.

What does science say about caffeine consumption?
Coffee has the highest caffeine content. It is followed by mate and black tea.

Caffeine absorption

After ingestion, caffeine is rapidly and completely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract (with a bioavailability of 100%) and then metabolised in the liver, thus forming 3 important metabolites:

  • 3,7 – dimethylxanthine
  • 1,7 – dimethylxanthine
  • 1,3 – dimethyloxanthine

But what does science say about caffeine consumption when it is already absorbed by the body? This compound has many physiological effects throughout the body. Below we will explain them in more detail.

Physiological mechanisms of caffeine

First, caffeine acts as an antagonist of brain adenosine receptors because of its adenosine-like molecular structure and ability to capture its receptors, primarily A1 receptors located in the hippocampus, and A2 receptors in areas of the brain rich in dopamine.

By blocking the binding of adenosine to nerve cells (which induces sleep), it stimulates central nervous system (CNS) function. In general, low consumption of this substance (20-200 mg per day) produces positive effects on well-being, alertness and energy.

However, higher doses can trigger nervousness and anxiety, especially in people who are not accustomed to consuming high-caffeinated beverages.

Caffeine consumption and Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease occurs due to a gradual decrease in dopaminergic neurons in the black nucleus of the brain.

Thus, caffeine – because it improves the performance of the dopaminergic system – together with its antagonistic effect on adenosine receptors, stimulates the release of dopamine, thereby reducing the impairment of motor functions in the body.

Studies show that caffeine stimulates the release of dopamine, thereby reducing the loss of motor function in the body.
Caffeine consumption stimulates dopamine production, which in turn is a mediator involved in Parkinson’s disease.

Caffeine consumption for obesity and diabetes

What science says about caffeine consumption and its effect on weight loss is very interesting. In this area, caffeine has been shown to have an effect on metabolic rate, energy consumption, and thermogenic effects  – in this sense, especially on lipids.

If caffeine is ingested at about 300 mg per day, it prevents the AMP phosphodiesterase cycle from increasing cyclic AMP. In addition, caffeine consumption has been found to increase norepinephrine release by antagonizing adenosine receptors;  these in turn are effects that induce weight loss by increasing the body’s lipolytic activity.

In addition, numerous studies suggest an inverse relationship between coffee-derived caffeine consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: individuals who consumed at least 6 cups of coffee a day had a 35 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. At the same time, people who drank 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day had a 28 percent reduction in their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Effect of caffeine on mineral absorption

When we consume caffeinated beverages along with food, caffeine makes it difficult to absorb some important minerals such as iron and calcium.

Some cohort studies have reported that high doses of caffeine increase urinary calcium excretion and thereby also increase the risk of skeletal abnormalities. For this reason, caffeine consumption should be reduced to the following levels, for example:

  • 4 cups of black coffee a day OR
  • 3 cups of cappuccino a day OR
  • 6 cups of milk coffee a day

Note: In addition, these recommendations should be accompanied by adequate calcium intake.

Caffeine during pregnancy and lactation

The reason why caffeine is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation is because it has the ability to cross the placenta and promote fetal metabolism.

High doses of caffeine obtained during pregnancy have been associated with congenital abnormalities, miscarriages, low birth weight in the newborn, and changes in neonatal behavior.

In the same way, caffeine passes directly into breast milk, causing irritability and disturbances in the baby’s sleep. Therefore, the recommended maximum dose of caffeine during both pregnancy and lactation is less than 200 mg per day.

High doses of caffeine given during pregnancy have been linked to both complications during pregnancy and developmental disorders in the baby.
Excessive caffeine intake during pregnancy and lactation is harmful to the baby.

What science says about caffeine consumption and its effect on health

Today, we know quite well the effects of caffeine on the body. Because this substance is found in many of the most consumed beverages in the world, it is important that we are properly aware of the mechanisms of action of caffeine and the consequences it has for our bodies. In addition, it is good for us to know how much caffeine we can consume on a daily basis so that we can also avoid the potential disruption it causes and take full advantage of its benefits.

Most human studies suggest that moderate caffeine consumption (less than 400 mg per day) offers positive effects on both weight and neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases.

However, it is important to note that caffeine consumption is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation, and at the same time, it is beneficial for its consumption to control the diuretic, i.e., dehydrating, effects of caffeine.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button