10/19/2008

Caffeine: The World's Most Consumed Drug

I'm sure there are many of you who can't function throughout the day without your daily dose of coffee, whether it's a single cup per day or hour. We seem to hear conflicting research results about the effects of coffee on our health: one day they say that coffee is good for you; the next day, it's bad. I'm just gonna touch a bit on what I've read up about caffeine, the active substance in that drink that so many of us are addicted to. A bit of insight couldn't hurt :)

A familiar friend...
What is caffeine?
  • Chemical name: 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine - 3 methyl groups on carbon 1,3 & 7 of a xanthine molecule bwahaha!
  • Simulates the central nervous system: affects behavior like alertness, anxiety, mental performance & sleep patterns.
  • Naturally occuring in tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate products & is added to soft drinks (another reason not to take that Coke?) plus certain prescription drugs. 
  • Standard caffeine content in these bevearages & drugs have been set (in an average cup of 150 ml): ground roasted coffee 85mg, instant coffee 60mg, decaf 3mg, leaf/bag tea 30mg, instant tea 20mg, cocoa/hot chocolate 4mg.

Coffee beans: magic beans?
Ingestion...
  • Caffeine absorption from the gastrointestinal tract is rapid: complete within 45 min after ingestion.
  • Caffeine content in the blood plasma reaches its peak 15-120 min after ingestion.
  • 80% of caffeine is demethlyated to paraxanthine
  • 16% converted to theobromine & theophylline in the liver.
  • Further demetylation & oxidation: forms urates & uracil derivatives.
  • In the urine: about a dozen caffeine metabolites but <3%>
The effects?
  • Caffeine antagonizes the effects of adenosine: caffeine competes with adenosine at cell surface A1 & A2a adenosine receptors, affecting the cell's usual response towards adenosine concentrations.
  • This deviations from normal response causes change in behavior.
  • The effects of caffeine varies from individual to individual as not everyone will have the same tolerance level towards caffeine. 

Think twice before reaching for that umpteenth cup of coffee!

Don't consume coffee if you have...
  • Bladder/kidney problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Menopause/PMS
  • High blood pressure/cholesterol
  • Liver disease
  • Prostate problems
  • Urinary tract irritations
  • Generalized anxiety/panic attacks

Conclusion
Again, I believe moderation is key. Too much caffeine can be bad, having some couldn't hurt. Reaching for decaffeinated coffee may be redundant as it does contain caffeine; drinking 10 cups of decaf is equivalent to 2 cups of normal coffee. This isn't a message to coffee addicts telling y'all to quit, but merely a simple blog entry about the substance many of us are so fond of/dependent on. Health is wealth, they say. So is knowledge :)

*Perhaps an article about decaffeination process is relevant. We'll see about that.
*Source: CoSIC

3 comments:

Farani Mustafa said...

huhu...

aiyok...

i consume more than 3 cups per day...

isk3...

rowan said...

Moderation, Rani. Hehehe life is short, we make the best out of it hoho :p

david said...

wuuuuuwuuuuu~~
I don't 1 to see this post.... T.T
I like drink coffee!!
no coffee, no life...
no life, no soul...
no soul, no power...
no power, no study...
no study, SLEEP
KENOT moderate,MUST as much as possible (addicted ady) >.<