Caffeine is rarely thought of as a dangerous addicting substance due to its widely common use and availability. It is, however, important to notice that the substance, found not only in coffee but also in tea, sodas and other foods, is highly addictive and can even be deadly in certain amounts.
Caffeine in its basic form looks like a white powder and has a very bitter taste. Before it was processed for recreational use, caffeine was originated in several sources: the coffee bean, cocoa, tea leaves, Kola nut, Guarana fruit and Yerba Mate. The substance was medically used to stimulate functional heart activities and central nerve system, as well as to induce urine and clear out the body.
These days, however, Caffeine is mainly used for enjoyment as well as energy boosting and alerting foods and drinks. Even though coffee is the one advertised as a caffeine drink, there are many other drinks who surely don’t miss it. You can find plenty of caffeine in tea, cocoa, sodas, energy drinks, not to mention chocolate. In an average shot of espresso you will find about 100mg of caffeine, in tea it varies between 15-110, depending on the kind, while a can of a soda drink or an energy drink will contain something between 10 to 90mg. Bear in mind that 50 grams of dark chocolate will contain about 40 mg of caffeine as well!
Yes, the amount of coffee you need to consume to make it deadly is very high and practically impossible (one would need to consume 100 cups of coffee (23 liters) in a very short period of time), it is still dangerous due to its addicting nature and withdrawal symptoms.
It was first discovered in a 1994 research that caffeine, much like cigarettes, alcohol or other recreational drugs, is an addicting substance!
Caffeine is absorbed in our bodies, where it stays for many hours afterward, through the bloodstream to the small intestine. Caffeine’s effects are visible even as soon as 15 minutes once consumed, and include increased adrenaline levels, regulated blood sugar levels and reduced sugar cravings due to the magnesium and potassium in the caffeine, improved mental alertness, memory, and focus (in standard quantities), lower risks of cancer, strokes, diabetes and deaths – according to multiple studies. Caffeine is also known to increase heart rate, improve breathing, and constrict blood vessels – which will lighten up a headache and can be very helpful with the pain.
On the other hand, caffeine has also very negative effects when not consumed moderately. It can reduce fine motor coordination, cause insomnia, headaches, nervousness and dizziness and even cause Insomnia. Plus, its addicting nature is also another factor to take into consideration. Similarly to drugs or alcohol rehab, when a regular coffee drinker doesn’t get his dose, the body starts showing withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, and irritation. It usually takes the body about three to nine days to get back to its normal behavior.
As with many other nerve stimulating drugs, the more we use it, the more resistant we become to its effects, positive on negative. This means we will need larger quantities to enjoy the same benefits, and that’s where the problem starts. In order to really enjoy and benefit from it, we ought to restrict the use to when we need it or truly desire it for that matter, and not as an essential part of our everyday life.