Caffeine

Sources of Caffeine
Caffeine has been consumed by humans for hundreds of years and is currently one of the most widely used psychoactive substances in the world. Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in the leaves, seeds, or fruits of more than 60 plants. These include coffee and cocoa beans, kola nuts, and tea leaves which are used to make many beverages such as coffee, tea, cola drinks, and foods such as chocolate. Caffeine can also be added to foods, beverages, and medications as a flavor enhancer or to enhance effectiveness.

• Sources of caffeine…

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[wptabtitle] Effects of Caffeine[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

One of caffeine’s most significant pharmacological properties is as a central nervous system stimulant. It is known to increase heartbeat, respiration, basal metabolic rate, and stimulates gastric acid production. It can also increase plasma glucose, free fatty acid concentrations, and is a recognized diuretic thus increasing urine output. Caffeine is completely absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract reaching peak blood concentrations 30-60 minutes after consumption. At this time, physiological effects can be sensed and an individual feels less fatigued, possibly more capable of rapid and sustained intellectual effort. However, studies have also shown that caffeine decreases reaction time to both visual and auditory stimuli, it does not significantly alter numerical reasoning or short-term memory, and it can diminish performance of manual tasks that involve delicate muscular coordination and accurate timing.

Caffeine’s half-life averages 4 to 6 hours. However, it is decreased in smokers and increased in patients of chronic liver disease and during pregnancy. The half-life of caffeine in a pregnant woman can be as high as 18 hours during the second and third trimesters. Moreover, caffeine is readily transferred across the placenta.

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[wptabtitle]Addiction to Caffeine[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

There has been evidence suggesting that caffeine is addictive. This is further supported by the reference to a “caffeine dependence syndrome” in the appropriate literature, similar to substance dependence syndromes for other drugs. Studies have shown that subjects can experience symptoms of intoxication, withdrawal, and dependence on caffeine. Abrupt abstinence after a period of sustained use may result in withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, drowsiness, irritability, nervousness, depression, and nausea.

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