How Coffee Could Save Your Life

by Don Rev - Date: 2010-07-23 - Word Count: 489 Share This!

It is common knowledge that caffeine helps alleviate tiredness and helps us to stay alert but studies have shown that it also has a notable effect when taken by fully alert subjects. This has been demonstrated at high doses and also in more normal doses which you get when you have a coffee.

This has been extended into a study of late night drivers. The subjects consumed 200mg of caffeinated coffee and drove 200km during early morning or early evening. This was shown to greatly decrease the fatigue that is normally associated with driving at such hours.

The ability of caffeine to help in performing tasks requiring prolonged attention is due to an increased amount of data from stimuli being processed by the brain. This effect in fact has also been shown to have long term benefits as well. In later years cognitive decline can be an issue; however, several tests have been carried out on groups of older generations to map their cognitive decline against caffeine intakes. Only one report found a definite correlation with men, where it did reduce decline, though interestingly, others indicated a much greater effect in women where it made significant reductions in cognitive decline.

There are of course always two sides to an argument and there are many reports of negative effects of coffee and caffeine in the diet. Several commonly reported side effects include sleep disruption, anxiety and addiction. Many of the factors that affect these depend heavily on the amounts of caffeine ingested and each individual's personal sensitivity to caffeine.

Sleep disruption is a common complaint as a side effect of coffee. However, most regular coffee drinkers, who consume caffeine on a daily basis, quickly develop a tolerance (typically within a week) and while it has been shown that consuming a large amount of caffeine late in the evening can interrupt sleep, it is only likely to take an effect in everyday life if the subject is an irregular consumer.

Anxiety from caffeine consumption tends to happen at very high doses of caffeine, generally over a gram, and at this point people will start to experience symptoms. This is more likely to occur in those who drink coffee infrequently and in highly sensitive people.

Addictions to coffee are fairly commonly reported, but this is a somewhat questionable condition since caffeine doesn't interact with the same part of the brain which other typically addictive substances do. The removal of caffeine from the body will, however, cause slight withdrawal symptoms in habitual users due to an increased sensitivity to adenosine. These symptoms can last up to around 5 days and are typically known as a crash.

The conclusion is that while many people are aware of possible dangers of coffee and caffeine in our lives, when taken in sensible amounts it has few or no disadvantages and can help concentration in the short and long term. So next time you're on a long drive; it might just save your life.

Related Tags: coffee, instant coffee, decaffeinated coffee, rich roast coffee, smooth roast coffee

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