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Caffeine Fact Sheet

May 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Caffeine

Caffeine Fact Sheet

Caffeine Fact Sheet: What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a stimulant that comes from the leaves, beans or nuts of different plants. It is a drug that speeds up the brain and nervous system.

Caffeine Fact Sheet: Where does caffeine come from?

Caffeine occurs naturally in more than 60 plants including coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts used to flavor soft drink colas, and cacao pods used to make chocolate products. Man-made caffeine is sometimes added to foods, drinks, and medicines.

Caffeine Fact Sheet: Who uses caffeine?

Ninety percent of people in the world use caffeine in one form or another. In the United States, 80 percent of adults consume caffeine every day. The average adult has an intake of 200 mg per day (2 cups of coffee or four sodas).

Caffeine Fact Sheet: What are the immediate effects of caffeine?

Small amounts of caffeine (less than 600 mg per day) are not harmful. What caffeine does to you depends on a number of factors like how much you have, you’re body type, your general health, your mood, and how often you drink it.

The immediate effects include:

  • Wakefulness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased production of acid in your digestive system

Immediate effects of large amounts of caffeine can include:

  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Delirium
  • Insomnia

People who consume more than 1,000 mg of caffeine per day may develop a condition known as caffeinism. It is characterized by extreme anxiety, nervous twitches, and rapid breathing. Some people can even experience visual hallucinations.

In extreme cases, caffienism can lead to caffeine intoxication. Caffeine intoxication is a state of central nervous system stimulation due to high intake of caffeine. The nervous system becomes overworked. It can cause excessive neural activity and possibly seizures. Severe caffeine intoxication can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Caffeine Fact Sheet: What are the long-term effects of caffeine?

If you have more than 600 mg of caffeine a day for a long time you may…

  • have prolonged insomnia…
  • worry a lot …
  • be depressed …
  • have stomach upsets.

Caffeine can also exacerbate underlying heart problems or anxiety disorders.

Caffeine Fact Sheet: What is caffeine dependence and addiction?

When people use caffeine every day, their bodies get used to it, and they don’t get the “good effects” of feeling more awake and having increased concentration unless they use more of it. This is called “tolerance.” This is a sign of physical dependence, and it can occur with as little as 100 mg of caffeine a day. If caffeine use is stopped abruptly, withdrawal symptoms will result. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, muscle pain and stiffness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, depressed mood, and irritability. Withdrawals from caffeine abuse can occur within 12-24 hours of stopping and could last as long as nine days. The symptoms can be so pronounced that some experts believe that caffeine withdrawal should be classified as a psychological disorder.

When stopping caffeine use, it is always recommended that you cut back slowly over a period of days or weeks to avoid caffeine withdrawal.

Sources:

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/UCM205286.pdf

http://www0.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/drugandalcohol/caffeine.html

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