Have you ever thought about the dangers of caffeine and what it means for your health? I’m quite the coffee and tea enthusiast so I know I’m consuming my fair share of caffeine on the daily. According to the FDA, I’m not alone. About 80% of Americans consume caffeine each day with the average consumption around 200 milligrams. While it might not seem like much, taking in that much caffeine per day could have some undesirable effects in the long term. If you’re curious about the dangers of caffeine as I am, keep reading for the details.
1. Mood Changes
One of the lesser known dangers of caffeine is that it can alter your mood. Once your body gets accustomed to having a certain amount of caffeine each day, your body will require a regular dose of it in order to prevent unpleasant withdrawals and changes in mood. This can result in changes such as anxiety, depression and irritability. Get this, according the UK news site Metro, teens who consume too much caffeine are considered to be at risk to be nervous adults.
2. Withdrawal Symptoms
If you have a caffeine addiction where your body is dependent upon it, you will notice symptoms of withdrawal such as headache, flu-like symptoms, fatigue and decreased motivation. Sometimes we might joke that we can’t function because we haven’t had our coffee yet. But the truth is, caffeine can make your central nervous system, which is responsible for sending and receiving information from all over your body, to get out of whack.
3. Aggravated PMS
Another lesser known caffeine side effect is that it can aggravate symptoms of PMS. Drinking caffeinated drinks during our periods can actually make us feel worse, notes a study done by Oregon State University. Researchers found that caffeine can increase the risk of PMS between two to seven times in those who consumed two or more cups a day. Caffeine can affect levels of adrenalin and cortisol (AKA the stress hormone), raise blood sugar levels and even increase breast tenderness!
If you consider yourself to have a caffeine addiction, you might’ve experienced one of the frequently experienced side effects of caffeine which is heartburn. According to the FDA, caffeine can stimulate the release of extra stomach acid which can lead to heartburn and increase the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
5. Upset Stomach
Have you ever had a cup of coffee or maybe a soda and got a stomach ache afterward? It’s not in your head, there is a connection between caffeine and upset stomachs. As we just learned that caffeine can cause heartburn, heartburn can then cause stomach upset. If you are sensitive to caffeine or have a caffeine allergy, drinking a caffeinated beverage can give you a stomach ache also. If you already have a stomach ache, stay away from caffeine until you feel better or it can make you feel worse.
6. Blocking Vitamin Absorption
Yet another caffeine side effect I wasn’t aware of is that caffeine can actually inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals. According to FitDay.com, caffeine inhibits the amount of calcium absorbed in our bodies as well as causing the vitamin to be excreted through urine and feces. Additionally, water-soluble B vitamins can be depleted from fluid loss and the absorption of vitamin D, zinc, copper and iron can be affected as well.
7. Sleep Disturbances
Lastly, but likely the most well-known dangers of caffeine is that it can cause disturbed sleep. We might not think it’s a big deal to lose an hour of sleep here or there, but Dr. Greg Belenky with The National Sleep Foundation urges that caffeine is no replacement for sleep. Although caffeine can help us temporarily feel more awake, sleep is vital to your health and well-being. There a number of health problems that can arise as a result of not getting proper sleep such as depression and mood changes.
Were you aware of all these dangers of caffeine? Caffeine remains one of the most controversial substances as many studies continue to report conflicting information about it. While these side effects of caffeine are serious, the key is to enjoy it in moderation. Remember that there are some foods as well as over-the-counter medications that contain caffeine so it’s important to keep track so you don’t overdo it!