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Caffeine Conundrum

Irene Tussy

Caffeine is an ubiquitous drug, commonly found in drinks such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks, that increases the activity of our brains and central nervous systems. We all know that grabbing a cup of coffee and getting our fix of caffeine helps us face our early morning classes, but what else is caffeine doing to our bodily functioning? While most of us are already well aware of the fact that caffeine counteracts tiredness (through inhibiting adenosine) and can improve concentration, research reveals that caffeine has conflicting long-term health impacts. So, let’s discuss the juxtaposing effects of ingesting caffeine.

Studies conducted throughout the past decade have revealed that caffeine has a plethora of benefits. These benefits include protective effects against liver cancer, reduced risks of death and suicide, boosts in long-term memory, increases in cortisol and adrenaline levels, and protection against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. However, other studies show that consuming over 400 mg of caffeine per day may result in undesirable effects such as increased heartbeat, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, sleeping problems, and tremors. Furthermore, a recent meta-analysis offers evidence that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day may increase the risk of heart attacks in men.

Consuming caffeine seems to be inevitable as we can find it in almost anything we drink, and even in foods we eat. While caffeine can be quite beneficial after pulling an all-nighter, it is important to keep track of how much you ingest before you negate its benefits and find yourself facing its drawbacks. So, next time you head to Dunkin’ Donuts, order a small coffee instead of a large–save some money and enjoy your dose of caffeine!

-Irene Tussy, Writer

Sources: Medical News Today and Better Health Channel

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