Caffeine is good for these health benefits!

Bloggers, joggers, pregnant mom’s, PMS patients, etc etc love the topic of caffeine effects on our health. Caffeine drinkers get the cerebral cortex wake up with each cup as caffeine has some positive effects on attention, thought, language, and memory. Caffeine from all sources, not just chocolate coco, can provide antioxidant sources that are anti-aging, and anti-heart disease, liver disease, anti-Parkinsons, and anti-Alzheimer’s. Safe amount of caffeine we should consume is probably the first question I get asked when it comes up at health check up appointments.

The newest studies indicate that up to 5 cups a day are good, and all coffee drinkers have less chance of dying!

Coffee has many bioactive compounds, some of which are more beneficial and some of which are potentially harmful. A new study from Korea shos that daily coffee intake has beneficial kidney effects! Contradicting much advice we have been given.

The effects of caffeine cannot be sorted out without looking at how you are getting the caffeine: coffee, tea, herbal drinks, or coco.   The Institute of Medicine and the FDDA are looking into the levels of caffeine in drinks, especially those with the highest caffeine content. The amount of caffeine effect will always be affected by how much you normally consume, whether you are a child or an adolescent, or a senior,and whether you are pregnant. Women as a general rule seem to metabolize caffeine about 25% faster than men do.

Diabetes protection and weight reduction has been reported with using coffee in your diet. 

Although excessive coffee consumption can increase blood pressure and premature beats of your heart ventricle, it is also known to prevent heart disease by having protective effects against heart failure, coronary heart disease, and premature beats of the artial chambers of the heart!  And oddly, long term coffee consumption lowers blood pressure.

The hormones you are taking, such as the pill, may affect how quickly you metabolize your caffeine as well, with some study saying that the pill can slow caffeine metabolism and prolong the effects. Women don’t really get ‘addicted’ to caffeine, but it can be a powerful habit, especially if you are consuming a lot. The sometimes jittery feeling has more to do with excessive adrenal response, not the focused brain response, that actually can make someone feel more anxious than focused. The adrenal surge produced by caffeine can also continue to stimulate adrenal release into the night and block the physiologic adenosine release which normally restricts adrenaline release so you can get a good night sleep.So some consultation with your health care provider is sensible, as is moderation.

Oddly, or not so odd to big caffeine aficionados, one study shows that coco consumption in seniors may decrease risks of free radical damage in our body thus preventing premature again and even providing some cancer protection. But back to the question of today, should you reach for that second cup? Well, total dosage most gynos would recommend is about 100 mg per day. so a big mug of coffee might have already contained 120 mg of caffeine, unless you were drinking instant, which is typically less caffeinated! So, probably not. Perhaps tomorrow start with a 75 mg mug of tea, and maybe you will get a small second!

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Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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