Caffeine: booster or buster?

Many people need that morning cup of coffee or a jolt of caffeine in the afternoon to help them get through the day. Worldwide, Caffeine is so widely available in products ranging from tea, coffee and various energy drinks. It is enjoyed for a number of reasons:

  •  popular caffeinated products such as latte and chocolate taste great.
  • Students sometimes use caffeine tablets to power through long nights at the study table.
  • Shift workers also use caffeinated products to help adjust their minds and bodies to odd work hours.
  • Some people use caffeinated energy drinks to improve their endurance while playing sports or to dance for long periods.

While these are good reasons, caffeine is also a drug which stimulates the central nervous system. It affects the body in many ways. Many teens who consume large quantities, suffer sleep deprivation. Other side effects are insomnia, nervousness, increased anxiety, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, depression, headache, and tachycardia (i.e., rapid heart rate). Tremors — the involuntary shaking of muscles in the body especially of the hands are easily noticed.   At higher doses, caffeine can cause arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and sudden cardiac death.

The recent death of a South Carolina teen, reportedly of a caffeine overdose, after consuming a large Mountain Dew, a latte, and an energy drink, is both tragic and avoidable.


Mixing Caffeine with other substances increases danger levels…

People sometimes mix caffeine with other substances to experience different feelings or to offset the effects. For instance, a person may use a sleeping pill to help them relax and rest after using caffeine. But combining substances is risky as they can act in unexpected ways. This is not advisable as they create life threatening results. Things to avoid after consuming caffeinated products are alcoholic beverages, other stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine and prescription or over-the-counter medications.


Is there a right dose?

It is difficult to intoxicate yourself to life-threatening levels, but doctors still recommend consuming caffeine in moderation. This means about 200 to 300 milligrams daily, or roughly three to four cups of coffee. Consuming caffeine in amounts greater than 500 or 600 mg daily could result in caffeine intoxication and create several unpleasant side effects. In the right doses, it can help people maximize their work rate. Bearing in mind that it has addictive qualities, can it be avoided totally? Is caffeine a necessary evil in today’s world?

SEVICS supports health for for all youths



Further reading on Caffeine:

Thrive Global

Livestrong Blog

Michael Ukwuma

Michael Ukwuma

Michael is a Project Manager with years of experience in nonprofits and managing startups. He shares what he has learnt over time with like-minded persons. He gives classes to persons who plan a future in the nonprofits sector or as entrepreneurs.

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