Monday, November 26, 2012

How Does Coffee Work?

Each and every morning many people's first task of the day is to turn on their coffee makers and to make a good ol' cup of joe for their caffiene needs. Many claim that it helps them to face the day. But why is this so and how does coffee work to give this desired effect?

Coffee is a stimulant drink. The first to experience the "buzz" that you receive from coffee was a flock of goats. This incident occurred in Ethiopia. Coffee was consumed as a food until around A.D. 1000 when a hot drink was created from the beans of the coffee plant.

As you go throughout your day, you use energy, some scientists have found that there is a byproduct of the energy that we use, this byproduct builds up and causes us to become sleepy. It is thought that adenosine is this byproduct. Coffee makes us feel alert by its caffeine blocking the effects of adenosine on the brain.

So what exactly is this caffeine component in coffee? Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical stimulant called trimethylxanthine. It has an effect on the brain that causes increased neuron firing. This activity causes the pituitary gland to tell the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline. Some of adrenaline's effects on the body are as follows:
  • Dilated puplis
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Blood pressure increases
  • Liver releases sugar into the bloodstream for extra energy
Many people notice that after drinking coffee their hands are a bit colder, their muscles are tense, they feel excited and their heart is beating harder. These are the effects of caffeine causing the release of adrenaline into your system. This is also how coffee helps to make you feel more awake and alert. 

But like any chemical coffee and other caffeinated drinks should be used sparingly. It is possible to have withdrawal symptoms if you quit drinking coffee suddenly. These symptoms are headache, fatigue, and reduced concentration, mood effects such as depression, anxiety or irritability, and less commonly tremor, nausea or sleep disturbances. Not everyone will experience these symptoms as people metabolize caffeine differently. Most who experience withdrawal symptoms have them disappear after three days.

Coffee is both good and bad for you, there are some health benefits to coffee, but too much can cause an addiction resulting in highs and lows when coffee is not available.

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