10 common side effects of caffeine
Most people love to start their day with a hot, refreshing cup of coffee. Coffee, as everyone knows, is a major source of caffeine in the lives of millions worldwide every day. While caffeine has its positives, one of which is helping people stay awake and refreshed for long hours, daily consumption can be problematic. Healthcare professionals generally discourage people from consuming excessive amounts of caffeine for a whole host of reasons.
Perhaps the most well-known benefit of caffeine is how it eases exhaustion. This is possible as caffeine inhibits the effectiveness of adenosine, a brain chemical that creates the sensation of exhaustion in individuals. Simultaneously, caffeine also causes the release of a hormone named adrenaline, which brings about increased energy and vigor in caffeine consumers. Unfortunately, when one consumes too much caffeine, these effects are magnified excessively and cause anxiety, rapid breathing, jitteriness, and stress.
If an individual consumes caffeine despite developing anxiety, their condition can go from bad to worse.
- Frequent urges to urinate
Consuming too much of any liquid can overwork the bladder and make one visit the restroom more often to urinate, and coffee is no different in that regard. However, caffeine contains chemicals that raise the risk of increased urination. It can stimulate the bladder excessively. In fact, this can cause one of the worst caffeine side effects in the long run: incontinence.
People mainly use caffeine to stay awake during work or study; however, as with the other side effects on this list, excessive caffeine intake can make it a tall task for people to get enough sleep in a day. Caffeine increases the amount of time one needs to fall asleep. Therefore, people with existing cases of insomnia need to avoid coffee or have as little of it as possible. Caffeine’s effects on a person’s sleep also take a long time to wear off. Research studies have found that caffeine can remain in a person’s system for about 9 hours.
Due to these reasons, one should be mindful of their caffeine consumption during the day. One can even keep a written or mental record of the number of times they drink coffee. Not doing so can wreak havoc on one’s sleep cycle.
- Digestive problems
Apart from using it as a refreshment, many people also drink coffee to get their bowels moving in the morning. This is because caffeine also has certain laxative-like effects when one consumes it. On consumption, caffeine releases a chemical known as gastrin in the stomach that accelerates colon pressure and activity and helps people move their bowels.
However, as expected, there is a downside to this. Consuming too much coffee can cause digestive issues in the short and long term. Caffeine increases the contractions in the digestive tract to move food faster toward the colon after digestion. This results in people having loose motions and diarrhea. This is why one should not rely too much on coffee to ease their bowels in the morning.
- Muscle breakdown
Another one of the major caffeine side effects is how it causes certain muscle issues. When one drinks a lot of coffee, the excessive caffeine in it can cause a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. In this health condition, the muscle fibers break down and enter the bloodstream, which can cause long-term issues such as kidney failure and clogged blood vessels in the long term. Healthcare professionals and dieticians advise people to consume less than 250 mg of caffeine daily to avoid this outcome.
- Increased blood pressure
Caffeine greatly stimulates the nervous system to keep one awake and active. However, on the downside, this influence can raise a person’s blood pressure over time if they continue to consume excessive amounts of caffeine throughout the day. If one continues to drink excessive amounts of coffee, tea, or other caffeine-heavy products, they will expose themselves to the possibility of heart attacks or strokes. The latter can be caused by caffeine-induced blockages in a person’s arteries that restrict blood flow to the brain.
That said, caffeine’s blood pressure-related side effect is temporary. However, one must not consume caffeine-based drinks during workout sessions, as that can raise blood pressure levels massively, especially for people who already have mildly elevated blood pressure. This is considered one of the biggest and most dangerous caffeine side effects compared to the other milder ones out there.
- Perpetual fatigue
Despite all its high-energy offerings, caffeine can, ironically, tire people if they consume it compulsively. Insomnia triggered by caffeine causes this fatigue. After all, if someone is up all night due to caffeine consumption, they will naturally not have the energy or resilience to keep going the next day.
- Faster heart rate
As with blood pressure, excessive caffeine consumption can cause the heart to pump faster. This causes the heart to work harder and be unnecessarily strained all the time. As a result of that, one can suffer cardiovascular problems if they consume large amounts of caffeine-based products in the long run.
- Worsened menstrual problems
Excessive coffee intake has been found to cause issues such as increased menstrual flow, cramping that does not go away in a short period of time, and delayed periods. To avoid this outcome, one needs to reduce their consumption of caffeine.
- Increased possibility of developing osteoporosis
Increased caffeine consumption has also been scientifically linked with the possibility of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones progressively weaken with time. This happens because caffeine interferes with calcium absorption, leaving the bones vulnerable to a deficiency of this essential mineral.