Sep 27, 2016

Your Brain on Caffeine

Your Brain on Caffeine

Im going to write about something that may be upsetting to some people.

I'm going to talk about the dangers of caffeine.

So, if caffeine and you are best friends and it's something you aren't ready to hear yet, I suggest walking away now because my husband quit cold turkey the day he learned all this 😁

Let me ask you something.....Why do you think caffeine is added into soda and other beverages in the first place?

What's the point of it?

The beverage companies SAY that caffeine is added to enhance flavor. But in a study a few years ago, 30 trained tasters sampled caffeinated and non-caffeinated cola beverages and ALL subjects failed to distinguish between caffeinated and non-caffeinated.

So that rules out flavor..

What's the point of ADDING caffeine to beverages then?

Its pretty simple-----if your hooked on it, companies make more MONEY.

And considering 90% of adults and 85% of children in the United States drink the equivalent of 7 soft drinks worth of caffeine each day, it not only makes companies alot of money, its no wonder caffeine dependence and withdrawal are now extremely common.


Caffeine is classified as a psychoactive stimulant drug. Yes, it's a literal DRUG.

The most widely accepted drug in America!

Caffeine Withdrawal and Caffeine Intoxication are even both recognized disorders listed in the DSM-5!

Again, because caffeine IS A DRUG.

Caffeine DEPENDENCE is listed in the ICD-10 (The International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization), however Caffeine Dependence is not yet listed in the DSM. The APA that publishes the DSM-5 agreed that there WAS sufficient evidence in order to create a diagnostic criteria of caffeine dependence, but they stated that the significance of this disorder is unclear. The DSM-5 instead lists "caffeine use disorder" in the emerging models section of the manual (which means it might be in the DSM-6)

According to DSM-5, for an overdose a person must ingest more than 250 mg (Although for some, this could be ALOT less).

To put that into perspective, a 16oz Starbucks Grande Coffee has 330mg of

So What Effects Does Caffeine Have On The Brain? Top 5 Reason Why You May Want To Rethink Caffeine

1. Caffeine Causes Insomnia

Caffeine blocks the essential neurotransmitter Adenosine. Adenosine is what helps us feel tired and sleepy. By blocking adenosine, we feel awake and focused and motivated! Hurray!

Accept there's a downside.

We NEED adenosine to sleep. Adenosine is our friend.

Caffeine decreases our ability to fall into stage 3 and 4 deep sleep where some of the most restorative sleep takes place. Its where our body repairs itself and makes new cells etc.


2. Caffeine Causes Anxiety, Can Induce Panic Attacks, and Exacerbate Mental Disorders.

Caffeine not only can lead to serotonin depletion, it also inhibits the calming neurotransmitter GABA. GABA is essential for feeling happy and relaxed and low amounts of GABA is associated with anxiety and panic attacks.

When wanting to do a study on panic attacks, scientists found it difficult considering panic attacks don't just happen on demand.

So they decided to give participants 480mg of caffeine and VOILà, 61% of participants had panic attacks!

This is because caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands and literally sends your body into a drug induced "fight or flight" state (also known as acute stress response). Your body becomes flooded with cortisol, pupils dilate, heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, blood flow to the stomach slows (digestion slows or stops), the liver releases sugar into the bloodstream for extra energy, and the immune system is suppressed etc.

Caffeine can literally over-stress your body out!! According to WebMD, stress can increase the risk of conditions like Obesity, Heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, Diabetes, Depression, Anxiety, Gastrointestinal problems, Headaches, Asthma, Premature death and Accelerated aging.

Bebrainfit states:
"..Caffeine can create symptoms of anxiety in a healthy person that are indistinguishable from those experienced by anxiety disorder sufferers.

Some psychiatrists recommend that routine psychiatric assessments should include examining caffeine consumption since removing caffeine can be more beneficial than adding an anti-anxiety drug.

Caffeine use has been linked to mental disorders of all kinds including anxiety, panic, depression, sleep, and eating.

Taking schizophrenic patients off caffeine improved their anxiety, irritability, and hostility."

I mean after all, look what caffeine did TO THE FREAKING SPIDER WEB (WTF?)
Your Brain on Caffeine

Before Caffeine/After Caffeine

Caffeine on the Brain


 Caffeine & Depression

3. Caffeine Can Interact With Your Medications

Unbeknownst to many people, caffeine may interact with your medications!

Antidepressants (Like Lexapro, or especially SSRI's like Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Celexa etc), some muscle relaxants, ADHD, Anti-anxiety, Sleeping pills, birth control, weight loss pills, breathing meds etc etc and many more!

Caffeine with these medications can cause significantly higher anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, insomnia, tremors, arrhythmias, and can either undermine the effectiveness of the medication or can even PREVENT caffeine from leaving your body, leading to caffeine toxicity.

A good example:
"When Zoloft and caffeine are ingested together, Zoloft reacts with caffeine levels in a patient's blood. It can affect and decrease the clearance of caffeine in body by something as high of 90%. It increases the half-life of caffeine in the body and creates a marked increase in the total serum caffeine content. This will finally result in “caffeine intoxication”. Therefore, even if the patient consumes caffeine on a regular basis, his chances of experiencing caffeine intoxication increases."

4. Caffeine Reduces Blood Flow To Your Brain and Robs Your Body of Essential Nutrients states:
"When you are anxious, blood flow to the brain is already reduced and caffeine can reduce it further.
Caffeine reduces blood flow to the brain by as much as 27%.
Blood flow is the delivery system for getting nutrients of all kinds to your brain including oxygen, glucose, vitamins, and minerals".

Including blood flow, caffeine can also rob your body of essential nutrients like:

Vitamin B, "the anti-stress vitamin"
"Water soluble vitamins, such as the B-vitamins, can be depleted as a result of the fluid loss (from caffeine). In addition, it interferes with the metabolism of some B-vitamins, such as thiamine (vitamin B1)"

Vitamin D
Caffeine limits the amount of vitamin D that your body absorbes and Vitamin D deficiency is hugely related to depression and sadness.

"Caffeine interferes with the body's absorption of iron, which is necessary for red blood cell production. Drinking caffeine at the same time as an iron source can reduce absorption by up to 80%"

"Caffeine also depletes magnesium, notes MIT. Magnesium is a crucial mineral that works with calcium and vitamin D to facilitate the muscle contraction-relaxation response and aid in energy production; it also plays a key role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body."

" Caffeine causes calcium to be excreted in the urine and feces. For every 150 mg of caffeine ingested, about the amount in one cup of coffee, 5 mg of calcium is lost. This effect occurs even hours after the consumption of caffeine. One study of postmenopausal women found that those who consumed more than 300 mg of caffeine lost more bone in the spine than women who consumed less.

Caffeine also inhibits the amount of calcium that is absorbed through the intestinal tract and depletes the amount retained by the bones. Studies have shown that women with high caffeine intake suffer more hip fractures than those who avoid caffeine or drink in moderation (1 to 2 cups per day)."

Yes, caffeine dehydrates you!! Dehydration can cause to a million problems. Don't get my started on dry skin and wrinkles....

***Cautionary note, If you're pregnant it can take you twice as long to process caffeine, which means you'll get double the side effects.

If your looking to GET pregnant, " A controversial study released in 1998 by the National Institute for Environmental and Health Sciences claimed that women who consumed at least one cup of coffee per day were half as likely to become pregnant than women who did not drink coffee. The study also concluded that women who drank coffee while pregnant were 17% more likely to have their newborn die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. A study in New Zealand discredited the connection between low doses of caffeine and SIDS, but it did conclude that consuming 400mg of caffeine every day while pregnant may increase this risk due to the baby’s sudden withdrawal of caffeine after being born, leading to respiratory distress."

5. Caffeine Causes Tolerance AND Withdrawal

- "Many studies have suggested that, just as with any drug addiction, the brain strives to return to its normal function while under "attack" from caffeine by up-regulating, or creating more adenosine receptors. But regular caffeine use has also been shown to decrease receptors for norepinephrine, a hormone akin to adrenaline, along with serotonin, a mood enhancer.

A 1995 study suggests that humans become tolerant to their daily dose of caffeine—whether a single soda or a serious espresso habit—somewhere between a week and 12 days. And that tolerance is pretty strong. One test of regular caffeine pill use had some participants getting an astronomical 900 milligrams per day, others placebos—found that the two groups were nearly identical in mood, energy, and alertness after 18 days. The folks taking the equivalent of nine stiff coffee pours every day weren't really feeling it anymore. They would feel it, though, when they stopped."

- "It’s believed that some 3 out of 4 regular caffeine users are actually addicted to the substance." -Healthsearchfunding

- "Consuming as little as 200mg of caffeine every day can lead to addiction and altered chemistry in the brain. Another 100mg per day can lead to increased anxiety, panic disorders, muscle twitching, irregular heartbeat, flushed skin, depression, and even slurred speech." - Healthsearchfunding

- Over time, the brain adds more adenosine receptors to compensate for the caffeine, which causes a “tolerance” to build up to the caffeine molecule.
When a person misses or decides to quit their usual caffeine dosage, the brain is then flooded with adenosine and dopamine levels drop drastically causing the brain’s chemistry to be out of balance.

I used to be an avid coffee drinker. I love coffee, it's delicious. I *thought* I experienced zero side effects. I *thought* it made me feel great. I figured it was harmless. If it wasn't harmless, most Americans wouldn't be drinking it, right?

I was forced to stop drinking caffeine because it caused one of my medications to stop working. I wasn't too happy about it but I didn't want to waste money on a medication that my coffee drinking was rendering useless. So I grudgingly stopped.

And to be honest, after a few months I was extremely surprised by what happened.

My daily headaches stopped. My anxiety lessened DRAMATICALLY. My energy increased. My mental clarity increased. And I was able to lose more weight!

Since removing caffeine from daily life many years ago, I have since tried drinking half of a couple caffeinated soda's. You know, cuz half a soda is no biggie right? I didn't really feel anything right after drinking it, so I shrugged it off and didn't think about it.

Later that night I was having immense anxiety. It felt like something was wrong. Did my husband relapse? Did I do something wrong? Were my kids in danger? I felt hopeless and panicked -------- I call this the "DOOM feeling". It was scary. I couldn't figure out why I felt so dang AWFUL.

And then I remembered...DUH...

I had half a caffeinated soda.

I few months later I tried having half a soda again a skeptic. And the soda just looked so good!!! Ha sometimes it takes me a few times to believe. But the same thing happened.

I forgot I drank it. --> Few hours later had the DOOM feeling. -->Couldn't figure out what was wrong. --> And then DUH, I remembered the soda.

So goodbye caffeine.


To read about my husbands experience and how quitting caffeine had helped him stay sober go HERE

Other Articles:

Andrew Pippanne from Rowboat and marbles explains why he stopped drinking Coke Zero.