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Top 10 FACTS About Caffeine You Need To Know!

Caffeine is so abundant in our lives that we often forget to ask about what effects it really has. This amazing substance is found in over 60 plant species around the world! When we talk about coffee, we’re usually talking about roasted and soaked C.arabica beans. Green tea is also very high in caffeine.

Our list of ten facts about caffeine is great for anybody looking to start taking a Caffeine + L-Theanine supplement or wanting to learn more about this widely consumed substance. Let’s not waste any more time, though – here’s your list of the top 10 facts about caffeine:

caffeine, chemical structure on black background

1.    Caffeine has a very Long Half-Life

Caffeine has a half-life of around 6 hours in your body. This means that, after 6 hours, the concentration of caffeine in your blood will be around half the original concentration.[1]

For a healthy person, if you have a cup of coffee at midday, you’ll still have around 25% of the caffeine in your bloodstream by midnight.  This is important and may account for your difficulty falling asleep.

In fact, even if you have coffee in the morning, your sleep will still be affected in the evening – it takes longer to fall asleep and your REM sleep is reduced even up to 16 hours later.[2]

 

2.    Caffeine headaches are a thing

On the one hand, caffeine may temporarily help to reduce the symptoms of headaches and migraines.

During a headache, the blood vessels in your brain tend to enlarge. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it decreases the size of your blood vessels, helping to reduce pain from headaches.[3]

withdrawal from caffeine includes headaches Caffeine may help temorarily alleviate headaches

This is especially useful when you combine caffeine with common pain-reducing medication, increasing the medication’s effects by up to 40%.[4]

On the other hand, coming off long-term caffeine use can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, including migraines and headaches.[5]

Caffeine withdrawal is actually a psychological disorder, in the psychologist’s DSM-5 manual. For somebody to be diagnosed with caffeine withdrawal, they need to report at least three of these five symptoms within 24 hours of not using caffeine[6]:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue / drowsiness
  • Depressed mood / irritability
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Flu-like symptoms

 

3.    Caffeine Can Cause Anxiety

One of the biggest drawbacks of caffeine is the anxiety side-effect. Caffeine has been shown to increase activity in threat-response areas of your brain – directly increasing feelings of anxiety.[7]

spilt coffee beans Caffeine may cause temporary anxiety and a spike in blood pressure

Other studies have found that along with anxiety, high doses of caffeine can also cause psychotic and manic symptoms![8]

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad, though. Scientists have also found that moderate caffeine use is associated with fewer symptoms of depression, fewer cognitive failures and a lower risk of suicide.[9]

It seems that we’ll need to take the good with the bad when it comes to these facts about caffeine.

 

4.    Caffeine Is Addictive

Yes, it’s true. In fact, a number of studies have shown that caffeine use is not only psychologically addictive but can also cause physical addiction and withdrawal symptoms.[10]

 

5.    Caffeine Makes You Pee

man peeing on the street If you don't have a tolerance, caffeine acts as a diuretic

One of the best-known facts about caffeine is that it can make you pee. This has been confirmed by scientists around the world, who concluded that a ‘large’ dose of caffeine (250-300 mg) causes a short-term increase in urinary output (it makes you pee).

However, these effects only seem to apply to people who haven’t used caffeine over the past few days. As you start to consume caffeine regularly, your body builds up a very strong tolerance to the diuretic effects of caffeine.[11]

250 – 300 mg of caffeine is the caffeine content found in 1-2 cups of coffee, depending on the strength of the grind.[12]

 

 

6.    Caffeine and L-Theanine go great together

Top facts about caffeine Liftmode's Caffeine + L-Theanine

One of the most underrated facts about caffeine is that the combination of caffeine with L-Theanine may help to reduce caffeine’s side effects. This is still being researched, but it seems that a lower dose of caffeine combined with a strong dose of L-Theanine may help reduce jitteriness and mental anxiousness.[13]

Taking caffeine with L-Theanine is also great for improving cognitive performance and mental energy and the two substances have a good synergistic relationship. [14]

 

7.    Caffeine’s history is shrouded in myth

Both tea and coffee have been used in many cultures for hundreds of years and each culture has its own myths and legends about their history. However, researchers do know that coffee use started becoming more widespread in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, mostly in Arabia.[15]

evening sunset in African bush An evening in Ethiopia, one of the first places where coffee was consumed

One of the most interesting myths about the origins of coffee comes from Ethiopia, which was previously considered to be a part of Arabia.

According to the legend, a goatherd called Kaldi once found his goats in a very jovial state. He saw that the goats were eating some berries and decided to try them himself – resulting in some very exciting and energizing effects!

He found a monk and they tried cooking the beans in a pot but ended up with the most bitter drink they’d ever had. They threw the rest of the beans in the fire and smelt a delicious aroma. The next day, they tried roasting the beans first and hence coffee was born![16]

 

8.    Caffeine affects your blood pressure

Another of the most important facts about caffeine is that it affects your blood pressure. Caffeine use can temporarily increase your blood pressure, making it possibly unsafe for people with high blood pressure.[17]

However, as you start using caffeine more regularly, these effects seem to dissipate, as your body builds up a strong tolerance.[18]

 

9.    Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive compound on Earth

coffee beans roasted Roasted coffee beans - the second most valuable commodity on Earth

The global coffee production industry employs approximately 25 million people in 50 different countries, and it is the world’s second most valuable legally traded good – second only to petroleum. The largest producers of coffee are Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Mexico.[19]

According to a recent study published in the New Scientist, around 90% of Americans consume coffee regularly.[20]

Finland is the world’s most caffeinated country, where the average adult consumes around 400 mg of caffeine every day![21]

 

10.  Sugar changes the chemical structure of caffeine

sugar cubes being dropped into coffee Sugar affects the chemical structure of caffeine

Recently, researchers published data showing that when you combine sugar with coffee or tea, it actually changes the chemical structure of caffeine. This has to be one of the least known facts about caffeine and could have some far-reaching consequences.

The scientists found that sugar caused a significant decrease in ‘dimerization’ of caffeine compounds. The scientists proposed that sugar binds to caffeine, preventing other caffeine compounds from binding together (dimerization). This could be significant in taste and may also cause different effects in your body – more research will tell![22]

 

Top facts about Caffeine: Conclusion

In summary, we’ve looked into the top ten facts about caffeine that everybody should know. Caffeine is a long-lasting substance with a number of potential side effects. It is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance on Earth, with up to 90% of Americans using caffeine regularly. Caffeine use can be addictive and lead to physical withdrawal symptoms. One of the best facts about caffeine is that it goes really well with L-Theanine.

References:

[1] Serum caffeine half-lives. Healthy subjects vs. patients having alcoholic hepatic disease, Statland BE, Demas TJ, Am J Clin Pathol. 1980 Mar;73(3):390-3.

[2] Caffeine intake (200 mg) in the morning affects human sleep and EEG power spectra at night, HP Landolt et al., Brain Res. 1995 Mar 27;675(1-2):67-74.

[3] The effect of daily caffeine use on cerebral blood flow: How much caffeine can we tolerate?, MA Addicott et al., Hum Brain Mapp. 2009 Oct;30(10):3102-14.

[4] Does Caffeine Treat or Trigger Headaches?, Headaches.org, 2009, retrieved on 15 November 2016

[5] A critical review of caffeine withdrawal: empirical validation of symptoms and signs, incidence, severity, and associated features, Juliano LM, Griffiths RR, Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004 Oct;176(1):1-29. Epub 2004 Sep 21.

[6] A Coffee Withdrawal Diagnosis, S Reddy, Wall Street Journal, June 2010, available online, retrieved on November 15, 2016

[7] Storm in a coffee cup: caffeine modifies brain activation to social signals of threat, JE Smith et al., Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2012 Oct;7(7):831-40.

[8] Caffeine-induced psychiatric manifestations: a review, HR Wang et al., Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2015 Jul;30(4):179-82.

[9] Caffeine, mental health, and psychiatric disorders, DR Lara, J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S239-48. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1378.

[10] Caffeine dependence: fact or fiction?, EC Strain and RR Griffiths, J R Soc Med. 1995 Aug; 88(8): 437–440.

[11] Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review, Maughan RJ, Griffin J, J Hum Nutr Diet. 2003 Dec;16(6):411-20.

[12] Caffeine content of specialty coffees, RR McCuster et al., J Anal Toxicol. 2003 Oct;27(7):520-2.

[13] L-Theanine and Caffeine in Combination Affect Human Cognition as Evidenced by Oscillatory alpha-Band Activity and Attention Task Performance, SP Kelly et al., J. Nutr. August 2008, vol. 138 no. 8 1572S-1577S

[14] The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood, GN Owen et al., Nutr Neurosci. 2008 Aug;11(4):193-8

[15] Notes on the history of caffeine use, BB Fredholm, Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2011;(200):1-9

[16] The Origin of Coffee: Kaldi and the Dancing Goats, B Lokker, Coffee Crossroads, published on 6 February 2013, retrieved on November 15, 2016

[17] Coffee, caffeine and blood pressure: a critical review, ML Nurminem et al., Eur J Clin Nutr. 1999 Nov;53(11):831-9.

[18] Effects of caffeine on blood pressure, MG Myers, Arch Intern Med. 1988 May;148(5):1189-93.known nine supplement or wantingtrieved on November beans, we' most world, but it most commonly known nine supplement or wanting

[19] Coffee in the Global Economy, Coffee FAW, GlobalExchange.org, retrieved on November 15, 2016

[20] Coffee: The Demon Drink?, R Lovett, New Scientist Magazine, September 2005, retrieved on November 15, 2016

[21] Coffee addiction: Do people consume too much caffeine?, J Kelly, BBC News Magazine, May 2013, retrieved on November 15, 2016

[22] Caffeine dimerization: effects of sugar, salts, and water structure, S Shimizu, Food Funct., 2015,6, 3228-3235, First published online 29 Jul 2015