by ALIVIA HYLAND '21
Whether they drink coffee, Coke, or energy drinks, most students and adults find themselves consuming caffeine at some point within the day. While caffeine essentially triggers an attentive mind, it could also have some negative effects.
Alone, caffeine is viewed as a stimulant. This means that it makes us feel more alert and focused, which can also make the substance act as a drug. During the day, our brains produce a chemical called adenosine. This chemical stays in our brain all day, helping us to remain awake and keep a natural process of becoming tired.
According to Charmane Eastman’s study at Rush University, when caffeine is consumed, the substance breaks down this chemical and mimics it, so that caffeine can latch onto the receptors and block the “tired” feeling i get towards the end of the day. Ultimately this blocking of the “tired” sensation causes us to feel more alert.
In addition, caffeine impedes adenosine’s relaxing effects, which is what causes people to feel very alert when drinking coffee or energy drinks. Furthermore, caffeine often makes us irritable, all thanks to the different hormone changes due to all these chemicals going out of whack.
Alternatively, caffeine can also have positive effects on the brain. For example, some studies manifest that caffeine can produce a greater memory. Also, caffeine helps aid in medicine working faster. For example, if you have a headache and take Advil with some source of caffeine, it is proven that the medicine may last longer or work faster. Caffeine is also linked to a longer life span, because of the side effects of being more alert and awake. To illustrate, when driving, one may be less prone to accidents if they are more awake at the wheel. Some researchers have indicated that if you are a regular coffee drinker you have less risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
In conclusion, over time, studies regarding caffeine have proven that caffeine is safe to consume in moderation.