Caffeine Effects on Health

By Morgan Ostien

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  1. These days, life is a whirlwind, where our culture is always on the go. Or, there seems to be something in the air that is causing a widespread epidemic of a need for energizing. Coffee, energy drinks, dark chocolate, are just some of the ways people consume caffeine into their diet to cure tiredness, a need for energy, or a replacement for sleep. Researching a variety of sources on the topic of caffeine and its effect on the human body, a large amount of different facts, viewpoints, and personal stories rolled out in front of me that before, were hidden from sight within society. The effects of caffeine on young children’s health sparked my attention while researching. Just like any other drug, caffeine is one too, therefore acting as a stimulant inside the body. At a young age, stimulants like caffeine can have more serious effects on children than adults.
  2. Although the research of how caffeine affects children hasn’t been studied as much as how it affects adults, young children’s health is a crucial issue that should be kept track of very closely. I found from research that the amount of caffeine they consume can take a toll on their growth patterns. The intake of anything artificial or not necessarily right for their bodies at such a young age and crucial time can most likely mess with their biological growth processes. In addition, caffeine can have a major effect on a child’s behavior. A study was performed to understand the “caffeine effects on learning, performance, and anxiety in normal school-aged children”. The study’s results state, “there was indication that caffeine enhanced performance on a test of attention and on a motor task. Children also reported feeling less ‘sluggish’ but somewhat more anxious” (Bernstein). This study of research indicates how caffeine can provide an opportunity for children to also be more energized and more awakened from it. Even though this study presents data on the behavior of children after consuming caffeine, it does not quite highlight the effects of what it’s doing inside their body. In the an article titled “Kids and caffeine may be a dangerous combination, new study suggests”, Jessica Lieb says “With the rising popularity of caffeinated drinks, children are getting less of the fluids they should be consuming: milk and water’, Lieb said. ‘These caffeinated beverages are lacking in nutrients and a lot of them have added sugar,’ she added. ‘Some of the coffee drinks blow soda out of the water with the amount of sugar added to them.’” (Today Health 2). For kids to add caffeine to their diet seems to be a secretive danger to their health. Since one’s childhood is a period of important growth including physical, mental, and emotional growth, adding extra sugars and stimulants can inhibit the crucial and necessary growth their bodies need.

  3. Providing positive and negative effects on our bodies, caffeine is a unique drug in today’s society. Surprisingly, caffeine has been proven to reduce certain diseases and promote a healthier life. From the website, Medical Daily, David Elmenhorst says “‘There is substantial evidence that caffeine is protective against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease... Several investigations show that moderate coffee consumption of three to five cups per day at midlife is linked to a reduced risk of dementia in late life’” (Medical Daily). Illustrating a pro to caffeine in one’s diet, this research suggests caffeine does not always carry along negative effects. Implementing an adequate amount of caffeine into one’s diet relays benefits to his or her long run health. To effectively understand how caffeine affects the human body, research studies are performed to observe first-hand the effects from participants. A study done at John Hopkins University performed an experiment on participants to see if caffeine really affected memory. Latarsha Gatlin writes in the article called “Caffeine has positive effect on memory” about the study saying “Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins, and his team of scientists found that caffeine has a positive effect on our long-term memory. Their research shows that caffeine enhances certain memories at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed” (Gatlin).
  4. Johns Hopkins Researchers Find Caffeine Enhances Memory
  5. This research expresses quite confidently a benefit of adding caffeine to one’s diet. Since caffeine has the ability to sustain memory for longer periods of time, fitting this drug into one’s daily life might actually be quite beneficial. From the WebMD website “healthcare providers sometimes give caffeine intravenously (IV) for headache after epidural anesthesia, breathing problems in newborns, and to increase urine flow”. Being a stimulant drug, caffeine can boost the physiological aspects of one’s body. Although the word “drug” arouses negativity, since most people talk about drugs as in marijuana or cocaine, drugs like caffeine actually provide many benefits to our health.

  6. Protecting against diseases and long-term risk factors to boosting memory consolidation, caffeine invites a range of benefits to it’s users. However, like many other things in this world, caffeine can also bring along many negative responses from our bodies in the midst of all the good. Caffeine is a chemical substance used in drinks, pills, and other products. Rob M. Van Dam comments on one negative side effect of caffeine, “some people may have difficulty sleeping or experience tremors or stress with relatively low caffeine intakes…” (Medical News Today). Seeing this negative insight on what caffeine can do, the risks seem far more greater than the benefits. Our bodies are fragile machines, almost requiring pristine care and guidance to keep them running smoothly. Adding stimulants and unnatural substances that aren't meant to be put into our bodies, especially at high amounts, can really get in the way of our body's natural way of working. The article called “This is How Your Brain Becomes Addicted to Caffeine”, Joseph Stromberg mentions “In people who take advantage of this process on a daily basis [drinking soda, coffee, and energy drinks], the brain’s chemistry and physical characteristics actually change over time as a result” (Smithsonian). Although most caffeine users tend to be blinded by the many factors going on inside their body from the chemicals existing in caffeine, this research provides a look into what they should look out for, being more aware of how they use caffeine in their diet. The brain and natural components of the body can be dramatically damaged due to everyday caffeine use. This finding significantly highlights a defining effect of caffeine that should be more spoken about in society. Often, we forget that caffeine is also a drug, meaning that it is just as likely to become addicted to as, lets say, heroine. Integrating caffeine products such as coffee, soda, and energy drinks into one’s everyday life will eventually bring about the consequence of needing to depend on it to function properly. Along comes the attempt to quit or minimize the amount of caffeine one drinks, leading to withdrawal. Melissa Conrad Stoppler relays the results of a study performed through John Hopkins University. “Doctors at Johns Hopkins University confirmed that withdrawal symptoms can occur even when small amounts (corresponding to about one cup of coffee per day) of caffeine are consumed. In a review of 170 years of caffeine research, the Hopkins team examined 57 separate studies and found that the features of caffeine withdrawal can vary from mild mood changes to systemic, flu-like symptoms” (MedicineNet).

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