Caffeine: Part 3 Are the moderate negative side effects of caffeine enough to warrant concern?

too much coffeeThe past couple of weeks we have spoken about how caffeine positively affects sporting performance. There is however some negative side effects which need to be discussed. Negative side effects of caffeine can be broken down into moderate and serious side effects. This week we will discuss some of the moderate negative effects, and next Tuesday some of the more serious side effects so keep an eye out for that one.

Firstly caffeine is a stimulant and it will elevate heart rate, increase blood flow, and raise body temperature. Caffeine enters the blood stream where the brain detects and stimulates the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This release in adrenalin will increase heart rate. The liver is then stimulated where glucose is released into the blood stream. As a result blood glucose levels go up and the pancreas then releases insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. This process triggers hypoglycaemia.

Caffeine is a diuretic which causes frequent urination and a reduction in water intake which can also cause a stomach upset. A stomach upset can also be due to the fact that caffeine contains around 208 acids.

While we may feel more alert and energised, caffeine intake can cause headaches. Small amounts of caffeine taken daily can create physical dependence on caffeine. For example if a regular coffee drinker fails to drink their daily dose of caffeine, they can end up with headaches. Withdrawal from caffeine can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending upon how much caffeine a person generally consumes.

All though there are negative side effects to caffeine most of the studies correlate the negative effects of caffeine with high caffeine intake, and with certain physical conditions or groups of people who tend to have more problems with caffeine. A small amount of caffeine intake by a completely healthy person may have minimal effect. People with certain conditions, or who consume large amounts of caffeine, may suffer more negative side effects.

So there are some minor negative effects of caffeine such as frequent urination and headaches; however a small amount from time to time will not be a major issue. A healthy person drinking caffeine occasionally will have a minimal effect on health. Next week we will discuss the more serious negative side effects of caffeine. So now you can hopefully make an informed decision as to wether to use it to help you improve your performance.

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