- Published on Thursday, 06 February 2014 13:12
I used to drink three liters of Diet Pepsi a day. Disgusting. I know. I was completely addicted to caffeine and it took it's toll in the form of headaches, shaky hands, and mood swings.
I now drink three cups of coffee a day (save fashion week when I virtually have an IV drip of Starbucks), but I more or less am committed to a caffeine-lite lifestyle. Why? The data proves it all. High amounts of caffeine intake has some pretty scary side effects.
We spoke to Dr. Bryce Wylde author of the national best seller, The Antioxidant Prescription: How to Use the Power of Antioxidants to Prevent Disease and Stay Healthy for Life, Associate Medical Director at P3 Health, and friend to Dr. Oz to find out the facts on what really goes on when you're full of caffeine.
According to the multitude of studies he cites , here are five things you may not know your body could be battling while on caffeine:
Restricting caffeine and sugar in people with depression has been reported to elevate mood in preliminary research. Caffeine affects our reward centers by influencing the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dr. Oz and I covered that not too long ago on his show. Caffeine increases dopamine levels in the same way as heroin and crack. Its effect is much weaker of course, but the mechanism is the same. Researchers suspect that this dopamine connection is what contributes to caffeine addiction.
Gastritis is a broad term for inflammation of the lining of the stomach. This condition can be caused by many factors and, in some cases, may lead to an ulcer. Caffeine found in coffee, black and green tea, some soft drinks, chocolate, cocoa, and many medications increases stomach acid, though decaffeinated coffee does, as well.
Caffeine consumption equivalent to more than two cups of coffee per day has been linked to fallopian tubal disease and endometriosis, both of which can cause female infertility. As little as one to one and a half cups of coffee per day appears to delay conception in women trying to get pregnant. Some studies have reported that one cup of coffee per day cut fertility in half, although others report that it takes two or three cups to have detrimental effects. While not every study has found that caffeine reduces female fertility, most doctors of natural medicine recommend that women trying to get pregnant avoid caffeine.
People with osteoporosis have brittle bones, which increases the risk of bone fracture, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist. Caffeine has been linked to hip fractures in a large study following American women for six years. Caffeine increases urinary loss of calcium. Many nutritionally oriented doctors recommend decreasing caffeine intake from caffeinated coffee, black tea, and cola drinks as a way to improve bone mass.
5. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Many pre-menopausal women suffer from symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Among a group of college students in the United States, consumption of caffeine-containing beverages was associated with increases in both the prevalence and severity of PMS. Moreover, the more caffeine women consumed, the more likely they were to suffer from PMS. Therefore, many nutritionally oriented doctors recommend that women with PMS avoid sources of caffeine.
Scary, right? There are, however, some benefits, according to Dr. Wylde, if you use caffeine in moderation.You do get some hydration from it that counts towards your daily water consumption. It doesn't impede vitamin absorption per se, but can speed up "transit time" thereby rushing your vitamins through your system.
Coffee, in particular, has been linked to an increasing number of potential health benefits, including protection against liver and colon cancer, type-2 diabetes, and even Parkinson's disease.
So where do you draw the line? According to Dr. Wylde's pal Dr Oz, for most people, moderate doses of caffeine (200-300mg, which is equivalent to a little bit over a tall cup at Starbucks) are not harmful.