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Dangers of America's #1 Drug: Caffeine

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Dangers of America’s #1 Drug: Caffeine

What is a drug?
 According to the FDA, a drug is “any article [substance], other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.”
 Does caffeine match this definition? Absolutely!

A Nation on Drugs
 According to the Center for Science in the Pubic Interest (CSPI), 80-90% of Americans consume caffeine daily.
 So, it must be o.k., right?

Reasons for Drinking Caffeine:
The Truth Exposed

Caffeine Gives You Energy
 Wrong! Caffeine does not provide energy, only chemical stimulation of the nervous system.
 Perceived energy is the result of the body’s struggle to adapt to increased blood levels of stress hormones.
 Energy can only come from food. The value of which is measured in calories. Caffeine does not provide calories.

Caffeine Gives You a Lift
 Wrong! While the initial adrenal stimulation may provide an anti-fatigue “lift,” the ultimate mood effect is a letdown, often in the form of depression, anxiety, or panic attacks.

Caffeine Sharpens Your Mind
 Wrong again! While caffeine users may feel more alert, the experience is really one increased sensory and motor activity (dilated pupils, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure).
 The quality of thought and recall is improved no more than the quality of music is improved by playing it at a high volume or speed.

Some Effects of Caffeine on the Body:

What the heck are adenosine receptors?
 Biochemical control switches found throughout the brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system and respiratory system.
 In the brain, adenosine dampens or slows down neuron firing. Caffeine inactivates this mechanism, your neuron circuits keep firing and you feel alert.

Stress Hormones Galore
 Fight or Flight:
 Epinephrine (a.k.a. adrenaline)
 Norepinephrine
 Longer lasting:
 Cortisol (may remain in blood for up to 18 hours) interferes with production of melatonin

Major Health Effects of Caffeine:
STRESS: Over 1 million Americans miss work each day due to stress-related disorders such as:

 Anxiety
 Insomnia
 Depression
 Ulcers
 Rheumatoid arthritis
 Headache

 Hypoglycemia
 Asthma
 Herpes
 Hypertension
 Heart Disease

Depression and Fatigue
 “What goes up, must come down.”
 The cycle is perpetuated.
 Continual use prevents recovery.

Immunity and Aging
 Onset of autoimmune disease is preceded by a period of severe stress or depression.
 Adrenals are overworked leading to poor immune control.
 DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone), the vitality hormone is produced by the adrenals.

Lack of Sleep

So, why haven’t I heard these things before?

Meet the Enemy
 International Life Sciences Institute
 International Food Information Council
 Both organizations are supported by companies who profit from the sale of caffeinated foods and beverages. For example: Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, M&M/Mars, Hershey Foods, etc.
 Information disseminated is often inaccurate and biased.

Should You Care?


 FDA:
 R.M. Gilbert, “Caffeine as a Drug of Abuse,” in R.J. Gibbins et al. (eds.), Research Advances in Alcohol and Drug Problems (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1976)
 S. Cherniske, Caffeine Blues (New York: Warner Books, 1998)…...

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