Caffeine - The Good the Bad the Ugly

Caffeine - The Good the Bad the Ugly

You may be a drug user.

Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant, and most medical professionals agree that any substance that alters, mood, perception, or thought is considered a drug.
If you have ever enjoyed coffee, tea, cola, chocolate…the list goes on, you could be a drug user. Caffeine is present in various quantities in all these products commonly ingested by 90% of the adult population of North America every day.

World-wide consumption of caffeine has been estimated at 120,000 tonnes (132,000 tons) per year.

Is caffeine beneficial or detrimental?

The debate still rages in the medical community as to whether caffeine is indeed good or bad for you. Let's take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of caffeine.


  • Caffeine is an ergogenic substance which can increase an individual's capacity for physical and mental work.

  • Studies have shown that athletes using moderate amounts of caffeine have significantly improved endurance.

  • Short-term and long-term benefits in the treatment of apnea of prematurity (Apnea of prematurity is defined as cessation of breathing by a premature infant that lasts for more than 15 seconds and/or is accompanied by hypoxia or bradycardia: Wikipedia).

  • Short-term and long-term benefits in the treatment of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in premature infants.

  • Caffeine has been shown to reduce asthma symptoms.

  • Caffeine causes constriction of blood vessels in the brain which can help alleviate or prevent headaches. Take a look at your regular pain-killer of choice, you may be surprised to see it contains caffeine. One tablet of Exedrin contains 65mg of caffeine, that's twice as much as a 355ml (12 U.S fl oz) can of Coca-Cola, or 65% of the caffeine of a 60ml (2 U.S. fl oz) cup of espresso. Caffeine makes pain relievers 40% more effective and increases absorption of these medications to bring much faster relief.

  • Caffeine has been shown to temporarily increase alertness and decrease fatigue.


  • Risk factors for pregnant women are higher with evidence suggesting that mothers consuming approximately 250mg of caffeine per day (that's about 3 cups of coffee), may extend conception time.

  • Mothers drinking 5 or more cups a day or taking equivalent doses may double their chances of miscarriage.

  • Caffeine ingestion increases the production of stomach acid which could increase the chances of peptic ulcers erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERDS).

  • Caffeine is widely believed to be addictive and as little as 100mg per day may establish a dependency for the substance. Withdrawal symptoms commonly include, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and joint pain.


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