Do you remember the time when you tasted coffee as a child and it tasted like sludge water? What happened since then? Not many people talk about it, even in the truth seeking community. Maybe because this is in another layer of socially acceptable behaviours. Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. This is due to the major efforts of the caffeine industry such as propoganda, funded research, a lot of advertising and most worryingly - getting people hooked from a really young age.
Caffeine is not only found in coffee and tea, but as we know is in a wide variety of products, which include soft drinks, chocolates, candy, and even is used in pharma drugs. Basically, when parents give their little kids chocolate or a coke, they unknowingly are creating a consumer hooked on caffeine, often for life. This to me seems really bizarre, but the companies who sell coffee and other products are rubbing their hands in joy.
I won’t go into detail about the history of coffee or anything like that, because frankly it doesn’t matter. What I will tell you though is that caffeine, along with nicotine and numerous other substances alike are found in nature as pesticides. Plants use these substances to defend against insects, which makes these substances toxic by nature’s law. So let’s get into how this substance works and how it affects our species.
The main active effect caffeine has in the body is on adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a substance that the brain produces, when it senses that our body needs to rest, basically it slows down the neurons firing. Caffeine somehow fits right in these receptors, blocking adenosine from doing it’s job. This means that our body is tricked into not being tired. Talk about f*cking with nature. Neurons keep firing and firing without rest. When you stop drinking coffee adenosine floods the receptors, which causes a crash, which is the so called “withdrawl”.
Now, there is another substance that is responsible for the effect of getting hooked. Our good old friend dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter produced by the brain, associated with the feeling of pleasure and elation. It is a vital substance to our existance, which is released in everyday situations as an indicator of what is pleasurable or when you do something worthwhile for your survival. Sadly, our brain is just a machine, in a sense that it doesn’t differentiate much if you aren’t too aware. It senses the substance or action that increase dopamine production the most and wants to sense this elevation again. Coffee is a “great” tool for the people who don’t do harder drugs, and just go about their day in need for a pleasure boost. Dopamine is another topic in itself, so let’s continue.
The constant neuron firing mentioned previously creates an “emergency” situation in the body, which triggers the adrenal glands to produce hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones trigger the “fight or flight” response, our animalistic survival mechanism. In earlier days it was the ultimate tool of survival. Now, however, times have changed. Our bodies have stayed the same, but our daily lives have shifted dramatically. Today we tend to stress over seemingly little things. We should at least be able to handle it, but there is always our “friend” caffeine to balance us over the edge into panic, by lowering the stress threshold.
The fight or flight response triggers sugar and fat release into the bloodstream for energy, which in this day and age most likely go unused. The sugar creates additional metabolic stress, also causing hypoglycemia, which is a low blood sugar level, after insulin has been released to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood, which leads to a sugar crash and needing another cup of good ol’ Joe. The fat can be a factor in clogged arteries, if the conditions in the body are poor enough. This also slows or stops digestion alltogether, which causes the food you ate to ferment on it’s own or putrefy. Caffeine is a major culprit in bloating, pain and gas after meals. The putrefication process can produce toxic by-products which can find their way back into the bloodstream.
With daily use of caffeine levels of another stress hormone - cortisol, are elevated. It tends to stay in the bloodstream much longer than the previously mentioned adrenaline and noradrenaline. It produces more long term negative effects, such as diminishes quality of sleep, accelarates aging, changes mind, mood and behaviour in general.
GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter with an unique ability to calm the mind down without putting you to sleep. As you might have guessed, caffeine also f*cks with it’s metabolism. This substance helps us to see more clearly in times of stresfull situations. It is also produced in the gut. The anti- GABA effect is amplified by other drugs, such as antibiotics, which also decreases caffeine metabolism, that in turn causes anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, etc.
Speaking of caffeine metabolism, the liver has it’s hands full. 99% of the caffeine ingested has to be detoxified by the liver, only 1% is excreted in the urine. Not even the kidneys can help as they do with other substances, because when ingested caffeine is rapidly absorbed by every organ and tissue in the body. In this situation, caffeine is reabsorbed by the bloodstream before it is able to reach the urinary tract. Half life of caffeine is 3 - 12 hours, depending on the person’s metabolism, which means that most people are constantly bombarding their liver with caffeine, among other things, of course.
As the picture shows, it is not a simple process as I am explaining here, but for the sake of everyone involved, let’s just say that caffeine is divided into many other substances, which do their part in the body, some more harmful than others.
There are some OTC (over the counter) meds that contain caffeine. Worse yet, many of the OTC meds interfere with the liver’s ability to detoxify caffeine and other substances found in coffee. For example, birth control pills, antibiotics. As we already know, big pharma offers us a variety of toxic substances on their own. Introduce caffeine in the mix and it is uknown at best, what happens in your body as it struggles to get rid of all the crap put into it. Never underestimate the power of “live-r”, as it’s name states. Everything has it’s limits though, as we can see looking at pharma-related death numbers. That is however a different story as well.
One more important thing we mustn’t cross over is sleep. No brainer that it is the most critical part of our well-being and existance. There are 4 phases of sleep, the one which interests us at the moment is the deep sleep phase. It is when the body utilizes all it’s resources for healing and rejuvination. During this time new cells are created and repaired, nervous system restored. Caffeine messes this up quite heavily as well. You probably have experienced mornings when you feel like crap until that godlike cup of coffee. I certainly have. That’s because caffeine interrupts our deep sleep phase quite a lot. Contrary to popular belief, ingesting caffeine at any time of the day can cause these disturbances in sleep. It also directly supresses melatonin production, which is responsible for regulatin our sleep and wake cycles.
Last but not least, malnutrition. For starters, caffeine causes increased loss in B vitamins in the urine. Then there are other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc and iron. Loss of iron can be one of factors in anemia.
Going to wrap this up for now. I don’t believe that caffeine is the main danger to our healths, however it all sums together. It’s one of the factors that plays a role in the big scheme to make and keep people ill. What grinds my gears though, is how socially acceptable this drugging of the masses is. In this summary I mainly touched on the physical effects of caffeine. We must look at the body as a whole, the mental health issues are due to some physical imbalances and deficiencies accelarated by caffeine. Everything is connected, unlike the medical establishment would like us to believe. If you want to read more on this topic I recommend the book “Caffeine blues” where I got a lot of this information from. This is a simple introduction to this topic for people not so familiar. Study deeper if your heart desires. One thing I’d like you to take home is that if you are using caffeine, just stop, it’s for the better. I’ve been free of caffeine for a month and I am able to wake up in the morning actually feeling rested and energized. I wish you all the same!