Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound found in many plants, it has a long history and impact on our society. The compound is very common and available in a wide range of products with little regulations on its sale or use.
Caffeine was first extracted from cocoa beans into its purest form, a white powder, in the very early 1820's by a German Scientist named Friedrich Ferdinand Runge. Today, caffeine is easily extracted and used to make a variety of products that are consumed on a daily basis such as pre-workouts, energy drinks and even hair/ skin care products.
Caffeine On The Central System
Caffeine (when taking generously) acts as a powerful central nervous system stimulant. When it by passes the stomach, enters the blood then penetrates the blood brain barrier, the most noticeable effect is alertness and energy. You’ll feel more awake and less tired, so because of this it’s a common ingredient in medications and supplements to treat or manage drowsiness, headaches, and migraines.
Many studies in relation to the compound have found that people who supplement with caffeine have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. However, these benefits do depend on the individual, but like most compounds , over use can cause side effects.
Caffeine In Relation To Mood and Cognitive Function
Caffeine has great ability when it comes to blocking the brain signalling molecule adenosine (neurotransmitter that acts as a central nervous system). This causes an increase in other signalling molecules, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
This change in brain messaging or signalling will (in most cases) benefit your mood and overall brain function. One study found reported that after participants ingested approximately 37.5–450 mg of caffeine, they had improved alertness, better reaction time and better short-term memory.
Caffeine’s Mechanism of Action
The following diagram simply shows how caffeine works in the body:
The diagram simply details the blockage of the adenosine receptor. Adenosine (touched on earlier) is a neurotransmitter that produces a calming effect; caffeine blocks the receptors that are activated by adenosine, which results in stimulation (The above diagram).
Other Health Benefits
Caffeine according to various sources and studies has been linked to the following health benefits:
- Helps protect the liver: Caffeine may reduce the risk of liver damage and it may slow disease progression, according to some sources.
- Protects the skin: Caffeine may help protect the skin and improve the quality of it too, according to some sources and studies.
- Supports gut health: Consuming caffeine has been shown in some studies, to increase the amount of healthy gut bacteria.
My Personal Opinion On Caffeine
For me, caffeine has always worked when taking efficaciously. I have used it for years and will continue to use it as I do like it. You can find caffeine everywhere pretty much. It’s in pre-workouts such as GHOST Legend, coffee, tea, energy drinks like Rheign, and even food.
If I feel tired and want that little “pick me up” as such, it is my go to.