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Is Caffeine Bad Or Good For Your Health?

There are several studies that have analyzed the effects of regular caffeine consumption. 

Person holding coffee beans

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LatinAmerican Post | Joshua Radesca

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Leer en español: ¿Es la cafeína perjudicial o positiva para la salud?

It is usual for many people around the world to start their day enjoying a steaming cup of coffee. Lovers of this drink not only enjoy its attractive flavor and aroma, but they also use its stimulating action to face their days and stay full of energy. This drink's ability to keep us awake and alert is due to caffeine, a chemical compound found naturally in coffee and cocoa beans, tea leaves, cola nuts, and guarana berries, among others. It can be made in laboratories and added to soft drinks, foods, and medicines. Being caffeine a substance of such widespread consumption, present in the day to day of so many individuals, it is normal that questions arise about its effects on health.

Is its consumption positive or negative? Numerous studies have been carried out on the subject in recent years. In this article, we will tell you what the experts say.

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There are many variables 

Regarding the impact of caffeine on health, the first element to consider is the amount that is taken. Research published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology indicates that positive effects have been observed from caffeine consumption. "Low doses reduce anxiety and elevate mood," the study notes. "Caffeine consumption was associated with a reduced risk of depression compared to no consumption in a population study."

Then he notes that negative effects on stress and mental health have also been observed. Reporting high levels of anxiety in moderate and high caffeine consumers compared to those who do not ingest this substance.

“In the general population, the negative effects of caffeine are often seen in relation to excessive intake. In extremely high doses its consumption can induce a condition known as 'caffeinism'. Symptoms include anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, excitement, psychomotor agitation, dysphoria, and a disjointed flow of thought and speech. Explains the study.

Health professionals indicate that about 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. This is roughly equivalent to four cups of coffee.

Another important aspect to consider is that not all people react the same to caffeine, some are more sensitive to it. Its effect varies according to the age, sex, and health condition of those who ingest it. Research available at the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute indicates that those who drink caffeine regularly have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's (PD) and those who already have the disease and consume caffeine show a slower progression of it.

Caffeine consumption reduces the risk of stroke, dementia, and depression in women and that of PD in men. However, it can increase sleep disorders and anxiety disorders in adolescence, both in men and women”, says the same study. It can be seen that the impact of caffeine varies with respect to the profile of the consumer. Therefore, in this research they suggest that "caffeine consumption should be individualized according to sex (and age) in the context of neurological and psychiatric diseases."

For its part, an investigation published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health exposes that drinking a cup of coffee a day can increase the risk of fractures, especially in women, since during menopause, estrogen deficiency affects the density of bone, therefore, caffeine consumption should be limited in these cases.

Other adverse effects of high caffeine consumption are: increased severity of gastrointestinal pathologies, alterations in conception, and increased blood pressure and cholesterol, which can influence cardiovascular health.

As evidenced, caffeine can have both positive and negative effects. One or the other depends on various factors, such as the volume of intake, sensitivity to caffeine, age, gender, as well as pre-existing health conditions. For this reason, it is important that, when in doubt, each person consults a medical professional about the advisability or not of the frequent consumption of this type of substance.