Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant in everything from drinks to chewing gum. We often get asked if there are side effects and why its effects stop after continued use. Read on to find out the benefits, side effects and how to get the most out of caffeine.
What is it?
Caffeine comes from coffee beans, but it can also be created in a laboratory. It is a powerful stimulant, and it can be used to improve physical strength and endurance.
Caffeine’s primary mechanism involves adenosine receptors. Adenosine causes sedation and relaxation when it acts upon its receptors. Caffeine prevents this action and causes alertness and wakefulness.
Consistent caffeine use will lead to tolerance. This means the effects of caffeine will decrease. This is an ‘impassable' tolerance, which means more caffeine will not overcome it. A month-long break from caffeine will reduce tolerance.
- Can enhance cognition
- Increases wakefulness
- Helps burn fat
- Can increase power output
- Keeps you alert
- Improves reaction time
For healthy adults up to 400mg/per day is considered safe.
Doses over 400 mg have been used in short-term studies on the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine. Such high doses might not hurt when taken on occasion, depending on the person, but the more frequent the occasion, the more likely you become to experience the downsides of caffeine.
Also, some of the benefits of caffeine fade with frequent intake, which is why some people choose to cycle caffeine.
How do you boost the benefits of caffeine? Use less of it. Or to be more specific, use it less frequently. Restricting your caffeine intake to once or twice a week is the best way to get more from each dose.
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate