You know that caffeine gives you energy, but what else can it do. Around 70% of the population consumes caffeine daily without understanding more than its base effects.
If you’re reading this you probably love caffeine.
It is, after all, the world’s favorite ingredient.
In whatever form you consume it, caffeine keeps us awake and alert during late nights and starts our mornings.
It may literally be the only thing that transforms you from disheveled goblin to functioning human. Leading to mass produced shirts that read “You won’t like me before I’ve had my coffee.”
You may scoff at those people, but in a large sense it’s true. Caffeine is currently helping a lot of people function to the best of their abilities, by simply giving them extra energy.
It is cheap, accessible, and effective.
But, what else do you actually know about caffeine?
The more that this magic chemical is studied the more we learn about what else we can do for us.
From athletes, to children, to regular adults- caffeine has something to offer.
When looked at from all angles it does actually seem a little magical.
What Actually is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant, and one of the most used ingredients in the world.
The main effects of caffeine are on the brain, which as you know gives you energy. So, to put it simply caffeine keeps you awake.
From a scientific perspective it blocks the build-up of adenosine which is the chemical that makes your feel sleepy. This chemical naturally builds up during the day and its buildup can be increased by exercise and intense focus.
Because of its benefits it has been in use for most of human history. The earliest recorded uses of caffeine date as far back as 2000 B.C
Today it can be found in about everything from water and coffee to straight pill form. It is an entire empire, and likely fuels a few others too.
Science is still evolving as we learn more and more about what this wonder chemical can do for us. Beyond its standard effects it seems to have a whole host of benefits no one would notice on their own.
It has only been through years of clinical trials that these effects have come to light, and there is still much to learn. For scientists that means long years of hard research.
For us it means going about our daily lives and idly thinking about how great our favorite drink is.
The first on the list is something that everyone could wish for from a single product.
Chances are, you wouldn’t have expected caffeine to help you lose weight. Yet, recent research has shown exactly that.
Consuming caffeine makes it easier for us to break down our fat cells. On top of that, just general consumption has been correlated with lower weight.
A study by Nottingham University suggests that caffeine intake stimulates Brown Fat Tissue which in turn leads to weight loss.
A separate study suggests that caffeine has anti-obesity effects such as reducing body fat percentage and body fat in rats. This shows a potential use for caffeine as a functional food ingredient that would prevent diseases in humans who ingest a high fat diet.
Caffeine consumption has been shown to have a direct correlation with fat percentages in women in the United States.
A cup a day isn’t going to turn you into a supermodel, but it’s a start. The practical applications of these studies are still limited, which is why you aren’t seeing any caffeine diets yet, but the findings are there.
Who knows how long it will be before we know how much weight caffeine could ultimately help us lose. It may actually become a staple in workout routines or as a facilitator to certain diets.
It might make more sense than a juice cleanse.
Depending on your weekly schedule this could be an unintended benefit or a consequence.
Caffeine helps keep us alert so why wouldn’t it help our memories as well? These studies have shown that caffeine consumption has benefits for our long term memories.
This could have repercussions across several fields such as Alzhiemers and child psychology. Not to mention that it can help your average person as well.
Caffeine enhances consolidation of long term memory in humans.
A study done by the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease shows that caffeine reduces memory impairment in mice with alzheimers.
A study done by the University of Arizona shows that caffeine consumption boosts memory retention when given at low energy periods of the day. Which is the morning for kids and the late afternoon for adults.
This area of research seems to be the most ripe for expansion.
Not quite revolutionary but definitely exciting. Anything that helps us remember what we had for breakfast is always going to be helpful.
And as we all get older we could definitely use an extra helping hand.
Turn up the tempo and add a kick to your workout.
Today with limited schedules and just too little energy to get through the day we need to maximize every moment we can get. So how much can caffeine add to your daily exercise?
These studies are the most extensive out of all being currently done on caffeine. If anything can be agreed on about the substance is that the extra energy it gives us is good for exercising.
As the specifics roll out we can see exactly what areas it is helpful for, and for you serious athletes, allow you to better optimize your exercises.
Because of its effects caffeine is already being limited in some sports in order to create an equal playing field. So don’t get yourself in trouble.
Still, for regular training there is nothing wrong with a boost to get you going, and one to keep you going as well.
Caffeine consumption is shown to increase performance in aerobic and anaerobic exercises. There was also a 10% increase across the board for athletic performance.
76% of athletes across sports use caffeine in 2015. It is also considered a controlled substance by the NCAA and the WADA which limits its use in sports such as MMA.
Caffeine does not improve oxygen levels completely but it is shown to allow Athletes to train harder and for longer periods. It is also shown to increase speed and/or power output in race conditions. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11583104/
Some of the findings in this area could definitely be the most important. Much is still unknown but the initial findings so far are clear.
There is some link between caffeine and survival rates for individuals with cancer. It appears that only certain types of cancer are affected by this. Namely, prostate, colorectal, liver, and endometrial cancers.
Again, it is not a cure all. No amount of caffeine will solve your problems, but in situations like this every little bit helps.
Ask your doctor before you commit to any self remedies such as this and make sure that it is right for you.
Research from the American Association for Cancer Research showed a strong inverse association between caffeine consumption and the risk of lethal and advanced prostate cancer.
A 2020 study from the Jama Network found that Caffeine consumption in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer have a longer rate of survival and less risk of the cancer worsening.
Another study shows a similar inverse relationship between caffeine consumption and the risk of liver and endometrial cancer.
Summarizing It All Together
While you should always listen to your doctor when making decisions about your health, it appears that there is still much to learn.
Even about this single chemical ingredient which has been used by humans for thousands of years.
These studies are not perfect. It is always possible that another study will come around and completely debunk the one behind it.
Everyone wants to get the most out of what they consume. When compared to sugary sodas and energy drinks it’s clear that something like caffeinated water would be a better choice.
Still, you should always keep on top of your own body’s needs. No one thing is going to be the solution to the world’s problems.
If caffeine was then we would know it already. What science can tell us is what is going on behind the scenes that we aren’t even aware of.
By now most would have thought we have learnt everything we ever will about the world’s favorite ingredient. It seems the world is determined to prove us wrong.