The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.
Caffeine is not just ANY food additive. It's has been called a pharmaceutical agent, a drug, and it leads to physical dependence in people who use it regularly. However, there are some health benefits associated with caffeine ingestion; listed below. At the bottom of this page are some health warnings to watch out for.
An U.S. National Institutes of Health study suggested that drinking decaffeinated coffee could increase your risk of heart disease. Research indicated that it could lead to a rise in harmful cholesterol levels. The U.S. study looked at 187 people, a third of whom drank three to six cups of caffeinated coffee a day, while a second group drank the same amount of decaffeinated coffee, and the rest had no coffee. Researchers measured the level of caffeine in people's blood, as well as a number of heart-health indicators, including blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels over the course of the three-month study.
At the end of the study, the group drinking decaffeinated coffee had experienced an 18% rise in their fatty acids in the blood, which can drive the production of bad 'LDL' cholesterol. Fatty acids did not change in the other groups. Having a high level of LDL cholesterol is one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes. In addition, a protein linked to bad cholesterol (apolipoprotein B) went up 8% in the decaffeinated group but did not significantly change in the other two groups.
The research results were presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association. Dr Robert Superko of the Fuqua Heart Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, who led the research, said: "Contrary to what people have thought for many years, I believe it's not caffeinated but decaffeinated coffee that might promote heart disease risk factors." But he added: "If you only drink one cup each day, the results of our study probably have little relevance because at that level your daily coffee dose is relatively low."
Those who wish to avoid caffeinated beverages for health reasons, yet don't want to be exposed to methylene chloride and other chemicals, there are other options:
A Finnish study found that those who drank coffee at midlife had a lower risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in late-life than those who drank no coffee at all. Those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day lowered their risk by 65 percent.
Details about this research: Lead Researcher, associate professor Miia Kivipelto from the University of Kuopio, Finland and Karloinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. stated: “We aimed to study the association between coffee and tea consumption at midlife and dementia/AD risk in late-life, because the long-term impact of caffeine on the central nervous system was still unknown, and as the pathologic processes leading to Alzheimer’s disease may start decades before the clinical manifestation of the disease.”
Coffee-drinking was categorized into three groups: low (0 to 2 cups daily), moderate (3 to 5 cups) and high (more than 5 cups).
Tea-drinking was categorized into two groups: those not drinking tea and those who drank at least one cup daily.
While all coffee drinkers had a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than non-drinkers, those who drank moderate amounts of coffee lowered their risk by a surprising 65 percent.
Drinking tea had no impact on the risk of developing dementia.
Dr. Kivipelto wrote: “Given the large amount of coffee consumption globally, the results might have important implications for the prevention of or delaying the onset of dementia/AD. The finding needs to be confirmed by other studies, but it opens the possibility that dietary interventions could modify the risk of dementia/AD.”
Scientists found that as coffee consumption went up, people's risk for diabetes went down. In fact, the risk of diabetes dropped about 7 percent with each daily cup. 3 or 4 cups of tea a day had similar diabetes-thwarting benefits. Decaf coffee also appeared to have diabetes-thwarting benefits. Certain chemical compounds in coffee and tea, such as lignans, chlorogenic acids, and magnesium may be helping to improve the body's regulation of blood sugar and its release of insulin.
An estimated 1.5 million Americans have Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is caused by the loss of brain cells that produce a chemical messenger called dopamine. They experience trembling n the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face. Their limbs and trunk become stiff. They move slowly and lose balance and coordination. As the disease progresses, they have difficulty walking, talking or performing simple tasks.
Caffeine: Researcher Alberto Ascherio of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston states as follows: "There is fairly convincing evidence that people who drink coffee or consume caffeine regularly have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease. "When researchers exposed mice to a chemical that causes a loss of dopaminergic neurons in a pattern similar to that observed in Parkinson's disease, those that had first been given caffeine equivalent to moderate amounts of coffee in humans lost fewer neurons than those not given caffeine," explains Ascherio.
Caffeine also seems to protect human brain cells. In a meta-analysis that pooled 13 studies, drinkers of regular coffee - but not decaf - had a 30 percent lower risk of Parkinson's disease than non-drinkers. (Ref. Ann. Neurol. 52: 276, 2002). "Even a modest amount - the equivalent of between one and two cups of coffee per day - is associated with a lower risk," notes Ascherio.
Coffee doesn't protect everybody though. "In our study, women who took post-menopausal hormones didn't benefit," says Ascherio.
In the Nurses' Health Study, which tracked nearly 81,000 women for 20 years, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which tracked 46,000 men for 10 years, those who drank two to three cups of regular coffee a day had about a 20 percent lower risk of gallstones than non-drinkers. (Refs: Gastroeneterology 123: 123, 2002; JAVA 281: 2106, 1999).
Michael Leitzmann of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, states as follows: "Tea, decaf coffee, and caffeinated soft drinks weren't protective. Probably because they don't contain enough of what's making the difference - caffeine." One theory: caffeine may stimulate the gallbladder to contract, which helps empty it of stone-forming cholesterol and bile pigments.
Harris Lieberman, a psychologist and caffeine investigator of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts, states as follows: "Caffeine improves alertness and reaction time in people, whether they are habitual consumers of caffeine or not. But 'the effect is clearly limited to the ability to maintain attention. Things like memory or complex reasoning won't improve.
In sleep-deprived individuals, the impact appears to be greater. French researchers accompanied young males as they drove 125 miles on a highway between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. When the young men were given coffee with 200 mg of caffeine before getting behind the heel, they inadvertently crossed into another lane an average of two times during their drive. When they were given decaf, they crossed an average of six times. (Ann. Intern. Med. 144: 785, 2006).
After consuming anywhere from 20 mg to 200 mg of caffeine, "people report increased well-being, happiness, energy, alertness and sociability," says caffeine expert Roland Griffiths at the John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
That may be why a study that tracked more than 86,000 women for 10 years found that those who drank at least two cups of regular coffee a day were about 60 percent less likely to commit suicide than those who drank none. (Ref.: Arch. Intern. Med. 156: 521, 1996)
However, more than 200 mg of caffeine produces "increased anxiety, nervousness, jitteriness, and upset stomach" in some people, says Griffiths.
Caffeine helps the body burn fat instead of carbohydrate, and it blunts the perception of pain. Both can boost endurance.
For example, endurance runners who ran to exhaustion on a treadmill lasted an average of 32 minutes without caffeine, but made it to 42 minutes after drinking coffee with around 250 mg of caffeine. (J. Appl. Physiol. 85, 83, 1998).
"There is no question that caffeine will improve aerobic physical endurance in non-athletes as well," says Lieberman, adding that people who run, job, swim or cycle can last longer if they had 200 mg to 600 mg of caffeine beforehand. "And new research suggests that caffeine can also improve anaerobic performances," he adds, which include lifting heavy objects and sprinting short distances.
When you get a headache, the blood vessels in your brain dilate, or become wider. Caffeine causes blood vessels to constrict, which may explain why it can help relieve headache pain.
"It's also a mild analgesic, or painkiller, and it has the ability to increase the availability of other analgesics that it's combined with," says Robert Shapiro, a headache expert at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington. That's why caffeine is included in prescription headache medications, such as Florinal, and over-the-counter ones like Anacin and Excedrin.
A Nurses Health Study, published in the Annals of International Medicine, found women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day have a 25% lower risk of heart disease and an 18% lower risk of developing diseases other than cancer than non-coffee drinkers. These health benefits may be linked to the anti-inflammatory properties in coffee as well as its rich supply of antioxidants.
In a meta-analysis that pooled 10 studies that tracked more than 400,000 men and women for three years to 44 years, those who drank coffee every day - whether regular or decaf -- were no more likely to suffer from heart disease than non-coffee drinkers.(Nutr. Metab. Cardiovasc. Disc. 17: 209, 2007).
If caffeine were a threat to the heart, coffee drinkers would have had a higher risk.
Danish researchers found that women who drank up to three 6 oz cups of coffee daily during the second half of their pregnancy were no more likely to experience pregnancy complications than women who avoided coffee. Though much higher levels of caffeine have been associated with premature births and low-birth weight babes, moderate coffee intake was not found to increase risk.
Ground coffee deters, but only kills young snails and slugs, and you need ground up coffee beans for it to really work, not used coffee grounds. Used coffee grounds makes a pretty good mulch for your garden and if it deters a few slugs and snails.
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