Caffeine-Related Health Problems
Caffeine increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and can contribute to the development of heart disease. Both decaf and regular coffee increase your cholesterol and homocysteine, the biochemicals that science has linked to increased risk for heart attack. Caffeine is also linked to coronary vasospasms, the cause for 20% of all fatal heart attacks which kill otherwise perfectly healthy people.
Caffeine stimulates the excretion of stress hormones which can produce increased levels of anxiety, irritability, muscular tension and pain, indigestion, insomnia, and decreased immunity. Increased levels of stress from caffeine can keep you from being able to make healthy responses to the normal daily stress everyone is subjected to in their lives.
Anxiety and irritability are hallmark mood disturbances associated with caffeine consumption, but equally important is depression and attention disorders. Depression may occur as part of the let down after the stimulant effects of caffeine wears off. It may also appear during the recovery period after quitting caffeine while the brain’s chemistry is readjusted. Caffeine rather than increasing mental activity actually decreases blood flow to the brain by as much as 30% and negatively effects memory and mental performance.
Blood Sugar Swings
Diabetics and hypoglycemics should avoid caffeine because it stimulates a temporary surge in blood sugar which is then followed by an overproduction of insulin that causes a blood sugar crash within hours. If you’re trying to loose weight, this roller coaster will actually cause weight gain since insulin’s message to the body is to store excess sugar as fat.
Many people experience a burning sensation in their stomach after drinking coffee because coffee increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid leading to an increased risk for ulcers. Coffee, including decaf, reduces the pressure of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach so that the highly acidic contents of the stomach pass up to the esophagus leading to heartburn and gastro-esophageal reflux disease. With America’s high consumption of coffee, its no wonder the best selling over-the-counter drugs are the so-called antacids.
Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and causes the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace minerals, all essential elements necessary for good health.
Male Health Problems
Coffee is an irritant to the urinary tract and bladder. It is also a diuretic that aggravates conditions associated with frequent urination. Eliminating coffee and caffeine often relieves symptoms associated with frequent urination due to enlarged prostate glands.
Dr. Milton Krisiloff, M.D. has found that in the majority of cases, men can significantly reduce their risk for urinary and prostate problems by making dietary changes which include eliminating coffee and caffeine.
Female Health Problems
Fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, osteoporosis, infertility problems, miscarriage, low birth weight infants, and menopausal problems such as hot flashes are all exacerbated by caffeine consumption. Women on birth control pills are particularly at risk since they have a decreased ability to detoxify caffeine.
Caffeine consumption leads to eventual adrenal exhaustion which can leave you vulnerable to a variety of health disorders related to inflammation, autoimmunity, and fatigue.
Many people find in their forties that they can no longer tolerate the same level of caffeine consumption as they could in their twenties and thirties. The production of DHEA, melatonin, and other vital hormones start to decline and caffeine speeds up that downhill drop. Caffeine dehydrates the body and contributes to the aging of the skin and kidneys. It has been shown to inhibit DNA repair and slow the ability of the liver to detoxify foreign toxins.
Exhausted Adrenal Glands
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It causes the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline, the hormone your body depends on in emergencies to elevate your heart rate, increase your respiration and blood pressure for a rapid flight-or-fight response. When you overuse stimulants, the adrenals become exhausted. If your caffeine sensitivity has diminished or you’re one of those who claims you can drink 3 shots of espresso and go right to sleep, guess what? Your adrenals have given up responding. This means you have less resistance to stress, which leaves you vulnerable to health hazards such as environmental pollutants and disease pathogens.
Severe Blood Sugar Swings
Caffeine forces the liver to release glycogen into the blood stream. The pancreas responds to the sudden rise in blood sugar by releasing insulin, the hormone which causes excess carbohydrates to be stored as fat. Within the span of an hour or two, the result is a sharp blood sugar drop resulting in a state of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). That’s when you think it’s time for another cup of coffee and the whole cycle starts up again.
Over 208 acids in coffee can contribute to indigestion and a wide variety of health problems resulting from over-acidity associated with arthritic, rheumatic and skin irritations. Many people experience a burning sensation in their stomach after drinking coffee because coffee increases the secretion of acid in the stomach. Optimal health calls for an alkaline pH balance in the body.
Essential Mineral Depletion
Coffee inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and causes the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace minerals, all essential elements necessary for good health. Women need to be concerned about osteoporosis as menopause sets in. Studies show that women that women who drink coffee have an increased incidence of osteoporosis compared to non-coffee drinkers. Men are not immune to osteoporosis either.
These are a number of health conditions for which doctors advise their patients to eliminate coffee and all caffeine from their diet.
Excerpted from Caffeine Blues, Wake up to the Dangers of America’s #1 Drug, by Nutritional Biochemist Stephen Cherniske.
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