Caffeine: Health Benefits and Side Effects of Caffeine

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: May 15, 2014 | Last Updated: Sep 27, 2018


What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a stimulant bitter drug; it is a white crystalline xanthine alkaloid. It is consumed by people in infusions extracted from the coffee plant seeds and the leaves of the tea bush. It is generally recognized as safe, ordinary consumption has low health risks. It has pressor and mild diuretic effects when administered to individuals who don’t consume it much but regular users develops a tolerance to such effect. Heavy doses lead to autonomic effects such as muscle twitching and elevated heart rate. For many people two to four cup coffee in a day is not harmful but too much of it causes jitters and shakiness. Some of them are very sensitive to Caffeine as compared to others.

Where Does Caffeine Come From?

Caffeine is an organic substance found primarily in coffee beans, it also occurs naturally in many plants including cocoa nuts and tea leaves. It is found in varying quantities in the fruit, seeds and leaves of some plants. Other sources of Caffeine include guarana berries, yerba mate, yaupon holly and guayusa. It is therefore extensively used in the food products such as chocolate, kola, coffee and tea. It is also artificially added to many other products including a variety of energy drinks.

What are its Possible Health Benefits?

Caffeine is the widely used substance in the world. According to the different studies it has some possible health benefits.

When taken as a caffeine enema it cleanses the colon and detoxes the liver. To be alert while driving it is taken in a considerable amount. It is highly beneficial when taken with carbs; it replenishes muscle glycogen concentrations rapidly after exercise. It relieves post workout muscle pain by 48% and helps to ward off Alzheimer. It increases dopamine in the brain and therefore eases depression. Caffeine may decrease fatty liver in individuals with non-alcohol associated fatty liver disease, according to a study of Duke University. Men consuming caffeine showed increased semen volume as well as less sperm DNA fragmentation as compared to non – caffeine consuming men.

health benefits coffee

Caffeine Weight Loss Benefits

Caffeine weight loss benefits are still to be known; however it may contribute to weight loss or may prevent weight gain. The research about the connection between weight and caffeine is not definitive; few theories show how caffeine affects your weight.

For a brief time period caffeine may suppress your appetite, it may reduce your desire to eat. But there is not much evidence that long term use of caffeine help in weight loss.
Caffeine may stimulate thermogenesis; it is one way of generating heat and energy from digesting food by the body. But this is not enough to prove its efficiency.

Side Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine is considered safe if taken appropriately. Larger doses are not safe and increase the risk of getting irregular heartbeats that can be fatal. It may cause nervousness, insomnia, nausea, restlessness, vomiting, stomach irritation and increase respiration. Large doses of caffeine can also cause chest pain, headache, anxiety and irritability. Don’t forget that some caffeinated beverages are high in fat and calories which include specialty coffees, so instead of losing weight, you might actually gain weight if you highly consume it.

Recommended Doses and Timing for Caffeine

For healthy adults the required amount of caffeine is about 300 to 400 mg daily without experiencing any adverse effects.

Caffeine Supplements

Caffeine is used in almost every weight loss supplements but majority of them don’t indicate how much caffeine is used in them.

Caffeine Interactions

Caffeine interacts with many medications including Ephedrine, Adenosine, Antibiotics, Cimetidine and many more.


Caffeine is considered effective for athletic performance, it seems to increase physical endurance and decrease exhaustion. Always keep in mind that it is safe if it is taken in appropriate doses, you must consult a health care provider before taking the supplements that contain caffeine.

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