Caffeine facts: effects on the body and some nutrients

 Mostly, we’ve taken this substance (caffeine) in drugs or drinks. It's not a bad substance to be shocked by. But what matters most is the amount recommended per day. And is it healthy for you, or do you need to limit it? The amount needed at distinct ages and when to take it or with which foods (nutrients) is significant.

 So, knowing about the diet lists that go with it when planning your meals, shows some good nutrition for your health that stops the loss of nutrients in demand (when deficient). 

Likewise, after knowing which diets interact with caffeine, one should consider allocating further time during the day to foods where caffeine may not come after them. 

You should not restrict yourself to your beloved foods because caffeine doesn't go with them. What matters is time allocation when planning when to take your food. 

Furthermore, caffeine interaction with foods is only a warning sign if the body is deficient in the specific nutrient you intend to eat separately with coffee or tea containing the substance—those having enough stores or getting enough of the nutrients will not probably encounter a problem.

Although, following or doing the right food interactions is fine to prevent them from impacting your health—following that you won't build up excess nutrients (if you always want to maximise your nutrients without losing any). 

So, expounding on its facts, this article points to these subheadings: 

  •        What is caffeine, and where does it come from? 
  •      Caffeine is healthy, right? 
  •    How much caffeine is healthy? 
  •       When should I take caffeine? 
  •   When does caffeine become unhealthy? 
  •     Can caffeine be an allergen? 

What is caffeine and where does it come from? 

Caffeine is an organic compound in the xanthine class. The substance is a central nervous system stimulant and promotes alertness when taken in the right dosage or amounts.

 Scientists ascertained this plant alkaloid is naturally found in coffee beans, tea leaves, kola beans, and cocoa pods. As a result, the majority of the world's population consumes coffee, tea, and chocolate drinks. 

Drinks containing black tea are the most common in Kenya, followed by coffee and green tea. Caffeine is also added to energy drinks and Coca-Cola beverages.

 Therefore, one should be watchful of the recommended caffeine intake if one takes both a cup of tea or coffee and energy drinks or cola per day. In this article, the recommended intakes are stated in the subheading “how much of it is good.”

Is caffeine healthy, right? 

As one drinks, caffeine in coffee, tea, or other drinks containing it, one experiences less drowsiness. Being a stimulant, it brings alertness and improves one’s brain activity.

 Starting a day with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning prepares one to work tirelessly during the day.

 Similarly, it improves one’s mood to keep working. So, this is fruitful. But one should observe the levels to be healthy.

 An overdose of caffeine comes with some negative health effects. Rapid heartbeats, anxiety, and lack of sleep are the main issues commonly associated with overdosing. 

Besides that, some issues may be associated with caffeine intake, at least when the dietary pattern of an individual is poor. 

Nutrient deficiencies such as calcium, iron, and water-soluble vitamins (B and vitamin C) may happen if nutrient and caffeine interactions are not monitored in an individual having less of them in the body (Needy person). 

How much caffeine is good? 

The acceptable amount of caffeine is quantified in milligrams, and one should keep in mind that the tolerated dosages in adults and children vary.

 So for adults, the caffeine maximum intake is 400 mg per day, and 100 mg for adolescents—less than 100 mg when teens are not exceeding 100 mg is safer for them. Considering children below 12 years of age should not be introduced to caffeine.

So, if individuals want to estimate this at home by themselves, they should be aware that 400 milligrammes of caffeine equals 4 cups (250ml) of brewed coffee; 8 cups of the same millilitres of brewed black tea; 2 cans of energy drink (500ml) and 10 cans of cola. 

When estimating caffeine intake for teens, 100 mg is always equal to one cup (259 ml) of coffee and two cups (250 ml) of black tea—since one cup of black tea has 47 mg of caffeine. 

When recommending energy drinks and cola to adolescents, a 300 ml energy drink or 2 cans of cola is advised for healthy teens to take per day. As you see, the amount of caffeine extracted in coffee seems to be double that in black tea. 

Moreover, in green tea, caffeine per cup of 259 ml piles up to 28 mg of the substance. Individuals looking to reduce their caffeine intake but unable to do so immediately can consider the cited caffeine sources (black or green tea). 

The brought-up estimations of either a cup of coffee, tea, or energy drinks are the recommended intake per day. Be mindful of the volumes if you at most use both of the above sources of caffeine.

 For example, consuming both 4 cups of coffee and 2 cans of energy drinks is too much for an adult. because it goes up to 800 mg, which is above the recommended levels. 

When to take caffeine?

 Starting a day with a cup of coffee or tea at dawn, before the main breakfast comes in later, is the best time to start activating your brain. Plus, it gets you up from bed. 

Aside from that, one can allocate time to have another cup of coffee or tea in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, close to the evening. 

This time allocates some hours for caffeine to flash out of your body before dinner or sleep. 

Additionally, when allocating coffee, tea, or time for caffeinated drinks, one needs to be mindful of foods that don't go well with caffeine, especially when you are truly in need of specific nutrients.

 So, nothing to be worried about because the foods not to take with them have been explained in the article. 

When does caffeine become unhealthy? 

Besides it being healthy, there are some moments when caffeine can be viewed as not healthy, at most when one exceeds or forgets to limit—the time one is required to take a little of it, given to young kids. The major details on how it can become unhealthy are listed below. 

1. Exceeding the daily caffeine allowance

Taking caffeinated drinks without knowing “how much is too much” may make them unhealthy for your body. Exceeding 400 mg of caffeine will be too much in your bloodstream after some hours of taking it. 

Plus, you may start experiencing jitteriness and other related symptoms of too much of the substance. 

What to do if you have too much caffeine? 

However, there’s no effective way to get rid of caffeine in your body once you've had a lot of it. And waiting for it to flush itself after 5 to 6 hrs. is somehow unsettling. You will find yourself requiring remedies that can even shorten your half-life. 

So, one of the best unquestionable remedies to implement is “no more caffeine again from that time till another day.” Because you took much of it, it’s remarkable not to induce your feelings to take in anything containing the substance. 

This will make you feel better the next day. It’s also good to hydrate yourself with water and electrolytes in it. Since excess caffeine is a mild diuretic, waiting for its elimination without hydrating yourself may leave you dehydrated and perhaps with an electrolyte imbalance. 

The electrolytes such as potassium will calm your heart. Besides that, you can include foods rich in potassium (avocados and bananas) in your snacks because they lower temporary hypertension just after some time as you wait for the caffeine to flush out. 

In the same way, you can try some exercise as an additional therapy. Take a walk to alleviate your anxiety. You can breathe in and out to ease your mood. 

Some research experiments found that moderate exercise shortens caffeine’s half-life by at least a half. That means exercise hastens its elimination by 2 to 3 or up to 4 hours instead of 5 to 6 hours. 

However, this is inconclusive. Because other research still disputes that you will do workouts, even harder ones, but that cannot exhaust the liver to get rid of it that fast. So, despite the exercise, you will run out of energy, but caffeine will still be in your body. 

Note!! 

The settled therapies for individuals who have taken too much caffeine are: stop taking coffee, tea, or anything containing the substance today; hydrate yourself with water containing some electrolytes to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. The added electrolytes such as potassium help settle your rapid heartbeat or elevated blood pressure. 

How does potassium lower irregular heartbeats? 

Studies say that potassium keeps the heartbeat at its right pace by helping to control the electrical signals of the middle layers of the heart muscles—known as the myocardium.

Concerning issue

Is caffeine a diuretic? Caffeine is a mild diuretic that, when consumed in excess, causes frequent urination, though as long as one keeps hydrating themselves or takes fluids with caffeine, its effect of causing dehydration is unlikely to happen.

2. Confusion over which nutrients to combine with caffeine

Finally, we have arrived at this matter. So, here is another idea to add to your meal planning master ideas. 

It's fine to maximise the nutrients in demand in your household with this knowledge of knowing which foods to consume with the substance. 

Being aware that caffeine alters which nutrients if it's what your dietitian told you, you need to maximise, becomes a remarkable thing, particularly for pregnant and lactating mothers or even teens. 

Hence, for more information on optimum nutrition for pregnant mothers, click here to read this article. 

Henceforth, these are examples of nutrients that don't go with caffeine: 

  • Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins B and C—these water-soluble vitamins can be excreted alongside caffeine and water. 

As excretion increases due to caffeine being a diuretic, the water-soluble vitamins may be excreted too. Taking them together with caffeinated drinks increases their elimination much more. Therefore, this will be alarming only if your body has fewer of the stated nutrients. 

So, is that why Vitamin B’s are more in energy drinks—to increase their absorption? 

Actually, no. Someone may think B vitamins are added to energy drinks to increase their absorption. But the main truth is that the vitamin B complex added is intended for the metabolism of many sugars—converting the glycemic carbs in drinks to energy in the body. 

Yet this seems not to be working 100% in most people's bodies. It can be due to the vitamins being excreted before their absorption or building up in the body. Since they are water-soluble vitamins, some may be excreted with water or when energy drinks are taken in excess, raising the caffeine level. In excess, the substance may cause urination, causing some B vitamins to be flushed out with urine.

 Another reason they don’t work is that you had fewer stores of vitamin B and your body depends on the ones from the energy drinks, which you also failed to absorb. 

  • Jumping back to foods that don't go with caffeine, we have all kinds of foods containing calcium and vitamin D. The most commonly known foods with calcium are dairy products(milk and yoghurt); fish; and some vegetables such as kale. 

Though vitamin D is gotten from natural sunlight, some foods contain it. Being a fat-soluble vitamin, it's commonly added to fats like cooking oils and margarine. So, always check your oils, fats, and margarine to ascertain they have the vitamin on their nutritional labels.

So, research says that caffeine inhibits calcium reabsorption in the renal tubules and interferes with vitamin D, which affects calcium absorption. Similarly, caffeine inhibits vitamin D receptors, preventing its absorption.

 Then, as this conclusion says, insufficient vitamin D in the body causes the body to not effectively use calcium from ingested foods or supplements.

 Then, how does insufficient vitamin D affect calcium absorption? 

The body needs enough vitamin D to make active vitamin D, known as “hormone calcitriol.” The body requires this hormone to use calcium in foods and supplements. 

  • Additionally, foods containing iron, particularly non-heme iron, are difficult for the body to absorb into the bloodstream when combined with inhibitors. 

The main inhibitors of iron when one takes coffee or tea have not always been caffeine but some other components in them, such as polyphenols in coffee and tea; chlorogenic acids in coffee and cocoa. 

These components bind iron during digestion, reducing the amount absorbed by the body. 

Though caffeine has not had much effect on iron absorption, especially heme sources(animal meats), this sentiment is much safer for healthy people. 

Plus, studies found that caffeine itself binds only 6% of iron, which is not that bad. 

But those facing iron deficiencies should separate iron-rich foods from caffeine and foods rich in polyphenols, whereby one as black tea and coffee. 

How to solve caffeine intake when it doesn't go with some nutrients (particularly for those wishing to solve a deficiency): 

For foods containing nutrients that don't go along with caffeine—separating and allocating time to take them is the solution. 

So, if you have a demand for a certain nutrient, for example, calcium, consuming caffeine an hour after or before your demanded nutrient is better. 

3. Caffeine intake in pregnancy 

Although the guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists state that it's safe for pregnant women to consume up to 200mg of caffeine a day. 

It makes sense when they take a few precautions; sticking to less than 200 mg or just taking up to 200 mg seems fine. 

As a result, exceeding the stated levels is thought to cause low birth weight or an increased risk of miscarriage.

However, miscarriage case due to caffeine is still indecisive. Similarly, another study says, ”Too much caffeine in pregnant women may cause the blood vessels in the uterus and placenta to constrict, thus reducing the supply of blood to the growing fetus.”

Be aware that nutrients are transported when blood is transported. So, an inhibited blood supply with nutrients may inhibit the fetus's growth. 


4. Caffeine becomes unhealthy when taken by young children or those underage. 

However, the guidelines stated that caffeine should be prohibited for young children below 12 years of age; some families still give their children caffeine. 

Plus, the most consumed caffeine by children in most households has been recorded to be in cola drinks and tea.

 So, the question is: what does the research find about children’s health when introduced to caffeine? On the positive side of it, the study found that it improves the children’s cognitive level—intelligence and motor activity.

 However, on the negative side, which troubles their health, caffeine influenced the change in sleep time among the kids and caused them anxiety and depression. 

Sleep is good for children because it incites the release of growth hormones. Children need to grow to complete the term “growth and development.” And growth aids a desirable weight for an ideal nutritional status.


Can caffeine be an allergen?

Caffeine allergies are quite rare, particularly those associated with drinking coffee or tea.

 Allergies linked to caffeine are truly there but commonly associated with their dust, or someone's skin coming into contact with the coffee beans.

 However, it's not a joke to say that some individuals experience reactions after taking caffeinated drinks, like coffee or tea. And the symptoms are very severe.


Some of the symptoms seen in caffeine allergies appear just 30 minutes after taking the substance. 

The symptoms come out after an individual's body flags the substance as a foreign protein, the same as the harmful microorganisms intruding into a person's body. 

So, the body produces an antibody known as “immunoglobulin E” that provokes the cells to produce histamine to get rid of the invader.


Henceforth, these symptoms are due to caffeine allergies:


Rashes on the skin and itches—in the stomach and the throat were also seen to be itching; diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, and heart palpitations. However, check with your doctor to correctly verify the symptoms because some mean a different complaint.


So, solutions to this are to stop taking caffeinated beverages and to better consider an option with your dietitian and doct

Edward K.E

Nutrition fit the health of all

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