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    Today's fun? Looking up records in peer reviewed journals to find out if Caffeine is still thought to be as dangerous as it used to be. The stuff commonly cited on the internet is old news, and several years ago there was a paper by the national geographic society that refuted the dangers of caffeine- if taken in moderation.

    The latest findings on coffee suggest that it even staves off disease. Caffeine reduces the risk of Parkinson's disease, for example, by blocking receptors for adenosine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motor function. It is now being tested as a Parkinson's treatment. Caffeine also heads off migraines by contracting blood vessels in the brain.

    And probably because coffee, like blueberries and broccoli, contains potent antioxidants, it appears to reduce the risk of colon cancer, gallstones, and liver cancer, among other illnesses. In 2005, Harvard researchers found that drinking six cups of coffee or more daily cut the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by half in men and 30 percent in women. One study of 80,000 women showed that those who drank more than two or three cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of suicide over 10 years by a third.

    Alas, that glorious rush of energy isn't entirely benign. Numerous studies have found no link between caffeine and cardiovascular disease. But it can cause anxiety, jitters, and heart palpitations, particularly in people who are sensitive to it. It also can cause stomach pain and gastrointestinal reflux, may make it harder for a woman to get pregnant, and may increase the risk of miscarriage or a low-birth-weight baby. Doctors advise pregnant women to give up caffeine, or keep consumption down to a cup or two of coffee daily.

    -Shute, N., Ewers, J., & Go, A. (2007, April 27). Over the Limit?. Us News and World Report 142, 14, 65-8.

    Other studies show that in low doses it may reduce perception of muscular pain;

    -Motl, R. W., P. J. O'Connor, L. Tubandt, T. Puetz, and M. R. Ely. Effect of Caffeine on Leg Muscle Pain during Cycling Exercise among Females. Med. Sci. Sports Exert., Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 598-604, 2006.

    -Turley, K. R., and J. W. Gerst. Effects of Caffeine on Physiological Responses to Exercise in Young Boys and Girls. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 520-526, 2006

    -Stuart, G. R., W. G. Hopkins, C. Cook, and S. P. Cairns. Multiple Effects of Caffeine on Simulated High-Intensity Team-Sport Performance. Med, Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 37, No. 11, pp. 1998-2005, 2005.

    Although a study by others casts doubt on the affect of caffeine on speed in athletes (sprinters in this case).

    -Paton, C. D., W. G. Hopkins, and L. Vollebregt. Little effect of caffeine ingestion on repeated sprints in team-sport athletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 33, No. 5, 2001, pp. 822-825.

    So what's this all mean? I believe it means take it in moderation. Don't panic, don't over-do it. Drink your caffeine wisely, and if you start to feel some of the negative side effects, STOP.

    There's a LOT of peer-reviewed studies on the substance out there; don't be afraid to do your own looking, and come up with your own opinions.

    And you know what? Even if the publications had been negative, I would still drink my coffees, and have my mountain dew.