Coffee is surely a miraculous pick-up drink for millions of people all over the world who love to enjoy it as daily cuppa coffee. Caffeine is presumed to be the world’s most commonly consumed psychoactive substance. Indeed, caffeine can be considered as a mixed bag. It liaises with both advantages and disadvantages.
For instance, It increases alertness while reducing fatigue and primarily affect the neural activity in the brain. It thus acts as a central nervous system stimulant. On the other hand, it is also capable of destroying your stomach lining, mess up with your sleep patterns, increase your blood pressure and so on.
A certain amount of caffeine is not bad for your health but the issue arises when you are highly addicted to caffeine. Once your body becomes dependent on caffeine, eliminating it from the diet can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that generally begin within a few hours after stopping caffeine.
There are a lot of temptation factors since caffeine is available in many forms and is very accessible. For example, you can find a coffee shop in every corner that provides you with coffee or tea.
Signs And Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal
Although it might seem very unusual, Caffeine withdrawal is also a recognized medical diagnosis and can affect anyone who regularly consumes caffeine.
Headache is the most common symptom of caffeine withdrawal. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels in the brain which slows the blood flow. Studies suggest that cerebral blood flow is reduced by as much as 27% by mere intake of fewer than three cups of coffee.
This means caffeine consumption causes blood vessels to narrow and when you stop or reduce the intake of caffeine, it allows the blood vessels to open up and increases the blood flow.
As your brain adapts to this sudden change in the blood flow, the withdrawal headaches occur which may vary in length and severity. Headaches slowly reduce as our brain adapts to this increase in blood flow.
Although caffeine withdrawal causes headaches, it is used to treat certain types of headaches like migraines. It is believed to be enhancing the power of pain-relieving medications when consumed on its own.
Difficulty in concentration
One of the basic reasons why people choose to consume caffeine in the form of coffee, tea or energy drinks is to boost concentration. Most people consume caffeinated beverages before appearing for tests, athletic events or presentations simply to improve focus. In occasion of stress, the adrenal gland present in our body produces a hormone called adrenaline that regulates the level of stress.
Caffeine generally increases the level of adrenaline in our body and it boosts the activity of the excitatory neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
This combination reaction tends to raise the heartbeat, blood pressure and stimulates the brain causing increased alertness and improved focus. When you cut caffeine, it can negatively impact concentration as the body still struggles to become accustomed to functioning without it.
Many people are dependent upon a daily cup of coffee to give them the required boost of energy. By blocking the receptors for adenosine, a neurotransmitter that generally makes you feel drowsy, caffeine helps in increasing alertness and reducing fatigue.
This is one of the main reasons as to why it is proven to enhance athletic performance by improving their energy and reducing their chronic fatigue. Thus, eliminating caffeine from the diet can have the opposite effect causing drowsiness and fatigue.
People who consume caffeine daily have more severe withdrawal symptoms including fatigue than those who consume it a few times in a week.
Generally, the energizing effects of caffeine last for about four to six hours so to maintain alertness throughout the day, one would need multiple cups of coffee. This ultimately leads to excessive intake and dependence on caffeine making withdrawal symptoms much worse.
Caffeine is a stimulant that is responsible for increased heart rate, blood pressure and basically the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. People who have developed sensitivity towards caffeine, even one cup of coffee can cause them to feel anxious and jittery. No doubt consuming caffeine cause the feelings of anxiousness but cutting it down can cause side effects as well.
People who withdraw from regular caffeine consumption usually report anxiety as a symptom. The body is ought to become mentally or psychologically dependent on it, causing the feeling of anxiety.
Further, if you are habituated to consume the majority of the caffeine in the form of soda or sugar-sweetened coffee, the sudden reduction in sugar may make caffeine withdrawal-induced anxiety even worse. Many studies have confirmed the fact that removing sugar from the diet after a long period of sugar consumption can cause symptoms of anxiety.
Caffeine is quite well known for its ability to elevate mood. It’s a tendency to block adenosine not only increases alertness but also has been found to improve mood. Few studies have linked regular caffeine consumption to a reduced risk of depression.
A study on over 50,000 women found that women who had four or more cups of coffee per day have a 20% lower risk of depression than women who had little or no coffee. The stimulant effects of caffeine are believed to lead to feelings of well-being and increased energy.
This effect fades away when caffeine intake ends and this is the reason why your mood may take a hit if you decide to quit caffeine.
Most of the people who consume caffeinated beverages and food is looking for a way to improve their lagging energy levels. Generally, people reach out for external sources of energy like coffee or energy drinks to revive themselves as lifestyle factors like poor sleep, demanding jobs and unhealthy diets drain their energies.
Caffeinated beverages are generally used as an alternative to deliver the energy needed to make up through the day or to compensate for the lack of sleep. Sipping a cup of coffee or energy drinks lead to feelings of increased physical and mental energy as it boosts concentration by increasing the heart rate and blood sugar.
These continuous desired effects can lead to caffeine dependency causing the need for more and more caffeine consumption to produce the same energy boost.
This is one of the major reasons why low energy is a common complaint of people who try to reduce or eliminate caffeine.
Regular coffee drinkers are generally cranky before they have their morning cup of joy. The caffeine in coffee is the main culprit for this feeling of irritability. This is also because the effect of the caffeine lasts in our body system for four to six hours and symptoms like irritability occur after a night’s rest.
Coffee drinkers are mostly used to the mood enhancement effect of caffeine and the boost of energy they receive. Thus, for some weaning off caffeinated beverages like coffee causes them to become irritable and moody.
Moreover, it’s quite difficult for heavy caffeine users to cut back on the amount they are accustomed to without negatively impacting their mood. A study on caffeine-dependent adults reveals that although they desired to cut back on caffeine, they severely failed in their efforts due to withdrawal symptoms including irritability and anger.
This symptom is not as common as other symptoms but those who have serious dependency on caffeine can experience tremors in case of caffeine withdrawal.
The common side effects of drinking too much caffeine, the central nervous system stimulant, include jittery, anxiousness and having shaky hands. In fact, people with an anxiety disorder are usually advised to not consume caffeine to avoid worsening feelings of anxiousness.
Nevertheless, for people who consume large amounts of caffeine daily, quitting all of a sudden can also lead to tremors. Tremors related to caffeine withdrawal usually occur in the hands and lasts for two to nine days. In case you are experiencing hand tremors that last longer than nine days, immediately consult your doctor to rule out other causes.
Reduced Urination or Constipation
Kicking off caffeine could lead to temporary constipation until your body gets accustomed to the lack of caffeine. Caffeine is basically diuretic that means it makes you urinate more. As it contains the energy-increasing stimulant, it creates bladder urgency by filling the bladder more quickly. So when you reduce caffeine intake, it could result in less urination.
You can simply balance this effect by increasing fibre in your diet and by including more whole grains, beans and vegetables.
What should be the Weaning Strategy?
Quitting coffee all of a sudden is not a good idea so you should take it slow.
You can reduce the caffeine proportion by reducing the amount of coffee and keeping the amount of water the same.
Remarkable benefits of quitting Caffeine
All the above signs of caffeine withdrawal lead to some really beneficial changes in your body.
- To begin with, switch over to a skimmed version from a high-fat version of coffee
- To reduce the calorie content, make it sugar-free
- Switch over to lower caffeine content drinks
- Moving onto half regular combined with half decaf is the next stage
- You can substitute your morning cup of coffee with green tea or lemon water
- You need to switch over to caffeine-free options
- You can check out for lower caffeine blends
Quitting caffeine might be a difficult task but it comes with the following benefits.
If you are struggling to reduce weight, giving up coffee could help immensely. Your pounds could fall off if you simply stop drinking coffee.
Intake of excessive caffeine might increase the temptation for sweets. The reason lying behind this is that caffeine tends to reduce your perception of sweetness and dampens the taste receptors, so you generally end up taking more sweets.
Caffeine produces a hormone called cortisol that increases levels of blood sugar and increases fat. What can be worse if these fat deposits are relocated to the abdomen? And you typically end up with coffee belly! Hence, quitting caffeine can actually help you reduce that waistline.
Low Blood Pressure
Caffeine tends to increase blood pressure by a few points. So, quitting it could result in lower blood pressure where your heart doesn’t need to work that hard. Doctors generally advise patients to avoid coffee before checking the blood pressure because it interferes with the accurate measurement.
If you check your blood pressure before a cup of caffeine and half an hour after drinking a cup of coffee, you will find an increase of about ten points, so long as you have developed a tolerance for it.
Better Sleep Patterns
It is well known to everyone that coffee is used to combat sleepiness during the daytime and when you give up coffee, you will find that your sleep pattern gets better. Caffeine contains stimulants that are ought to interfere with your sleep and this stands to reason why quitting it would be a good option.
A Decrease In Adrenaline Levels
Caffeine acts as a stimulant for neuron activity within the brain. This gives alert to adrenals which generate more adrenaline as well as cortisol, resulting in your body to turn in a flight mode. If you have many cups of coffee a day then your nervous system is constantly on red alert mode.
Giving up caffeine will bring down your adrenaline levels although you might experience tiredness and exhaustion but it reduces your anxiety levels. Insomnia will also be reduced thus helping you sleep better.
You might still be wondering whether kicking out coffee is a good idea? There are many people out there who say, giving up caffeine has changed their life for the better. Maybe one day you will realize that you were overly dependent on this black brew. Dependency on a drug, any drug or anything is surely a bad idea and is going to hit you someday or other.
Even if you are currently having a cup or two, it is still a dependency. Breaking up with any addiction is not easy. And if your body has been addicted to caffeine for a long period, you surely need to wean it away slowly by reducing the amount by a little at a time.
So what kind of breaking up you are going to have, a sudden break or a slow fade?