One of America’s most widely used drugs? Caffeine. Yes, there is a drug in that cup of joe of yours. Drug, noun: “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.”
So let’s clear up some confusion; just because caffeine is a drug/substance, there are both health benefits and side effects linked to the consumption of it.
As the World Health Organization recommends, most healthy individuals are able to consume up to 300 mg of caffeine per day without many major hazards to your longevity and wellness. However, this is a generally broad recommendation; caffeine impacts individuals differently, according to many factors such as current state of health, age, and body weight, just to name a few. For example, one study from the NCBI showed how the consumption of coffee in healthy women and women with Type 2 diabetes had decreased inflammation, while another study from NCBI done on athletes after running a 15-km race had shown an increase in inflammatory cytokines in the body.
Here is a table of both health benefits* and possible drawbacks of caffeine:
*While there are several studies on caffeine that date way back, and as it continues to be studied, one must note that the “benefits” of caffeine are not direct causations for such outcomes.
At the same time, many of the side effects or drawbacks of caffeine may arise with different dosages and each individual person’s sensitivity to the substance.
If you are experiencing any negative side effects, or are concerned with the usage of your caffeine intake, especially if you have a certain health condition or are pregnant, always be sure to have a discussion with your doctor about appropriate levels of caffeine intake for you. If you are not someone who already regularly uses caffeine, there is no literature that supports that anyone should start, but if you’re like several of the vast majority of the population who does use caffeine, it is good to learn about its impact on your body and mind, and how to adjust your intake as needed.