What Is Caffeine Tolerance?
If you're wondering why your midday stimulant isn't having the same "punch" as before, you may be experiencing what science calls "caffeine tolerance."
But before we jump into caffeine tolerance, we must take a step back and discuss the role caffeine plays in the body. According to the US National Library of Medicine, caffeine is a plant-derived stimulant that has many effects on the body, from acting as a central nervous system stimulant to a diuretic.
Although caffeine's initial effects on the central nervous system peak an hour after consumption, they have the potential to last up to six hours. If you notice that the initial hour-long stimulus is weaker than it used to be, you may have increased your tolerance for caffeine. See how it happened.
How does tolerance to caffeine develop?
Your body is equipped with adenosine receptors in your brain that help regulate sleep, arousal, and cognition. Caffeine blocks the binding of adenosine molecules to these receptors, allowing you to feel the burst of "energy" that usually coincides with caffeine consumption.
However, according to nutrition expert Lindsey Janerio, RDN, owner of NutritiontoFit.com, "Caffeine tolerance develops with routine caffeine consumption. This increases the amount of adenosine receptors which, in turn, decreases the effects of caffeine, creating tolerance to caffeine. "
Although a first animal study from the 1980s looking at increased adenosine receptors with chronic caffeine exposure is still cited throughout the literature, very few current studies are conducted with humans such as guinea pigs because to the serious side effects of caffeine consumption.
How Much Caffeine is "Excess"?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to deciding how much caffeine is safe for each individual and their personal health. Each person is unique in how quickly they metabolize and break down caffeine, so it is important to understand your own tolerance.
Most healthy people can tolerate a cup of coffee or a caffeinated alternative drink without problems. However, the only way to really know your tolerance for caffeine is to explore and observe how your body responds after consuming it.
According to the recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), each life stage has specific recommendations on caffeine consumption, such as limiting caffeine intake if you are pregnant and / or breastfeeding, or avoiding caffeine altogether if you have less than two years.
That said, there really is no "recommended" amount of consumption set for the general public. Instead, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the DGA have established that up to 400 mg of caffeine per day (roughly the equivalent of four to five cups of coffee) is unlikely to be associated with negative and dangerous side effects in the country. healthy average person.
Nutritionist Jessi Holden, MS, RDN, Holden Nutrition, shares that not all types of caffeine have the same effect on the body. "Those who have (or are at risk of developing) cardiovascular disease or hypertension may want to be more cautious about consuming caffeine from tea due to research6 showing an increase in cardiovascular disease events."
Similar effects have also been seen with energy drinks. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), the increase in consumption of energy drinks and lower doses of energy doubled the number of emergency room visits and hospitalizations between 2007 and 2011.
Energy drinks often contain caffeine, as well as other ingredients with added caffeine, making it difficult to decipher the actual amount of caffeine in these drinks.
This poses a security problem. Additionally, consuming these beverages can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, along with sleep disturbances, digestive problems, and dehydration.
How to know if you have a tolerance to caffeine
Although research in this area is limited, Janerio and Holden share the same theory when discussing caffeine tolerance: If you notice that caffeine doesn't affect you in the same way as before, chances are you've developed a tolerance to caffeine.
Holden explains: "If you are someone who drinks a cup of coffee to start the day because you like it, you are more alert, but as time goes by, keep in mind that the same cup of coffee does not quite fit, so you drink Plus, you've probably developed a tolerance to caffeine.
Soon, you may be drinking an extra cup in the morning and need a caffeine boost in the afternoon. Personal experience tells me we just need to examine our habits and take a look at our caffeine intake and how we tolerate it.
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