Caffeine is prevalent in so many of our common indulgences like coffee, soda, energy drinks and chocolate. But it’s also a bona fide stimulant, not unlike cocaine, that affects the central nervous system. Accordingly, this addictive substance can play a role in many health maladies like heart palpitations, high blood pressure, constipation, diarrhea, ulcers, restlessness and sleeplessness. (And to the extent that you “get by” on less sleep due to your caffeine intake, you then open yourself up to all of the potential issues associated with inadequate rest, like premature aging.) Caffeine is also a known diuretic, depletes your body of iron, potassium, calcium and trace minerals, causes a quantifiably acidic reaction in the blood, and can be heavily addictive.
The addictive nature of caffeine can create a vicious cycle in and of itself because, like many other kinds of stimulants, your body will typically develop an immunity to caffeine and you will often need increased amounts to get the same pick-me-up effect that you got with considerably less. This is why the serving sizes and/or frequency of caffeinated products tend to increase over time for most caffeine consumers.
Additionally, caffeine can upset your body’s natural hormonal balance which, in turn, can lead to a number of other symptoms like irritability, anxiety, nervousness, heartburn, hypertension, headaches and various levels of fatigue. Many caffeinated beverages also have something called tannic acid in them. This is a known gastrointestinal irritant that is notorious for interfering with your body’s proper absorption of other key nutrients.
With countless cups of coffee and the over-50-million sodas sucked down in the U.S. everyday, I understand it may be a tall order to suggest eliminating one’s caffeine consumption. And yes, the ultimate dangers of caffeine are somewhat commensurate to the amount one consumes. But I still must advise: “Just say no!”