Mar. 12th, 2003 09:48 pm:
[Trasnscribed from Xanga]

On a recent trip to the Great Northwest, where he spoke about research showing that caffeine alters the brain’s biochemistry in the same manner as cocaine, University of Texas Southwestern psychiatry Professor James Bibb rented a car and drove from Vancouver to Seattle.

What he saw was a case of mass addiction to what he calls “America’s drug of choice” – caffeine.

“It’s like a fashion statement up there now to have this gigantic cup of coffee with you at all times,” said Bibb. “Every hundred yards in Seattle, you see one of those drive-though espresso bars. It tells me something’s going on and we should be paying more attention to this.”

Not to worry. People will pay attention because they consume copious quantities of this centuries-old morning fuel. Caffeine intake, of course, is not restricted to the Northwest. It’s everywhere.

More than half the adults in the United States drink coffee regularly, according to the National Coffee Association.

Other estimates include this staggering statistic: Ninety per cent of the country ingests caffeine in some form – coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, etc.; caffeine historian Mark Pendergrast reports that 120,000 tons of substances containing caffeine are consumed daily worldwide.

A study by the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois showed that more than half of American adults consume more than the recommended 200 milligrams per day. (An average cup of coffee, 6 ounces, has 150 mg.)

That’s a lot of people feeling a buzz. The question: Is it healthy?

The answer depends on which research study consumers consult, which self-help book they read.

Caffeine detractors report the drug raises blood pressure to worrying heights, interferes with REM sleep cycles, unnaturally stimulates gastric acid secretion, contributes to pancreatic cancer, speeds the onset of osteoporosis, impairs thought processes by constricting blood vessels, heightens the risk of stroke and rheumatoid arthritis, and elevates the body’s reaction to stress.

Caffeine supporters report the drug can help prevent cancer of the colon and increase cognitive performance and it may prevent Alzheimer’s disease, help those with asthma, serve as an early warning sign of kidney failure, reduce tumors in breast cancer patients, ease depression, and provide the body with helpful antioxidants.

Bibb’s work has centered on how caffeine alters biochemical makeup. Other researchers and he found that caffeine blocks a chemical called adenosine from hooking up with receptors in the mid-brain area.

“Adenosine’s job is to balance the rewarding feeling of dopamine, kind of making sure it’s not too rewarding,” he said. “When you start antagonizing those receptors with caffeine, thins become more rewarding. That’s the same kind of reaction that cocaine or Ritalin or meth has on the body.

“Caffeine is a couple of steps down on the severity chart from cocaine on how it affects dopamine receptors. But you can see how people can become addicted.”

There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable and drinkable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.
-Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

 


3 Comments


Kudos for the wonderful quotation at the end. Made quite a statement. Let's here it for coffee!
~Stephanie
Posted 3/13/2003 12:24 AM by SexyStephie


Good post! I know that I am not alone when i say my daily caffeine intake is wayyyy above the "recommended"
Posted 3/19/2003 7:27 PM by cherrybaybee


love it very true and speks to every one i also verry much like the quote keep up the good work
Posted 3/19/2003 8:23 PM by firefarie

start new thread