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December 2, 2005

A little More About Coffee: Mixed Signals!

Topics: Health Issues

caffeine_brain.jpg[Image - Brain on caffeine (Almost MD)]

Coffee has been in the news the last couple of days, and it's the old good news/bad news story, depending on who uses it, how much, and how often.

A study led by Johns Hopkins investigators has shown that women with a serious caffeine habit and a family history of alcohol abuse are more likely to ignore advice to stop using caffeine during pregnancy. Withdrawal symptoms, functional impairment and craving were cited by the women as reasons they could not cut out or cut back on caffeine use.

Just yesterday, we heard that a cup of coffee is good for short term memory. However, we know that caffeine (1,3,7-trimethyl xanthine), exerts influence on the function of the normal brain, but we still need to learn more about caffeine's effect on mental resources. And for some coffee consumers that may be sensitive to caffeine, they need to read what amounts to a consumer warning of caffeine side effects, because there is such a thing as a caffeine overdose.

Yet, again on the postive side, caffeine has shown activity as an antioxidant, and capable of the inhibition of lipid peroxidation induced by reactive oxygen species.

However, caffeine and its catabolic products theobromine and xanthine have also been shown to exhibit both antioxidant and prooxidant properties (that's mostly a bad thing).

And drinking decaffeinated coffee may be harmful to heart health.

So what's a coffee lover to make of all this? Do we give coffee a thumbs up or a thumbs down?

Try moderation, and don't try to make too much of a good thing.

Related: Wake up and sell the coffee

Posted by Richard at December 2, 2005 10:47 AM

Richard... stop saying bad things about caffeine. I seriously can say that it was easier to quit smoking that it is to give up my 5:00am Pepsi habit. Which is followed by at least 8 more cans through out the day.
It may explain why I haven't had more than 4 hours of sleep in one night for the last 8 years. But I prefer that to the body numbing migraines I get when I go without.

Posted by: L. at December 2, 2005 12:26 PM

Great article ... but what is moderation? 4-5 cups?

Posted by: tim at December 2, 2005 5:59 PM

Tim... 9. NINE is moderation. Because if it isn't I am in big trouble.

Posted by: L. at December 2, 2005 11:27 PM

I will continue to stick with my skim milk cappuccino because the milk content is necessary for strong bones.

Moderation for me with regards to coffee is two or three cups per day. The remainder of the day I drink tea.

Oh yes, when I am suffering fatigue and brain fog, especially when I am working and I begin to fall asleep, a cup of coffee plus cocoa is just the shot as a perk me up.

Can I sleep after this form of consumption? I am the only person that I know who can drink coffee and still fall asleep. If I am awake it is for other reasons (read pain)

Posted by: Maggie4Life Author Profile Page at December 7, 2005 1:03 AM

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