A Better yOU: Caffeine

If you are like most college students, you probably have some sort of caffeine addiction. We often use caffeine as an alternative to getting enough sleep when we’re up all night studying, partying or catching up on Netflix. Whether it’s coffee, energy drinks, tea or another form of caffeine, it’s no surprise that about 90% of adults consume caffeine every day. Caffeine is a stimulant, and many rely on their morning cup of joe to get them through the day. Yes, caffeine may make us feel more energized, but is it good for us? Yes and no…

Research shows that caffeine can help prevent diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and some cancers as well as reduce the risk of dementia and Parkinson’s; in addition, it can improve memory and concentration. About 300 to 400 milligrams of caffeine, or about 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day, is considered the safe amount.

Isn’t it great to know that we can have our coffee and drink it too (or whatever that saying is)? However, caffeine does have its disadvantages. When we drink too much caffeine we start to become dependent on it. Remember that caffeine is a drug, and you can have withdrawals from it. Obviously, you’ll never see someone admitted to a rehab facility for caffeine withdrawal. So, as we know, people that drink caffeine daily are not serious “drug users” and will only experience mild symptoms including headache, increased fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and reduced concentration for maybe a few days. If you need to cut back on caffeine consumption, it might be a good idea to do this gradually to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Caffeine can also disrupt sleep patterns and cause insomnia, increase blood pressure and blood glucose levels, cause acid reflux and decrease bone density. However, if you stick with low doses of caffeine on occasion, your risk of these caffeine cons is fairly low.

Despite these correlations between caffeine consumption and its effects on our health, there is still research being conducted to confirm these effects.  “Researchers haven’t found exactly what causes these benefits,” according to AARP. “It could be, for example, that coffee drinkers are more active and social. Or it could be that one of the more than 1,000 compounds that coffee naturally contains boosts our health. We don’t know.” So, keep on drinking those delicious lattes, espressos, and Red Bulls, but do so in moderation.

Resources: WebMD, AARP.org, Mayo Clinic

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This article is for informational purposes only. No guarantee made as to the accuracy of this information. If you are in need of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, contact Oakland University Graham Health Center at 248-370-2341.

Upcoming environmental, health, and wellness events:

  • Student Congress Talkin’ Trash 2, March 29th, 10:00am – 12:00pm, Meet in Fireside Lounge
  • Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection General Meeting, March 31st, 12:00pm – 1:00pm, Lake Superior A Room in the Oakland Center
  • Becoming a Community Health Advocate: A Discussion Panel on Smoking & University Campuses, March 30th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, 203 O’Dowd Hall