Given below are some common and interesting myths and facts about caffeine:
Myth No. 1: Caffeine is Addictive
FACT: As mentioned previously, caffeine is not strictly addictive, but it can cause a certain amount of dependence in a person who consumes caffeine on a regular basis, as caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. For this reason, withdrawal from caffeine should be slow to avoid withdrawal symptoms which include headache, anxiety, fatigue, depressed mood, irritability and difficulty in concentrating. The dependency of caffeine is not a dangerous addiction as is the addiction to drugs.
Myth No. 2: Caffeine causes Insomnia
FACT: The caffeine gets quickly absorbed by our body and also gets as quickly eliminated from the body. Caffeine is processed primarily through the liver and has a short half-life, which means that in about 6 to 7 hours, 50% of the caffeine is eliminated from the body and after about 8 to 10 hours, about 2/3rds of the caffeine is gone. So, we can safely say that having coffee in the morning will not interfere with sleep at night. However, consuming caffeine in the later hours of the day is a different story and can disturb a person's sleep. So for sensitive individuals, it is recommended that caffeine is avoided about six hours before the sleeping time.
Myth No. 3: Caffeine Increases the Risk of Osteoporosis
FACT: Very high levels of caffeine can accelerate loss of magnesium and calcium via urine. However, if a person is taking sufficient calcium and taking caffeine in moderation then there is no cause for worry as far as the risk for bone loss is concerned. The risk of osteoporosis with caffeine consumption is more in older adults, especially postmenopausal women.
Myth No. 4: Caffeine Increases the Risk of Cancer
FACT: According to many studies, caffeine does not increase the risk of cancer and on the contrary, it can protect against certain types of cancers.
Myth No. 5: Caffeine Increases the Risk of Heart Disease
FACT: Caffeine consumption does cause a mild, temporary increase in the blood pressure as well as the heart rate, especially in those individuals who are sensitive to caffeine. However, caffeine is not linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, irregular heartbeats and higher cholesterol. People who already are suffering from heart problems and high blood pressure need to consult their doctor regarding caffeine consumption, as they may be more sensitive to the effects of the caffeine.
Myth No. 6: Caffeine causes Dehydration
FACT: Caffeine acts a mild diuretic and does tend to increase the urine output in sensitive individuals, such as those who suffer from urinary incontinence. However, it is not to that extent to cause actual dehydration in anyone.
Myth No. 7: Caffeine is Harmful for Pregnant Women
FACT: According to studies, there is no harm to the mother or the fetus if caffeine is consumed in less quantities.
Myth No. 8: Caffeine Helps with Hangover or Helps in Sobering Up
FACT: According to research, psychology plays a large part in "sobering" people after consuming caffeine. People "think" they are sober than being actually sober after taking caffeine. So people who think it is okay to drink and drive if they also take caffeine with alcohol are wrong and the risk of accidents is the same with both caffeine and alcohol as is with drinking alcohol alone.
So the next time you peer into your steaming mug of coffee, there is no need to wonder about this muddy concoction, as you can enjoy it with more relish now that you are armed with more information about this intriguing substance, caffeine, present in your brew.