Caffeine: What you need to know about the effects and side effects of coffee, tea and energy drinks

Caffeine: What you need to know about the effects and side effects of coffee, tea and energy drinks

Whether on the way to the office, after lunch, just in between or because you have a long day ahead of you and are fighting against fatigue. Beverages with caffeine, such as coffee, are very popular. Especially because they help with alertness, concentration, attention, memory improvement and physical performance enhancement. Here you can find out what caffeine does to you and what advantages you can use for yourself with the optimal dose of caffeine.

True to the motto: "Without coffee? Without me!" a cup of coffee or tea is part of the morning routine as a wake-up call and has the effect that you start the day with energy. After water, “the black gold” is one of them most popular beverages and is consumed around the world in daily quantities of 1,6 billion cups. Energy drinks are also a widespread form of caffeine intake, which are now available in all possible flavors and are particularly popular with younger people. All of these drinks contain caffeine.


What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant, is now the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance worldwide and is the home remedy for tiredness and exhaustion. The natural origin lies in leaves, seeds and nuts and is contained in more than 60 plants, e.g. in coffee beans, in the tea bush, mate tree and the kola nut.

The most popular way of consuming caffeine is coffee. But the active ingredient is also found in luxury foods such as black tea, chocolate, cocoa drinks and soft drinks. Caffeine has a stimulating effect, helps against tiredness and improves your concentration and performance. It mainly works in the brain. So what happens in your body after you drink coffee, for example?



Effects of caffeine: how is the brain stimulated?

The effects of caffeine come on quickly as the substance is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream within 20 minutes, is distributed throughout the body and also crosses the blood-brain barrier. The absorption of caffeine is fully developed after about 45 minutes. But where does the effect come from? How does caffeine affect the brain? Why does this help with wakefulness and how long does caffeine work?

The body's own messenger substance adenosine is responsible, in addition to causing the feeling of exhaustion, to inhibit the activity of your nerve cells in the brain when you have used a lot of energy. The concentration of adenosine builds up over the course of the day and basically protects you from overexertion and makes you feel tired.

In terms of its chemical structure, caffeine is very similar to adenosine in the brain. This allows caffeine to bind to the adenosine receptors and synapses according to the lock and key principle. So if the adenosine receptors are blocked by the caffeine, adenosine can no longer dock and is therefore not activated. The result: You feel more alert and your attention increases.


Morning grouch sleepyhead sits under the blanket


The adenosine level in the bloodstream depends on the energy status of your cells. This means; The higher your consumption of the cell-internal energy carrier adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body, the higher the adenosine concentration and signals to you that you are tired. In addition, the ATP receptors and GABA receptors are also blocked, which is why the Neurotransmitters Dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine are released. This in turn stimulates your heart and the central nervous system and causes blood vessels in the brain to constrict. Consuming caffeine has the effect of improving your well-being and mood.


Duration of effect caffeine: how long does the active ingredient last?

The effect of caffeine is one Half-life of 2 to 5 hours. Several external factors play a role in the breakdown of caffeine and influence how long the substance is in your metabolism and when you excrete caffeine again.

Depending on the duration of the effect of caffeine are, for example

  • Smoking
  • Ingestion
  • Gastric emptying
  • Pregnancy
  • liver disease
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Viral infections
  • simultaneous drug use


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If you are a caffeine junkie, you have a habituation effect and a higher tolerance. This develops after 6–15 days of regular caffeine intake and has an impact on your nerve cells. When the substance is consumed for a longer period of time, these change and form more receptors due to the lack of adenosine signals. In people who are not so used to the active ingredient, the duration of the caffeine effect is logically longer.

In smokers, the duration decreases by 30–50% because of the nicotine, as the substance doubles the rate at which caffeine is broken down. For women using oral contraceptives, it is interesting to know that the pill inhibits the breakdown of caffeine. This means that, despite the same dosage, the coffee or tea may work longer for you than, for example, for your boyfriend or girlfriend who uses a different method of contraception.


How Much Caffeine a Day is OK?

Surely you've heard before that too much caffeine is harmful. But more on that later. But how much caffeine a day is good for the body? A maximum dose of 400 mg caffeine per day is recommended. In our overview you will find some caffeine-containing products that show you how many mg of caffeine is recommended in cups of coffee, etc., per day. Note the amount of the cup size here. In addition, the caffeine content can vary depending on the serving size of the coffee powder, etc.

Is caffeine okay during pregnancy too? If you are pregnant, the European Food Safety Authority recommends no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day to consume distributed.



Caffeine content from natural sources of caffeine:

  • Coffee (150 ml): approx. 30–100 mg caffeine
  • Espresso (30 ml): approx. 40 mg caffeine
  • Black tea: up to 50 mg caffeine, depending on how it is prepared
  • Guarana: 4–9 g caffeine per 100 g dry matter
  • Cocoa (150 ml): approx. 6 mg caffeine
  • Whole milk chocolate (100 g): 15 mg of caffeine
  • Semi-dark chocolate (100 g): 90 mg caffeine


Products with synthetically produced caffeine:

  • Cola (200 ml): 25 mg of caffeine
  • Energy drink (250 ml): up to 80 mg caffeine
  • Coffee candies (100 g): 80–500 mg caffeine
  • “Aspirin forte” (per tablet): 50 mg of caffeine
  • Caffeine tablets: 100–200 mg caffeine


The benefits and effects of caffeine

Caffeine can not only declare war on tiredness, but also helps to relieve discomfort and Thanks to its analgesic effect, it is even found in medication. Maybe it has helped you with a headache before. Studies have also shown that long-term and regular use of the substance can lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Caffeinated drinks are therefore interesting for all age groups from teenage years.


Woman with a cup of tea


Although there is caffeine in both drinks, tea is found to be more relaxing compared to coffee. The explanation lies in the theanine found in tea. Caffeine works synergistically with theanine and has similar cognitive effects as caffeine alone. However, they have the opposite effect on arousal. While caffeine emphasizes physiological and perceived stress reactions, theanine weakens them. One study found that tasks were done more carefully, mentally Increase concentration and the alertness improved significantly, as well as the tiredness reduced. It is also common for caffeine to reduce cerebral blood flow and increase blood pressure. L-theanine, on the other hand, increases cerebral blood flow and can effectively reduce the effects of caffeine, according to a study.

But it doesn't always have to be the classic cup of tea or coffee. To reap the benefits and effects of caffeine, you could also try this trend: Bulletproof coffee, also known as butter coffee. This also gives you an energy kick. The inventor Dave Asprey experimented until he achieved the highest effect with the following recipe:

For this you need high-quality filter coffee and leave it in it Melt two teaspoons of butter and two teaspoons of MCT oil. Then everything goes into a mixer and that's it! The MCT fats consist of medium-chain saturated fatty acids, which the body converts directly, which is what you want more efficiency helps. Of the BulletIn addition to the effect of wakefulness and a long feeling of satiety, proof coffee also has the advantage of stimulating fat burning.



You can make the effective butter coffee even easier with our BULLET do. It contains MCT powder and collagen. In addition to sustainable energy, you also benefit from beauty benefits. The BULLET You simply mix coffee out of black coffee and stir two spoons of it Bullet a. Just stir and enjoy the delicious, creamy taste of vanilla.

It is important, however, that the special coffee completely replaces your breakfast and that you do not add any sugar because of the carbohydrates, otherwise the effect will not materialize. For most people, the taste is certainly not the most delicious alternative to waking coffee and you have to get used to it first. If you have a sensitive stomach, you can be more careful with the dosage of your buttered coffee and slowly feel for the high fat content. First mix a smaller amount of butter and MCT oil into your coffee and increase slowly every day. Convince yourself of the power effect and just start a try tomorrow.


It depends on the dosage

Caffeine is the ultimate stimulant, but how it works on your body depends on the dose. Doses of 150 to 200 mg of caffeine stimulate the central nervous system. That's roughly the equivalent of two cups of coffee. For healthy adults, an amount of 400 mg (5,7 mg / kg body weight) spread over the day is the optimal dosein order to take advantage of the substance and, for example, benefit from the energy boost or increased performance.


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But is caffeine harmful? The effects of a few cups of coffee or other sources of caffeine should not be underestimated with your body in mind. Anyone who consumes too much caffeine must expect caffeine side effects and symptoms. Caution is advised here, especially with caffeine powder. This can quickly lead to high amounts of caffeine if you estimate the dose of the servings with the eye. Particularly with caffeine tablets, you should be careful and strictly adhere to the recommendations in the package insert - it is best to seek medical advice if you take them.


Caffeine Overdose: How Much Caffeine is Harmful?

It is recommended not to consume more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. But it Infrequent users of 200-300 mg or more can cause side effects from an overdose of caffeinesuch as B.

  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • heartburn
  • Migraine
  • nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tremble
  • unrest
  • palpitations
  • Feelings of fear
  • Hypertension


In extreme cases, if you overdose on caffeine, it is possible that you get poisoned by the active ingredient. In the worst case, this can lead to cramps or circulatory collapse. A lethal dose of caffeine is 10 g (100 cups of coffee) in adults and 5 g (50 cups of coffee) in children.



Interactions and Side Effects: Caffeine

Here are those too Effects and characteristics individually dependent. If you don't want to suffer from insomnia, you'd better avoid drinking coffee in the evening. Because caffeine has an effect on your body from an amount of 100 mg and prevents it from coming to rest in the evening. It's best to have your last coffee at 14 p.m. or until 16 p.m. at the latest to avoid possible sleep problems.

Should be with you as an experienced coffee drinker it is quite a habit caffeine addiction may have caused it if you do without the substance, you may even experience withdrawal symptoms come. However, the symptoms of withdrawal are not comparable with other addictive substances such as alcohol and other drugs. they are very mild and subside within a week. However, if you regularly consume a lot of caffeine, you should occasionally see a doctor to see if you have high blood pressure.

So with natural sources of caffeine it is very unlikely to harm yourself and cause side effects. Of course, you have to be careful when using caffeine tablets or dietary supplements that contain a high dose of synthetic caffeine. In addition, there may be interactions when taking drugs and caffeine, as the dose of painkillers with the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid or paracetamol can be reduced.


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How can you improve your performance with caffeine?

Be at a low concentration of caffeine mainly stimulates the sensory brain regions such as motor activity. This affects your drive and mood, which can range up to a slight euphoria. Your performance is increased by the increased strength of the cerebral vessels, which increases your attention and concentration. For example, working in the office or learning is easier for you, because you can focus better and the storage capacities of your brain can be better used. Even if you have to work a "night shift" from time to time, you can put it away more easily, as the adenosine receptors blocked by caffeine ultimately prevent you from getting tired.

Caffeine doesn't just help you stay on track in everyday life. The substance can also be yours Improve performance in sports. It can be a good booster, especially for endurance athletes. It has been proven that caffeine in this range with 6 mg / kg body weight causes an increase in performance. You can achieve this amount with a body weight of 80 kg with about four cups of coffee. On the one hand, your motivation increases and, on the other hand, you can train longer due to the reduced fatigue, the blood flow to the heart and the better oxygen supply to the muscles.


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Caffeinated drinks are an indispensable part of everyday life for most Germans. The coffee in between has not only become a popular lifestyle product, but can also be used with its awakening effect Every day, whether in the office or in the gym, help to achieve energy and new top performances. The active ingredient helps you start the day well with an improved mood and makes you more alert.

At work you work more focused and your performance increases in sports. If you are healthy, moderate consumption of caffeine usually has no side effects or harmful consequences for you. How exactly caffeine affects your body is very individual and different and does not have to agree with the experiences of others, as many other factors and influences depend on it.


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