Caffeine is a psychoactive drug used to stimulate the central nervous system. Many of you rely on a morning cup of tea or a jolt of caffeine in the afternoon to help you get and relax throughout the day. But caffeine not only makes you awaken rather it also affects your central nervous system. Caffeine directly affects your cerebral cortex and the brain stem, resulting in increased concentration, better body coordination, and energy metabolism throughout the brain. But at the same time, some side effects of caffeine are related to your brain. Caffeine decreases cerebral blood flow, induces relative brain hypo perfusion, and activates the noradrenaline neurons to release dopamine. In addition, these side effects of caffeine can also cause long-lasting effects such as insomnia, constant anxiety, depression, irritability, jitters, anxiety, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and digestion problems. In this article, you’ll get to know about the side effects of caffeine on your brain:
Association of Central Nervous System and Caffeine
Caffeine acts as a stimulant in your Central Nervous System. , So, When you consume it, the most noticeable effect is alertness. So, it is widely used to make you more relaxed, fresh, and less tired and treat drowsiness, headaches, and migraines. If you suddenly stop the consumption of caffeine, it can cause a headache because the blood vessels of your brain get used to it. This sudden withdrawal can cause anxiety, irritability, drowsiness, tremors, confusion, hallucinations, and vomiting.
What are the sources of caffeine?
Caffeine is found in the leaves and seeds of plants, including:
- Coffee beans
- Tea leaves and buds
- Dola nuts
- Cacao beans
- Guarana seeds
- Yerba mate leaf
What are the common side effects of caffeine on the brain?
The benefits of caffeine on the body are temporary, but the brain’s effects are long-lasting and not suitable for human well-being. Caffeine affects adenosine receptors in the brain and blocks the sensation of tiredness, sadness, and laziness. The common side effects associated with caffeine on the brain are listed below:
- Flushed Face
- Excessive urination
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Muscle twitching
- Rambling speech
- Tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
- Periods of inexhaustibility
- Difficulty relaxing
How does caffeine affect your brain?
The caffeine stimulates the “fight or flight response” and causes anxiety. As a result, the chemicals in the caffeine block the adenosine receptors and increase dopamine production. The increase in dopamine, noradrenaline, and glutamate in your brain increases your heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, the side effects of caffeine are produced.
How does caffeine absorbs in the blood and reaches the brain?
Whether consumed as food or medicine, the blood and body tissues absorb caffeine within around 45 minutes. It reaches peak level in the blood within 1 hour and remains there for 4 to 6 hours. While there, caffeine changes the way the brain and body work.
What is the caffeine mechanism of action in the brain?
Caffeine has a similar structure to adenosine, a chemical present in all human cells. In the brain, adenosine acts as a CNS depressant. Adenosine promotes sleep and suppresses arousal by slowing down nerve activity. Adenosine binding also causes blood vessels in the brain to dilate to increase oxygen intake during sleep. When awake, adenosine levels in the brain rise each hour, making the brain and the body less alert.
How does caffeine affect the nerve cells of the brain?
Caffeine looks like adenosine to a nerve cell, and caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors. However, unlike adenosine, it does not decrease the cell’s activity. As caffeine utilizes all the receptors adenosine binds to, the cells can no longer sense adenosine. As a result, cellular activity speeds up instead of slowing down because of the adenosine level.
How does caffeine affect the brain’s blood vessels?
Caffeine blocks adenosine’s ability to open up the brain’s blood vessels, causing them to constrict. This is why caffeine is used in pain relief medicine for headaches. If the headache is vascular, relief comes as the caffeine narrows the blood vessels. The blocking of adenosine causes excitatory neurotransmitters to increase in the brain. The pituitary gland notices this increased activity and releases hormones that tell the adrenal glands to produce epinephrine.