Caffeine is an everyday thing in American culture, with possibly a whopping 90 percent of Americans consuming it regularly. Many of which are addicted to it. Just how bad that is depends on who you listen to.
While most experts believe that small amounts probably isn’t dangerous, most of the research so far on it pertains directly to its use in medications and supplements. On the up side, moderate amounts of caffeine can actually be beneficial as an aid for depression and it could possibly even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.
But for most people who consume caffeine, it’s not done in small or moderate doses. And even in excess, the majority of the problems are minimal compared to other ingredients in drugs or supplements. Side effects like anxiety, the jitters and headaches seemingly don’t warrant serious attention from serious researchers.
That’s unfortunate, because there is research to support the fact that it can, and does, cause more serious problems if not taken in moderation. Both physically and emotionally. In fact, Dr. Jack James, Journal of Caffeine Research’s editor in chief and Reykjavik University’s head of the psychology department, believes that it’s the cause of many untimely deaths and that it isn’t taken serious enough.
He believes it’s too often being added to medications, energy drinks and alcoholic drinks and that it poses a serious threat. He even says that it should be taxed the same as alcohol and cigarettes are and that sales of products with caffeine should be restricted when it comes to children.
So besides the common caffeine withdraw headaches, “jitteriness” and anxiety, what possible problems can occur due to too much caffeine intake? Here are just a few things you should know before drinking that cup of coffee or energy drink…
Caffeine and Hemorrhoids
Too much caffeine isn’t going to cause hemorrhoids. But LAColon says that it can make treating and healing them much more difficult. Lots of caffeine can often lead to diarrhea or constipation. Obviously that’s not a good thing if you have hemorrhoids, as it can re-open them and get in the way of healing.
According to this article on Forbes, caffeine takes 24 hours to make its way out of your system completely and it produces a very hard-to-get-out-of cycle. Have a cup of coffee at nine in the morning? At nine that night, 25 percent of that caffeine will still be in your system. As a stimulant, caffeine naturally makes it more difficult to get to sleep. But even when you do finally fall asleep, the caffeine will reduce REM (rapid eye movement), which is vital for a good night’s sleep.
Now you wake the next morning feeling not-so-refreshed and still tired. So you turn to another cup of coffee or an energy drink with caffeine in it. It helps. For a while. But coming down off that caffeine rush leaves you tired again that afternoon and you have another. Now all that caffeine is, again, in your system come bedtime.
Heartburn and Acid Reflux
After drinking coffee, even if it’s decaf, the pressure on your valve located between the stomach and esophagus decreases. This allows acidic substances in the stomach to more easily rise up through the esophagus, often resulting in acid reflux or heartburn.
Dr. Sam Robbins says it’s not just coffee, but energy drinks can be even worse. Many caffeinated drinks contain sugar and phosphoric acid that serve as a preservative. These drinks have an extremely low PH, hovering around 2. That’s very acidic and over time your esophagus and stomach become super sensitive to anything acidic or spicy.