Caffeine and Decaffeination - Negative Effects of Caffeine

Written by Tanya Thomas, B.Com | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Aug 18, 2014
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Negative Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine, like everything else, also has a flipside. Research has been able to establish a link between caffeine and some negative health effects, but hasn’t been able to adequately measure the impact yet.

  • Overuse of caffeine i.e. large amounts of consumption over an extended period can leads to a condition termed caffeinism: Symptoms include:
    • insomnia
    • headaches
    • irritability
    • muscle twitching
    • anxiety
    • nervousness
  • One study has linked hyperactivity in children to caffeinated cola.
  • Effects of caffeine can vary in individuals: some may not show any significant adverse impact but others may suffer an increase in cholesterol and artery clogging from regular coffee intake. Such people are advised to steer clear of caffeine, as are pregnant women and those at higher risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
  • Continued caffeine intake can cause caffeine tolerance (leading to higher intake levels) and also caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Insomnia, headaches, irritability drowsiness, pain in the stomach and joints, agitation, depression, and an inability to concentrate may result.
  • Caffeine is known to temporarily raise blood pressure. Long term side-effects of caffeine on BP are unclear though.

Research is shedding both positive and negative light on caffeine and its effect on the human body. It’s easy to be bogged down by the load of information about caffeine that pops up every day. What you can do, however, is to cut down on your caffeine intake (from coffee and other sources), if you are already dependant on it. Experts suggest gradual withdrawal, so that the system is not shocked by the sudden cut in all supply of caffeine. You might suffer withdrawal symptoms; deal with them appropriately.

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