How coffee works

If you’re an ardent coffee lover (read addict), it wouldn’t be hard to recall a moment where you have found yourself defending your precious caffeine supply. While the more common arguments against coffee include it’s addiction, ineffectiveness and even counterproductive nature, the extreme ones, include death. Yes!

With over 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed across the globe everyday, it’s strange how little people know about this badass, gangster drink.

First things first — Death by coffee

Can you really die because of drinking coffee? Let’s see. The most lethal component in coffee is caffeine.

In order to approach a 50% chance to die of caffeine, you need to ingest x amount of it within a very short interval (if not at once), where —

x = ((Your mass in kilograms) * 150) milligrams

So if you weigh 70 kilograms, you’ll need to ingest 10,500 mg of caffeine to get close to killing yourself.

Now, a standard latte would contain two shots of espresso accounting for nearly 154 mg of caffeine. Which means, you need to ingest about 68 cups of coffee to become suicidal.

That’s almost about a cup of latte for every kilogram of your body mass, to be ingested at once.

This suggests that if you are not suicidal, you’ll certainly not die drinking 3–5 cups of coffee a day and if you are suicidal, you’ll have better ways to kill yourself than drink that much coffee at once.

Why you feel tired and sleepy.

When your body is caffeine free, a molecule called adenosine bonds with the receptor cells in your brain. This puts a constraint on how much adrenaline (the fight or flight hormone) is released and so you begin to feel less energetic and even sleepy.

This, by the way, is your body’s way of telling you to take it easy or take some rest and not grind away with whatever it is that you’re doing.

But, if you must, you grab that cup-a-joe and (hopefully) feel more energetic somehow.

How coffee works

Once you drink coffee, caffeine molecules enter into your brain via the bloodstream and beat adenosine at what it does — bonding with the receptor cells.

But unlike adenosine, caffeine does not block or put a constraint on how much adrenaline is released. Instead, it stimulates the adrenal glands to boost your adrenaline production (albeit, within the limits— caffeine doesn’t make your body release more adrenaline than it otherwise could).

Also, all of this results in your brain absorbing more amount of dopamine — the hormone which makes you happy.

And that’s how you feel energetic and pumped up to continue working.

Is that it — caffeine all clean?

Not quite. In the long run, your brain responds to this ‘caffeine beats adenosine’ game by producing more receptor cells. Which in turn leads you to drink more coffee, for it to have an effect on you.

This leads to the question :

Is caffeine addictive?

Not quite. Research has shown that caffeine does not activate any sort of ‘reward circuit’ in your brain, unlike cocaine or heroine. So it’s not technically addictive.

But drinking coffee can certainly become an engrained habit with noticeable withdrawal symptoms. Although these symptoms range from minor headaches to migraines — which you can get over with, in a couple of days, if not hours.

So to sum it up, drinking 4–5 cups of regular coffee, in a day, is absolutely fine as long as you don’t have any other health issue that may cause an exception (example thyroid).

Oh, there are benefits too

Besides increasing your concentration, decreasing fatigue and making you feel happy, has several health benefits. To mention a few, it protects you from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, parkinson’s and dementia.

Back to the argument part

Drinking coffee affects people differently so I feel it’s not the best idea to force your experience on others. But it’s definitely a great idea to express what you know.

I have created a Searchtrack Guide about this topic which can help you learn more about the best times in the day to drink coffee in order for it to be the most effective.

A tiny request

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