85% of U.S. adults consume caffeine daily and they are prone to increased blood pressure, meaning greater chances of heart disease, and feeling more stressed than if they didn’t drink their coffee, cola or tea.
The Duke University research team found that even if people don’t consume caffeine after 1pm, the effects remain until they go to sleep. That’s because caffeine takes a long time to deteriorate in the body – twelve hours after consumption, the body still contains one-eighth of the original amount of caffeine. With regular consumption, these long-lasting effects could increase the risk of heart disease.
In addition, any disorder related to stress, such as the type 2 form of diabetes or social anxiety, can be adversely affected by caffeine consumption.
In the study, 47 regular coffee drinkers consumed 500 milligrams of caffeine – about the same as four 8 ounce cups of coffee — in the form of two pills, and no later than 1pm. They took these active pills one workday, and inactive pills the next day, never knowing which type of pill they were consuming. The researchers monitored their blood pressure, heart rate, and quality of specific substances in their urine.
The subjects showed higher stress levels on days they consumed the caffeine pills, and produced 32% more epinephrine, a stress hormone. They also had slightly higher blood pressure with the caffeine pills.
Reference: Psychosomatic Medicine 2002;64:593-603
More Comments About Caffeine
Previous studies have shown that caffeine worsens insulin sensitivity, one of the major causes of chronic illness.
Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, with plenty of toxic pesticide residue present on the beans. Even if you use organic coffee, you still have to contend with the dioxins on most coffee filter paper and the chlorine and fluorine in most water used to make it.
Other studies have shown that caffeine leads to a loss of aortic elasticity, and raises blood pressure.
Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. As such, coffee has been associated with increased risk of stroke and rheumatoid arthritis.
To wean yourself off coffee, I suggest a product called “Water Joe” that is basically bottled water with caffeine added. If you stop coffee “cold turkey,” note that you will likely develop a severe headache from going through caffeine withdrawal.
If you simply MUST drink coffee, here are a few tips to help reduce the chance of harmful effects:
- Use organic coffee – Coffee is a heavily sprayed crop, so drinking organic coffee might reduce or eliminate the exposure to toxic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. The only drawback is that the countries where coffee is produced probably have less control and monitoring for compliance to organic practices. You will also be helping to protect the health of the people working in the coffee fields, as you will be helping to reduce their toxic exposure as well.
- “Swiss Water Process” decaf – If you are going to drink decaffeinated coffee, be sure that it uses a non-chemical based method of decaffeination. The “Swiss Water Process” is a patented method and is the best choice. Most of the major brands are chemically decaffeinated, even if it says “Naturally Decaffeinated” right on the container. If you are unsure of the methods, contact the manufacturer.
- Avoid sugar and/or milk – These are actually much worse for you than the coffee itself. Don’t compound the detrimental health effects by adding milk or sugar to your coffee.
- Unbleached filters – If you use a “drip” coffee maker, be sure to use non-bleached filters. The bright white ones, which most people use, are chlorine bleached and some of this chlorine will be extracted from the filter during the brewing process.
Alternatively, you could also try switching from coffee to caffeine-free green or black tea. If you do this, be aware that most of these teas on the market may contain excess levels of fluoride and toxic heavy metals like aluminum.
You can, however, get the antioxidant benefits of tea (along with enjoying a warm, non-coffee beverage) without any of the potentially toxic additives by choosing Body Ecology Diet’s Green and Black Tea Extracts, which are virtually fluoride- and heavy metal-free (plus they contain no caffeine). They are sold by Dr. Mercola – an alternative MD.