The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the Worlds Most Popular Drug

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This was a tough one to rate. Oct 01, Bradon rated it really liked it. The book was a good book that had a lot of good facts and was very informing. The World of Caffeine has a lot of subsections from the history of caffeine to all current uses. This book talks about the drug use and other ways people have used it. This book was really effective and I used it on a few reports I had to write throughout the term.

This book also made me wonder about the safety and use of caffeine everyday. I began to wonder why people use it so much even though there are innumerable c The book was a good book that had a lot of good facts and was very informing. I began to wonder why people use it so much even though there are innumerable consequences some short term some long term.

The book also showed me that there is a lot more research that needs to be done on caffeine to truly tell how dangerous it could be. The book was interesting and helped me realize this. If you want to casually read a book I would not recommend it because you need to research out some of the terms and events talked about in the book. The book explains what other cultures use in place of caffeine or with caffeine.

Such as truckers in Africa use something known as Kava Kava which is a stimulant illegal here. The book is filled with so much information that I would consider reading it again to get it all. This book has sparked curiosity which is all it takes to change an average book to a good book.

Apr 17, Chris Herdt rated it liked it.

3 Scary Facts About Caffeine

I'm far from a connoisseur of coffee or tea, but I do drink a fair amount and thought it would be best to learn a little something about it. I've been skipping around sections of this book for the past month or so. It covers a variety of topics relating to caffeine and caffeine vehicles, primarily focusing on coffee, tea, and chocolate. Although the history of how these caffeine-imbued botanicals traveled from Arabia, Asia, and the Americas to Europe and the history of how they were popularized i I'm far from a connoisseur of coffee or tea, but I do drink a fair amount and thought it would be best to learn a little something about it.

Although the history of how these caffeine-imbued botanicals traveled from Arabia, Asia, and the Americas to Europe and the history of how they were popularized is fascinating, I was more interested in the details of how caffeine affects the body. I am pleased to say that caffeine in moderate doses is harmless, although you will get a withdrawal headache if you miss a day, and that the information in the book has led me to take some chocolate in the morning, as the methylxanthine theobromine a cousin to caffeine can slow the metabolism of caffeine.

Also, energy drinks that say they contain no caffeine but contain guarana? It just means that it does not contain added caffeine--guarana naturally contains caffeine, as does yerba mate. More than you want to know, but central mysteries remain: the universality of it 97 percent of us are addicts , the fact that it is a drug with dependency problems, the cultural timing, the undecided balance between benefits and harm.

Must per chi vuole approfondire la storia della caffeina o teina. Dec 03, Marcelle added it Shelves: non-fiction. Sep 02, Dennis Littrell rated it it was amazing. Fascinating, and highly informative Before the advent of caffeine beverages in Europe, which didn't happen until the seventeenth century, what did people drink? Mostly they drank beer.

Indeed for breakfast it was typical to have beer soup sopped up with bread. There were no stimulant beverages available, and people did not generally drink water since safe water was not readily available. Such a world it must have been with most people drinking alcoholic beverages from sun up to sun down! Then cam Fascinating, and highly informative Before the advent of caffeine beverages in Europe, which didn't happen until the seventeenth century, what did people drink? Then came first cacao, and then coffee and tea, and our world changed. It is interesting to realize that part of the value of cocoa, coffee and tea is the fact that they are consumed in water that has been boiled.

The health benefits of drinking safe water made habitual by the mildly addictive force of caffeine turned out to be a boon to human kind. Such a delicious irony. In this thoroughly informative book about caffeine, with an emphasis of course on the two most widely consumed caffeine beverages, tea and coffee, you will learn the facts and the folklore, the history and the pharmacology of the world's favorite drug. The story of Coca-Cola in America and the advent of what the authors call p. The cultural "duality" between coffee and tea is expressed and a two-columned list presented in which, for example, coffee is associated with the male and tea with the female; coffee with indulgence and tea with temperance; coffee with excess and tea with moderation; Americans versus the English, Balzac versus Proust, etc.

The chemistry of caffeine is therein discussed and information is given about how much caffeine is in various beverages Starbucks decaffeinated coffee, for example, was found to actually have 25 mg of caffeine, while an average cup of regular java contains anywhere from 40 to mg. Even betel, khat, ephedra and coca leaves are brought into the discussion. The mental and physical effects of caffeine are assessed as well as that of other methylzanthines found in caffeine plants, such as theobromine and theophylline.

Caffeine's effect on memory, depression, aggression, alertness, etc. I must say that I found just about everything I wanted to know about caffeine in this book. It is easily the best book on the subject that I know of. The presentation is readable and entertaining with tables, photos, black and white prints, and cartoons augmenting the text. There's even some poetry. One of the most interesting illustrations shows four spider webs spun by spiders each "under the influence" of a different drug, marijuana, benzedrine, chloral hydrate and caffeine.

Guess which web is the most distorted? Jul 12, Julie H. This book is a wonderful social history of all things caffeinated--including of course coffee and chocolate. Very informative and highly interesting reading. Dec 03, Ali added it. Jul 19, Camille Baird rated it really liked it Shelves: science-and-information. Parts of this were fascinating but other parts were very boring so I skipped over those.

May 21, Islam rated it really liked it. Enjoy reading this book with a cup of coffee : This book will make you surprised how much history and culture is there around caffeine containing beverages. Very enriching book indeed. Jan 07, Jonathan rated it liked it. Fascinating information. A bit repetitive and arrogant at times but lots of fascinating information! Oct 15, Josh rated it it was ok. I kind of think that they were paid by coffee interests to write this book, but I enjoy the history. Apr 17, Dp4s rated it it was amazing. Food - History.

Adel Al-Fayez rated it really liked it Dec 16, Psychedelic rated it it was amazing Oct 02, Kari rated it really liked it Jan 02, David Gross rated it liked it Jun 13, Carrie Wilson rated it really liked it May 06, Seth rated it it was ok Oct 30, Manuel Marco rated it really liked it May 21, Sebastian Rojas rated it liked it Jul 21, Vivian rated it really liked it Dec 01, Kate rated it liked it Oct 04, Steven Perry rated it liked it Apr 11, The vasoconstrictor action of caffeine, secondary to adenosine receptor antagonism, is implicated in headache relief [ ].

After chronic caffeine ingestion, cessation of intake was shown to cause a withdrawal syndrome dominated by headache and fatigue; symptoms manifested themselves after hours, reached a peak at hours, and persisted for about one week [ ]. The uncertainty regarding this issue may be partly due to methodological limitations. Furthermore, very few studies compare individuals subjected to repeated caffeine administration vs.

As for central effects, a study assessed human brain metabolic response to caffeine using rapid proton echo-planar spectroscopic imaging in regular caffeine users [ ]. The peripheral effects of caffeine and the possible development of tolerance towards them have been more extensively analyzed because of concerns regarding dietary caffeine intake and cardiovascular status [ ]. A study employing the same caffeine administration methodology as the one of the above cited study, which regarded the central effects of caffeine, found that caffeine elevated peripheral blood pressure vs.

The sympathetic nervous system has an important role in regulating blood pressure [ ]. A study assessed sympathetic nerve activity and blood pressure in habitual and nonhabitual coffee drinkers [ 80 ]. In comparison with placebo, caffeine at a dose of mg elevated blood pressure in nonhabitual drinkers, but not in habitual ones. In contrast, the activity of the sympathetic nervous system was similarly increased in both groups.

Most importantly, plasma caffeine concentrations did not differ between the two groups. Therefore, tolerance to the peripheral effects of caffeine may be variable, depending on the response system assessed, but it appears to be less consistent than tolerance to its central effects. The most common dietary source of caffeine is coffee, but cocoa beverages, soft drinks, energy drinks, medications, and specialized sports foods and supplements also contribute to regular intake.

The World of Caffeine

Since the introduction of Red Bull in Austria in and in the US in , the energy drink market has enormously expanded. Countless brands can now be found, with caffeine content ranging from a modest 50 mg to an alarming mg per can or bottle. The regulation of energy drinks, including their labeling, permissible maximum caffeine levels, and health warnings, has been rather complex in most countries, with one of the most lax normative frameworks in the US.

Because of thevarying amounts of caffeine consumed in each country, it is difficult to set an international standard. This has resulted in aggressive marketing of energy drinks, targeted primarily at young individuals, for physical performance enhancing and psychostimulatory effects. Furthermore, several studies suggest that energy drinks may serve as a gateway to other forms of substance dependence. In the recent years, to limit this phenomenon, regulatory upper limits have been set for those beverages in which caffeine is not contained naturally, but added either from a natural or a synthetic source.

As already mentioned, caffeine consumption has been linked with a number of health issues. There are increasing reports of caffeine abuse, dependence, and withdrawal syndromes, and it seems likely that caffeine intoxication will also increase. In children and adolescents who are not habitual caffeine users, vulnerability to caffeine intoxication is significantly higher due to the absence of pharmacological tolerance. In sports, caffeine use is very common. This revision was based on the acknowledgment that caffeine enhances performance at doses that are impossible to differentiate from daily caffeine use and that the practice of monitoring caffeine use via urinary concentration is not completely reliable.

However, the WADA continues to measure caffeine levels through urinary concentration testing within its Monitoring Program, in order to investigate patterns of misuse of substances in sport. The amount of caffeine contained in a cup of coffee can vary greatly, depending on its origin or the composition of the blend, the brewing method, and the strength of the brew. Instant also known as soluble coffee generally contains less caffeine than roast and ground coffee, but is usually consumed in greater volumes. Robusta coffees contain about twice as much caffeine than arabicas.

A cup is usually assumed to contain ml of coffee, but an espresso may contain as little as 40 ml [ ]. Decaffeinated coffee, regardless of the method of decaffeination, must contain less than 0. This corresponds to about mg of caffeine in a cup of decaffeinated coffee. Teacontains more caffeine than coffee by dry weight, but less weight is used, in general, to brew a cup of tea. Both the type of tea and the infusing time can affect the amount of caffeine. Cocoa and chocolate drinks contribute to the diet with mg of caffeine per cup, dark chocolate and cooking chocolate with 0.

Numerous soft drinks, including colas and peppers, contain caffeine, which, as well as being present in cola nuts, is often added as a flavoring agent. About ml of a soft drink contain mg of caffeine. Caffeine is present in many prescription and nonprescription i.

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Energy drinks contain high concentrations of caffeine, as well as other performance-enhancing substances, such as guarana, taurine, and B vitamins. Reissig et al. Throughout their lives, individuals can consume high quantities of caffeine only for some periods of time, but more often on a regular basis. Moreover, some individuals go on to abuse caffeine to enhance their concentration and memory or to improve their physical performance, and in some cases develop a dependence syndrome. In caffeine dependence, individuals start to consume extremely high doses, ignoring all safety issues; they take a combination of two or more different sources of caffeine, for example, coffee and energy drinks, although the combination is not proven to have any added desirable effects; they consume caffeine almost continuously for years, reaching an excessive cumulative duration of use.

The effects of caffeine dependence are still under investigation. One issue in studying caffeine dependence has been the uncertainty regarding the products that contain caffeine and their respective concentration of caffeine, thus the existing studies, mainly observational, have often found difficulties in verifying the exact nature or amounts taken.

Moreover, many individuals who consume caffeine simultaneously consume other substances, such as nicotine or alcohol, which may have overlapping effects. Another issue has been the application of appropriate criteria. Over the years, the existing literature has applied DSM-IV-TR [ ] or previous criteria to assess dependence among populations of users. A problem that has arisen is that the standard DSM-IV-TR substance dependence criteria are difficult to apply to some compounds, such as caffeine, since they were designed largely to apply to intoxicating drugs.

For example, even if caffeine causes the classic withdrawal syndrome, mediated by neuroendocrine and cortical neurotransmitter systems, it is a cumulatively acting substance that produces little or no acute intoxication, unless taken in large doses. Hence it does not usually compromise daily functioning in the manner of intoxicating drugs. Each specific substance is addressed as a separate disorder, but nearly all substances are diagnosed based on the same overarching criteria. These criteria have not only been combined, but strengthened. Whereas in the past a diagnosis of substance abuse required only one symptom, substance use disorder in the DSM-5 requires at least two symptoms from a list of eleven.

Substance craving was added to the list and problems with law enforcement were eliminated because of cultural considerations that made the criteria difficult to apply internationally.

The revised substance use disorder, a single diagnosis, better matches the symptoms that individuals experience. Furthermore, in the past the diagnosis of dependence caused much confusion. Most people linked dependence with addiction, when in fact dependence can be a normal body response to a substance. DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for dependence. At least two of the following criteria must be met over a month period.

The disorder can occur in a broad range of severity, basing on the number of symptom criteria endorsed: mild, if 2 to 3 symptoms are present, moderate if 4 to 5 symptoms are present, and severe if 6 or more symptoms are present. As said before, it can be noted that the DSM-5 includes the craving criteria. Craving is a key element in the genesis of substance addiction and relapse that often individuals with abuse or dependence encounter. Initially, the term was used to describe, in opiate addicts, a strong and irresistible urge arising during withdrawal.

Subsequently, it has come to indicate a desire to make use of any psychotropic substance in any situation. Once considered a manifestation of the withdrawal syndrome, craving appears to be essentially the result of a stimulus evoking the substance, but sometimes its onset is not apparently linked with any stimulus; it tends to diminish with time, but it can appear even after years of abstinence. This urge can become compelling and may increase in the presence of internal and external stimuli i.

It is characterized by a behavior aimed at obtaining the substance and by intrusive thoughts that focus on the substance, such as intrusive thoughts about caffeine. In the field of psychiatry two types of craving are distinguished [ ]: 1 physical craving that occurs in substance addicts or alcoholics who stop taking drugs or drinking after a long period of excessive consumption; this type of craving is mostly associated with physical symptoms of the withdrawal type, such as increased heart rate, sweating, nausea, agitation, tremors, etc.

It is related to the activation of the reward system, located in the brain in the medial forebrain bundle, which includes the dopaminergic meso-cortico-limbic pathway. Finally, individuals — both adults and adolescents — who consume high doses of caffeine frequently report psychiatric symptoms and disorders, mainly anxiety and mood disorders, but also behavioral alterations.

Some disorders are typically linked to recreational and professional athletes who consume caffeine to face fatigue and intense workouts. An example is muscle dysmorphia. This disorder, also known as reverse anorexia or bigorexia or Adonis complex, is a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder generally affecting men, with its onset in adolescence or early adulthood, characterized by obsessiveness and compulsivity directed toward achieving a lean and muscular physique, even at the expense of health.

This raises the issue of whether caffeine use causes these disorders in athletes, by inducing neuroadaptive changes within the reward neural circuit and affecting mechanisms of resilience to stress, or, vice versa , athletes with pre-morbid abnormal personalities or a history of psychiatric disorders are attracted to caffeine use, encouraged by an extrinsic motivation for exercise focused on appearance and weight control.

Caffeine toxicity is defined by specific symptoms that arise as a direct consequence of caffeine consumption. Symptoms of caffeine intoxication can mimic those of anxiety and other affective disorders [ ]. Energy drink consumption may increase the risk of caffeine overdose in caffeine abstainers, as well as habitual caffeine users. Caffeine intake at very high doses, exceeding mg, which are equivalent to cups per day, can cause anxiety, tremor, and tachycardia.

This mechanism of action requires higher concentrations of caffeine, unlikely to be reached with the common amount of caffeine contained in dietary sources. In the majority of lethal cases, caffeine was introduced as a dietary supplement or with other substances, such as stimulant drugs and alcohol.

Only in one lethal case, described by Chaturvedi et al. It appears that the interaction between the two substances in the body tissues played a role, due to the rapid onset of the toxicity leading to an early death [ , - ]. In recent years caffeine use has increased, especially among young people, due to the wide diffusion of caffeinated beverages advertised as energy drinks. Despite the wide diffusion of caffeine in the form of drinks, foods, and medications, death from acute intoxication is relatively rare and is mostly caused by voluntary or involuntary ingestion of tablets containing pure caffeine in high concentrations.

In fact, although variable amounts of caffeine are contained in coffee, tea, and other drinks, it is difficult to reach lethal doses of caffeine exclusively through one of these products. On the basis of the known mechanisms of action, caffeine can be considered as a psychostimulant, since its main effects are correlated to the interfering action on the neuroendocrine control systems. These effects can cause both psychological and physical dependence. These findings, however, even if provided by studies differing in sample sizes and methods, should not be considered in disagreement with the findings of those studies reporting cases of lethal intoxication, as the former take into account caffeine doses below the ones considered toxic for humans.

This could be due to:. Caffeine, like other psychoactive substances, can induce abuse and dependence. Furthermore, caffeine, like alcohol and tobacco, is legally used, but, unlike the last two, its sale in the form of high concentration drinks or tablets is not controlled or restricted.

The authors confirm that this article content has no conflict of interest. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Curr Neuropharmacol v. Curr Neuropharmacol. Published online Jan. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This article has been corrected. See Curr Neuropharmacol. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Caffeine use is increasing worldwide.

Keywords: Abuse, caffeine, coffee, dependence, energy drinks, safety doses, toxicity. Search Results and Included Studies From each electronic database, we read all titles and selected those promising ones to be relevant, which were 29, Risk of Bias No evidence of language bias was found, as the search was not limited to English language studies. Mechanisms of Action The potential effects of caffeine, at the cellular level, can be explained by three mechanisms of action: the antagonism of adenosine receptors, especially in the central nervous system; the mobilization of intracellular calcium storage; the inhibition of phosphodiesterases.

Antagonism of Adenosine Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, mainly A 1 and A 2A subtypes, competitively antagonizing their action [ 40 , 41 ] and causing an increased release of dopamine, noradrenalin, and glutamate [ 42 , 43 ]. Mobilization of Intracellular Calcium Caffeine can induce calcium release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum [ 50 ] and can also inhibit its reuptake [ 51 ]. Inhibition of Phosphodiesterases Caffeine acts as a nonselective competitive inhibitor of phosphodiesterases [ 55 ].

Increase of Post-exercise Muscle Glycogen Accumulation Faster recovery following intense exercise, mediated by a higher rate of glycogen resynthesis, has been described [ 58 ]. Increase of Fatty Acid Oxidation The increase of lipolysis determines a decreased dependence from glycogen use [ 61 ]. Effects on the Cardiovascular System Caffeine has several effects on the cardiovascular system, which have been examined thoroughly with conflicting result.

Effects on the Central Nervous System Caffeine, besides influencing cognitive performance, increases the perception of alertness and wakefulness [ , ] and sometimes induces anxiety, especially at high doses [ - ]. Table 1 Findings of caffeine effects on main neurodegenerative diseases.

Down-regulates neuroinflammatory responses and nitric oxide NO production [ , ]. Reduces both motor and nonmotor early onset symptoms [ ]. Prevents the loss of nigral dopaminergic neurons [ ]. Protects against oxidative stress and AD-like pathology in rabbit hippocampus [ ]. Protects against disruptions of the blood-brain barrier in animal models []. Increases mitochondrial function and blocks melatonin signaling to mitochondria [ ].

Men in the highest quartile of caffeine intake are less likely than men in the lowest quartile to have any lesion type [ ]. Open in a separate window. Caffeine-containing Products The most common dietary source of caffeine is coffee, but cocoa beverages, soft drinks, energy drinks, medications, and specialized sports foods and supplements also contribute to regular intake.

Table 2 Findings of caffeine effects on main neurodegenerative diseases. Caffeine use, Abuse, and Dependence Reissig et al. Table 3 DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for dependence. Table 4 Lethal cases of caffeine intoxication. Lee R. Rx: Caffeine.


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The Science of Caffeine: The World's Most Popular Drug | Open Culture

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