How can you tell if someone has been using caffeine?
Signs of using caffeine
One major sign of caffeine use is dehydration. This is because caffeine is a diuretic and makes the body process water faster through the skin (sweating) or urine. And caffeine can interrupt your sleep by making it difficult to get to sleep, stay asleep or feel rested. However, individual sensitivity and frequency of consumption determine the effect of caffeine on sleep. Other signs of caffeine intake include:
feeling jittery and shaky
increase in energy
increased blood pressure
increased frequency of urination
increased heart rate
increased panic attacks
increased tolerance (needing more caffeine for same effect)
inhibited restful sleep
uneven heart rhythm
How do we consume caffeine?
Caffeine occurs naturally 60+ plants which we drink as infusions (tea or coffee) or eat as food (chocolate. However, we also ingest caffeine as a made-made additive in foods, drinks, and medicines.
How does caffeine work?
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. Caffeine affects the brain, spinal cord, nerves and metabolism in your body to make you feel more wakeful. Caffeine usually reaches peak level in the blood within one hour of injestion, remaining in the system for a total of 4-6 hours. Caffeine does not accumulate in the bloodstream or body and is normally excreted (in the urine) within several hours following consumption.
Although researchers don’t know EXACTLY how caffeine works, they believe that it blocks neurotransmitters in the brain from sending signals which communicate fatigue and drowsiness to the body. This is why caffeine’s main effect is to make you feel more awake and alert for a while, but it can also cause problems.
Safe amounts of daily caffeine
Adults: 300 mg
Children: 35-40 mg
Are you a caffeine addict?
Caffeine can become addictive if you drink or consume caffeine every day. Just as with other chemical addictions, over time your body needs more caffeine to achieve the desired effect (tolerance). Further, people addicted to caffeine experience withdrawal symptoms after they stop taking it. For more information and to evaluate your caffeine habit, see our signs of caffeine addiction article here.
Reference sources: Understanding caffeine from the FDA
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Photo credit: Rishi S