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In What Way Does Caffeine Work to Wake you Up?

Coffee

Although not everyone is a fan of coffee, many people depend on it to get them throughout the day. What is it about caffeine that makes so many people feel more awake, alert, and ready to take on the day? There are some fascinating facts about caffeine to learn when researching the effects of coffee on the body.

What Is Caffeine’s Purpose?

Chemically, caffeine is similar to adenine and guanine in that it has a bitter taste. To dissuade herbivorous animals from eating their leaves or seeds, the chemical is produced by various plants. However, it is ironically favored by us humans for its flavor and stimulating properties.

It’s estimated that four out of every five people worldwide regularly consume caffeine, whether in the form of hot or cold beverages like coffee and tea or soda, to help them stay awake and alert throughout the day. Caffeine’s resemblance to adenosine (a substance our bodies make to halt neuron activity) is what causes this stimulation. Our neurons stay operational where they would typically be shutting down, setting off a chain reaction that can lead to a ‘fight or flight’ reflex across the body if that chemical is disrupted.

How It Rouses Us in the Morning

Because caffeine and adenosine share the same molecular structure, our brain cannot tell them apart. Adenosine receptors will attach to anything that looks like it might be adenosine. If we have caffeine in our body, it will attach to the receptors. Caffeine binds to all receptors before adenosine does, even if we have a lot of it. We don’t feel sleepy if adenosine does not attach to its receptors.

Caffeine is the “louder” of the two siblings. Thus, more receptors will pay attention to it. Adenosine is left to fend for itself with no one to listen to it. This in turn induces numerous changes in the body, including increased blood flow to the muscles and increased oxygen delivery to the brain. It boosts our body’s overall energy levels and leaves us feeling more awake and aware.

Because caffeine is a stimulant, chronic use can cause the brain to correlate the habit with awakening. While scientists have long studied the addictive nature of the caffeine molecule, they now presume that the tendency of drinking one’s morning coffee may contribute just as much to waking us up as the reaction itself.

Why It Can Be Addicting

Caffeine inhibits adenosine as well as hormone secretion from glands in the body. An increase in adrenalin secretion is the immediate result of this stimulant. Often alluded to as the “fight-or-flight” hormone, adrenalin is a powerful stress hormone. In stressful conditions, our body secretes a lot of this substance. If we are in the midst of a test, our brain is more likely to create it than if we are relaxing. This hormone is responsible for several physiological changes, including increased blood flow to muscles and increased brain oxygenation. It raises our body’s general energy levels and makes us more awake and conscious.

Because caffeine is a stimulant, chronic use can cause the brain to correlate the habit with awakening. While scientists have long studied the addictive nature of the caffeine molecule, they now believe that the custom of having a cup of coffee in the morning may be just as crucial as the reactions themselves in waking us up.

Conclusion

Four out of every five people worldwide regularly consume caffeine to help them stay awake and alert throughout the day. Caffeine binds to all receptors before adenosine does, even if we have a lot of it in our body. Adenosine receptors will attach to anything that looks like it might be caffeine. Caffeine inhibits adenosine as well as hormone secretion from glands in the body, making it responsible for a variety of physiological changes including increased blood flow to muscles and brain oxygenation. It raises our body’s energy levels and makes us more awake and conscious, but it can be habit forming. Like all good things in life, moderation is key to enjoying the benefits of caffeine to their full effect.

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