Anyone who has given up drinking coffee or other beverages that contain caffeine often experiences a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Someone may feel tired in general or mentally foggy. Caffeine headaches are not uncommon. Flu-like symptoms might also occur. However, the substance not only changes people physically, but also affects brain chemistry.
After drinking coffee, another caffeinated beverage or taking caffeine powder, the small intestine absorbs the substance, which then enters the bloodstream. As the compound dissolves in fat or water-based liquids, the stimulant has the ability to pass through the protective blood-brain barrier. Caffeine is similar in structure to the compound called adenosine, which has receptor sites throughout the body. The compound attaches to these sites and affects many different body functions.
When adenosine attaches to some sites, people feel tired. However, when caffeine binds to the same sites, users feel energized and more alert. Certain neurotransmitters also respond when adenosine sites become blocked. As adenosine circulates in the blood, the brain triggers the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. The neuron cells also trigger the release of transmitting chemicals epinephrine and norepinephrine that are also natural stimulants. So caffeine does not cause stimulation alone, but starts chemical processes that release natural body substances.
As stimulants rush through the body, blood pressure and heart rate increases. Other organ functions are also increased. The effect of feeling energized may last from four to six hours and largely depends on the amount of caffeine consumed and the age and size of the person. As someone habitually consumes caffeine, the body develops more adenosine receptors in an attempt to block the stimulant activity. This action triggers the need for more and more caffeine. Sites for the natural stimulant also decrease in number. These interactions are the reason that someone experiences withdrawal. The brain requires up to two weeks without caffeine before chemical responses return to normal.
Dangers of Caffeine Powders
Sold in powder or capsule form, individuals purchase the powder in hopes of boosting energy and mental alertness levels for studying, weight loss or more effective overall physical productivity. In powder form, each 1/16 of teaspoon provides approximately 105 milligrams of caffeine. A cup of tea typically contains 70 milligrams and a cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams. As the substance is considered a supplement and is not regulated by the FDA, consumers have no way of knowing the quality of the product.
As tolerance to the compound may occur, individuals are then tempted to increase the dosage. When consumed in excess of the recommended levels, serious injury or death may occur. One teen has already become the victim of a caffeine powder overdose. One teaspoon of the product contains the same amount of caffeine as 18 cups of coffee. After entering the bloodstream, the substance floods receptor sites while free flowing in the blood. The amount of adrenaline and other natural compounds released wreaks havoc in the body. In the brain, the increased stimulation causes seizures. Increased blood pressure and heart rate lead to heart attacks or strokes.
Caffeine and other stimulants are dangerous drugs, regardless if purchased over-the-counter or through a prescription from a licensed physician. Stopping the habit may save a life. If you or someone you know uses caffeine powder, that person may be in danger. For more information, visit with a qualified professional via a helpline. Feel free to call the hotline at 800-447-9081.