Caffeine – the natural stimulant

Caffeine is a stimulant that is widely consumed in the world. It gives you energy boosting effects by blocking adenosine, a brain chemical responsible for making someone feel drowsy. This is why many people prefer to take it first thing in the morning in order to get some extra kick. It also helps keep them energised throughout the day so that they can focus on being more productive. 

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a stimulant that is naturally found in coffee, cacao, and tea plants. It tends to stimulate the central nervous system and brain thus, leaving you alert and without the feeling of lethargy. The first cup of brewed tea was made in 2737BC, and many years later, coffee was discovered in Ethiopia after herders realised that it was giving their goats some extra boost. In the 1800s, soft drinks containing caffeine emerged on the market and were soon followed by energy drinks that also have caffeine. 

How it works

As soon as you consume caffeine, it rapidly gets absorbed from the stomach into your bloodstream. From here, it goes to your liver where it gets broken down into small compounds that are responsible for affecting how several organs function. It might even affect your brain when it blocks adenosine effects. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for relaxing your brain and thus, making you feel lethargic.

It is normal for adenosine levels to go up as the day goes by, making you feel so tired and have the urge to go to sleep. However, if you drink coffee, the caffeine in it helps you stay awake. This is possible because caffeine connects to your adenosine receptors without necessarily activating them. The result is blocked adenosine effects and thus, a feeling of relaxation and less fatigue. Caffeine might also make your blood adrenaline levels go high, which leads to increased brain activity of the norepinephrine and neurotransmitters dopamine.

This combination also induces your brain, giving you an arousal state, focus and alertness. It is the reason why caffeine is known as a psychoactive drug. Its effects are almost immediate. For example, one cup of coffee will take just 20 minutes to get to your bloodstream and around an hour to be fully effective.

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