Caffeine: Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions
Caffeine is a chemical that is typically found in tea, coffee, cola, mate, guarana, and other products.
Caffeine can provide many health benefits. Caffeine is typically taken orally or in some cases rectally with some other painkillers such as ergotamine for the treatment of migraine headaches.
It can also be used for simple headaches and also for the treatment of post-epidural anesthesia headaches. Caffeine is used to improve mental alertness.
Caffeine has been used for different health conditions such as gallbladder disease, asthma, and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
But still, evidence is lacking for its use in these conditions. Caffeine is mostly used as stimulants by athletes and sports persons.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, caffeine should be taken within suggested limits. Urine concentrations above 15mcg/mL are highly not suggested.
Benefits and Uses of Caffeine
Caffeine taken along with other pain killers such as acetaminophen and aspirin is quite effective for relieving migraines. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proved caffeine for its use as a pain killer in migraines.
2. Caffeine for neonatal apnea
Neonatal apnea is a condition found in infants in which pauses in breathing occur for 15 seconds or may lead to a serious drop in heart rate.
This condition typically occurs in premature infants. For this condition, giving caffeine both orally or intravenously can improve breathing and can also decrease the number of episodes to half in 7-10 days.
Caffeine citrate is a drug that is proved as a prescription drug for the treatment of neonatal apnea in infants. But caffeine cannot prevent this condition from occurring in premature infants.
3. Headache after surgery
Caffeine is taken by mouth or intravenously has been found effective for preventing and treating post-surgery headaches. Caffeine is approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its regular consumption.
Caffeine has been found beneficial in treating tension headaches when taken along with other pain killers.
5. Mental health
Researchers have suggested that taking caffeinated beverages keeps the mind active and alert and also improves reaction times.
When combined with other energy drinks like glucose, it may improve mental performance far better than taking caffeine alone.
Side Effects of Caffeine
The possible safe dosage of caffeine for healthy adults is about 400mg in a day. This amount of caffeine is approximately equal to 4 cups of coffee.
Caffeine can be harmful or unsafe when taken more than 400mg per day. Caffeine has few side effects such as nervousness, insomnia, irritation, restlessness, nausea, stomach issues, increased heart rate, etc.
High doses of caffeine can cause agitation, anxiety, frequent headaches, and chest congestion.
When taken in extremely high amounts, it can be fatal as it may cause irregular heart rhythms and even death in some cases.
It is suggested not to take those products which contain high and pure amounts of caffeine. Avoid the use of such products to be safe.
For premature infants in some special conditions, caffeine can be considered as possible safe to be given them either orally or intravenously as per the doctor’s advice.
Caffeine is also nearly safe to give normal amounts (foods-based) to children and adolescents.
For pregnant and breastfeeding women
Caffeine is possibly safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women when taken in amounts, which is less than 300mg per day.
This rounds about 3 cups of coffee in a day. Taking large amounts of caffeine, especially during pregnancy or breastfeeding, can be unsafe.