Students’ Caffeine Habits Can Be Extremely Unhealthy

Mayo Clinic, University of California Davis

Cheyann Elmore

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Over the limit on Caffeine

Caffeine-laden beverages are quickly rising in popularity and studies indicate that “caffeine is the world’s most common psychoactive substance, used by approximately 90 percent of North Americans every day.”

Colleges students, especially, consume lots of caffeine when studying, working, or attending classes.

Nursing major Anai Rojas, 18, says she consumes caffeine daily.

“I feel like caffeine gives me a good boost of energy when I need it,” said Rojas. “I think twice about drinking so much caffeine because it can affect my health, but I have too much going on to completely stop.”

A study at Duke University Medical Center shows that caffeine consumption in the morning can continue to affect the body until bedtime and it can also amplify stress consistently throughout the day.

“The effects of coffee drinking are long-lasting and exaggerate the stress response both in terms of the body’s physiological response in blood pressure elevations and stress hormone levels…It also magnifies a person’s perception of stress,” said James D. Lane, one of the research professors at Duke and lead author of the study.

“I think twice about drinking so much caffeine because it can affect my health, but I have too much going on to completely stop.” – Anai Rojas, Nursing

Caffeine not only causes short-term effects, but over time, it can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, research shows.

“While today’s cup of coffee might not, by itself, cause you much harm, the cumulative effects of drinking it day after day over a lifetime could really be unhealthy,” said Lane.

Aside from the numerous negative effects that are associated with the drug, caffeine comes with some benefits as well, experts say.

A study at UC San Diego’s Laboratory of Sleep found that 200 and 300 milligrams of caffeine can keep you awake enough to retain information, espeically visual information. It can also stimulate the central nervous system to improve sporting performance.

According to Topend Sports Network, low doses of caffeine also contain antioxidants which promote heart health.

Caffeine may also be able to fight off the progression of nervous disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. A recent study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that caffeine, consumed in moderation, can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Moderation seems to be the key. In excess, caffeine consumption can have some serious lifelong effects.

According to Topend Sports Network, excessive caffeine consumption can cause restlessness, nausea, sleep difficulties, dehydration and cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats).

Excessive use will also build tolerance, so a person will have to drink more and more caffeine to feel its effects.

Ashley Schultz, a student at CSU East Bay, says she consumes about one or two caffeinated beverages a day, and has experienced headaches from the lack of caffeine on several occasions.

“I don’t necessarily feel any benefits from the caffeine itself,” said Schultz. “I merely drink coffee because I like the flavor and aroma.”