Effect of Caffeine on Cognitive Functions

Coffee and people

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Due to caffeine content, which combines psychostimulant and analeptic properties it facilitates perception, accelerates the course of associative processes, improves the functions of the senses, improves mood, the ability to perceive external stimuli, psychomotor activity, however, the effect of caffeine depends on the type of nervous activity.

Attitude towards coffee is changing. Scientific interest in coffee is growing as more new scientific works appear, confirming its positive effect on health. Although for a long time, few people decided to call coffee a useful product. Caffeine alkaloid, which is contained in coffee, has a stimulating effect on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, and with prolonged use may also cause addiction. Coffee has a stimulating effect on the body and increases blood pressure; as a result, insomnia and in hypertensive patients, the risk of stroke increases.

Statistics say today, scientists from different countries have already conducted more than 19 thousand studies of the useful and dangerous properties of coffee. 

Effect of Caffeine on Cognitive Functions

Cup of coffee

Long before people discovered its awakening and invigorating effect, plants synthesized caffeine as a weapon against insect attacks (the dose of caffeine in the leaves of plants is poisonous to insects). Thus when these leaves wither and fall to the ground, caffeine spreads in the soil and prevents the growth of plants nearby. In addition to their protective function, scientists found that plants emit some caffeine into nectar to attract bees (another example: the use of caffeine in nature).

People also felt its caffeine effect about five thousand years ago. In China, the legendary ruler by the name of Shen-nun, the father of Chinese medicine, according to generally accepted opinion, discovered tea, which refreshed and gave strength.

People around the world have discovered caffeine in their local vegetation. Thus, various cultures invented various caffeine-containing beverages or simply chewed on the leaves of the plants, which he included in order to experience its “invigorating” effect. Those Found the use of caffeine as a stimulant.

What is effect of caffeine – Literature Review 

Chinese researchers have found that caffeine contributes to the release of oxytocin, the hormone of the hypothalamus, which is a powerful regulator of energy metabolism. However, it is worth noting that experimental mice were given fairly large doses of caffeine: at the rate of 60 milligrams of the substance per kilogram of weight. For a person, this is equivalent to 24–36 cups of coffee a day. Of course, it is not recommended to consume this amount of drink. The daily intake of caffeine for an adult per day should not exceed 400 milligrams and 100 milligrams for a teenager.

By the way, earlier scientists have already found that moderate consumption of coffee prevents the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine is able to prevent the occurrence of neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques in the human brain. In addition, scientists have found that the effect of caffeine on the brain depends on the habit of its use.

After analyzing the data of one and a half thousand people aged 65 to 84 years, Italian scientists found that drinking coffee reduces the likelihood of developing minor cognitive impairments. But drinking more coffee in old age is not worth it. As it was established, if a person already in old age began to drink coffee more often, then the chance of violations only increased by 1.5 times compared with people who did not change their long-term habit. But the reduction of coffee consumption at this age, as it turned out, does not bear risks.

Scientists have not yet figured out exactly how effect of caffeine reduces the risk of cognitive impairment. Most likely, it blocks specific chemical receptors, which with age, can start to work properly, affecting those areas of the brain that control memory and learning. 

Is it advisable to consume? 

Coffee beans

Caffeine intake increases the rate of bone loss in the elderly. Coffee affects the metabolism of calcium, and it is not recommended to use for elderly people who, due to age-related changes, calcium is washed out of the bones, as well as children, whose skeleton is in the phase of active growth.

A number of studies have confirmed that drinking coffee can reduce bone density in women of mature age and increase the risk of fractures. According to a study by American scientists (2001), women with a high intake of caffeine experienced significantly higher spinal bone loss rates than patients with low intake.

But on the other hand, according to a study by British scientists from Coventry University, caffeine increases muscle strength in older people. And this, in turn, can protect them from falls and fractures. In experiments, the effect of caffeine on the endurance and power of the soleus muscle of laboratory mice was studied. So, when using a certain amount of caffeine (70 µmol), there is an increase in muscle strength by 6 percent. In the experiments, mice of different ages were used. But, as was established among young mice, the effect of caffeine was minimal.

Women who are waiting for a child should consume it mindfully. This is evidenced by the results of studies of Danish and American scientists (2008). It is noted that women who drink one or two cups of coffee per day (this is about 100–200 mg of caffeine) increase the risk of giving birth to an underweight child by 20% compared to women whose caffeine consumption does not exceed 100 milligrams.

What is the effect of caffeine on the body

At the moment, it can be argued that moderate and regular use of coffee by healthy people either does not cause harm or even is beneficial.

However, if, as a result of another study, scientists come to the conclusion that coffee is still harmful to health, it is hard to believe that we will immediately abandon it tomorrow. For the majority of us, coffee is more than a regular drink, it is an integral part of life, in which each new day begins with a cup of flavored and invigorating drink. The pleasure received from a morning cup of coffee can hardly be replaced by something. Well, we do not refuse other pleasures. Even very harmful.