Caffeine is magic. One cup of coffee down and, all the dopamine and serotonin kicks in. Despite global consumption, a few are actually aware of how caffeine affects the brain.
It is estimated that India consumes 120,000 tons of coffee per year, wherein South India dominates in coffee consumption (Source: coffeebi). The pandemic elevated the coffee intake as people are confined to work-from-home and it led to new trends and experiments like dalgona coffee, coffee shots etc. The fact that coffee is now at hand, and is an energy booster, its consumption is widespread.
So are you actually aware of what happens when coffee gets ingested and enters the brain?
How coffee actually works?
Coffee consists of many biological active compounds like caffeine, chlorogenic acids(CGAs) cafestrol and kahweol, trigenolline which may affect the health. Being biologically active means, that they can interfere with the biological processes.
Caffeine works as the mood-enhancing, energy boosting drug. It has a similar structure to that of adenosine that is the sleep-causing chemical which makes you sleepy when released in your brain. Above all, caffeine blocks the adenosine by binding with the receptors in your brain as it is structurally similar to it, and restricts the activity of adenosine so it no more makes you feel sleepy and enhances the activity. Also, it increases the supply of adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin that in turn enhances the cognitive performance.
How coffee affects the health?
A cup of coffee lowers the risk of many diseases like Type-2 diabetes, cancer, depression, Alzheimer, Parkinson and other liver diseases. All the positive effects of coffee are due to the high content of antioxidants. Also, it can improve brain function and boost metabolism. Moreover, caffeine prevents dopamine from getting reabsorbed into your body so that we feel alert and wake for a longer time than usual. This is the only factor that leads to caffeine addiction.
Caffeine’s half life is up to 6 hours but it can take 2-10 hours to get eliminated from your body. Also over time the brain develops more adenosine receptors, so it takes more coffee to stay awake who regularly drink coffee in excess. Too much coffee might be a potential killer, so keep check of how much amount of caffeine you consume in a day.