Does caffeine help with stress?

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Does caffeine help with stress?

Caffeine is a stimulant with which many people maintain their own love-hate story because, on the one hand, it helps them to be active, but on the other it causes other problems, such as difficulties in sleeping or increased levels of stress .

The truth is that there is much confusion about whether the caffeine is good or bad and to what extent it suits us or not to consume this stimulant.

Effects of caffeine on the body

Caffeine has direct effects on our hormones within a few minutes of ingesting it, and its effect lasts for 4-6 hours. The hormones affected by caffeine are the following:

-Caffeine affects the absorption of adenosine, a hormone that calms the body. Although at first we feel more alert, this effect can cause us to have sleep problems. Therefore, it is important to take into account the hours that the effect of caffeine lasts with respect to the time we wish to rest.

-The caffeine also affects the adrenaline levels, which are increased, making us feel less fatigued and less depressed. The problem is that this agitation prevents relaxation and, therefore, rest, causing nervousness. In some circumstances, as they say, the remedy is worse than the disease.

-The caffeine also increases the levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. This can lead to other health consequences, such as weight gain (if stress encourages you to eat without control), mood swings, heart disease or even diabetes.

-The caffeine also increases the levels of dopamine , a hormone that acts in a similar way to amphetamines . This makes us feel better taking caffeine, but when the effect disappears it is easy for a state of “slump” to ensue. One of the big problems is the dependence or addiction that can occur to find the algid state and avoid the subsequent consequences.

Consequences of caffeine intake

-Caffeine can seriously affect sleep and rest if the last hour of intake is not controlled with respect to the time of sleep or rest. Sleep is a fundamental repairing element, and can not be compensated with the intake of any stimulant or any drug. In any case, caffeine can cause difficulties in falling asleep, but it does not affect the sleep phases as other stimulants do, so it is the best option if you need to take something to be awake.

– Many experts agree that the increase in cortisol levels causes people to have more appetite for eating foods rich in fat and carbohydrates and have the body store them in the abdomen, which entails serious risks for cardiovascular health . Interestingly, eating foods rich in fats and carbohydrates causes more desire to take caffeine, which makes us enter a vicious circle difficult to solve.

– However , caffeine speeds up metabolism and can help break down fat by about 30% more effectively if consumed before exercising. This, together with the fact that caffeine can help increase blood sugar levels -which decreases the sensation of hunger- makes caffeine consumption very interesting before performing physical activity to increase levels of caffeine. energy and performance .

A problem that can cause caffeine is the subsequent feeling of fatigue and fatigue , after the performance of intense physical activities, when the effects of caffeine disappear, making it difficult to perform other activities later. But if used sparingly, the consumption of caffeine before exercise is useful for both performance and endurance to promote fat burning. The key is to ingest caffeine before exercising and do the exercise at least 4-6 hours before sleeping or resting.

Caffeine and stress

Since caffeine increases the levels of cortisol and cortisol raises the level of stress, high amounts of caffeine can lead to negative health effects associated with that increase in cortisol levels. If a large amount of caffeine is ingested, it is easy to feel a plummeting mood , which will cause the need to take more and more to stay lively, that is, an addiction to caffeine.

Therefore, it is best to control when caffeine is ingested and how much is taken. It is as important to moderate the amount as it is to not interfere with rest cycles and that the irritability caused by overstimulation and lack of sleep does not complicate the situation any more .

Usually, Spanish adults eat 4.5 kilograms of coffee per person every year. This consumption can be considered moderate since in countries such as Finland, Norway and Sweden it is 12 kilograms per year.

The moderate consumption of caffeine is good for health, among its multiple properties we highlight the ability to stay awake and active. That is why it constitutes a fundamental part of most breakfasts.


The relationship with stress

Caffeine is closely related to scientifically proven stress. The consumption of coffee increases a substance in our body: cortisol . This substance is directly related to the high levels of stress that we can suffer. The high consumption of caffeine can produce a sudden sensation of decay of the mood of the person who consumes it, thus suffering the opposite effect of what is desired. This arises because we force the body to be active even at times when you need to rest and that is why at a given moment, exhaustion defeats caffeine.

The caffeine in our body

Caffeine reaches our blood between 30 and 45 minutes after having consumed it. From there it is distributed throughout the body. The average life of caffeine in our body is 4 hours, but it can last up to 10 hours in our body depending on our metabolism.


Caffeine keeps us in a state of alert and prolonged attention because it inhibits adenosine. This substance is generated by our own body and is responsible for relaxing the body. After inhibiting this substance, caffeine is responsible for stimulating our central nervous system.

Ingestion in large quantities can cause insomnia, tremors and agitated breathing. These symptoms are sometimes manifested at lower doses and are usually related to high levels of stress.

The effect of caffeine varies depending on the frequency of the intake, so it is often necessary to increase the dose to achieve the same effect if you are a habitual consumer. This can lead to an addiction to caffeine.

For all this if you are being treated for stress or have it diagnosed, we recommend that you take special care with stimulating substances such as caffeine.

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