Why does caffeine give you energy and why is it bad for you?


Why does caffeine give you energy and why is it bad for you?

In: Biology

Caffeine doesn’t give you energy, that’s a bit of a misnomer.

Your body naturally produces a molecule called adenosine which is what makes you feel tired. Adenosine builds up in your body over the course of a day. The caffeine molecule blocks the receptors for adenosine, so it counters the effect temporarily and wakes you up.

However the adenosine is still in your system, so when the caffeine wears off all the adenosine suddenly takes effect which is why you feel that caffeine crash a few hours after you drink coffee.

Adenosine also eventually builds up to the point where you can’t counter it anymore, so drinking coffee won’t keep you awake forever.

Coffee is considered a stimulant for that reason, but technically speaking caffeine doesn’t actually give you more energy, it just makes you less tired so it feels like you have more energy.

Caffeine is also addictive, a lot of the feelings you get from it like the mild high and energy are actually a result of you feeding the caffeine addiction. This is also why caffeine gives you headaches when you haven’t had any for a while, you are going into withdrawal.

Caffeine is a very mild drug, but it does develop into a dependency. For people who drink coffee every day it stops being a stimulant so much as you end up needing the caffeine to feel fully awake. The good news is it doesn’t appear to cause any long term damage. If you go off coffee you’ll have headaches for a day or two during the withdrawal but within a week or two you should be back to ‘normal’.

Short version: caffeine doesn’t give you energy. It stops the signal in your brain that tells you that you’re tired. Since you don’t feel tired, you feel like to have energy…until the caffeine wears off and you crash because you suddenly realised you’re running on empty. (But hopefully by that point you’ve graduated so it’s all good…)

I’m nothing near to a medical professional… But…

From my Google searching, it looks like your brain has little ports or receptors that accept different types of chemicals that are used to tell your brain what is going on in your body.

One of these chemicals is called adenosine which is what makes you tired. As the day goes on, Adenosine binds or locks on to more and more of a specific type of port (called the A1 receptor) of your brain that causes you to get sleepy.

Caffeine however, also wants to bind to those same A1 receptors. So, when you drink coffee, the caffeine in that coffee will connect to those A1 receptors. And, when the A1 receptors are bound to caffeine, they are temporarily blocked so the Adenosine can not blind to them. This results you feeling more awake and alert.

So… Hopefully that made some sense.
And also, in moderation I don’t believe caffeine is actually bad for you…. I think it can raise cholesterol or something, but I’m only 21 and don’t even know what that word means.

Anywho, here’s a website that explains everything a lot better: