The effects of caffeine are often a topic of controversy. One day, you hear about the benefits and the next, the risks. Caffeine is a stimulating ingredient found in some of our most beloved beverages, including coffee, tea, hot cocoa and cola sodas. It is interesting to note, however, that caffeine is also a drug - one that has benefits as well as side effects.

Many people have a cup or two of coffee in the morning to help them perk up and take on the day. Some use caffeine as a stimulant when they need to stay up late at night to study, as products with caffeine can definitely act as a pick-me-up.

Caffeine has other benefits which are less known. For example, caffeine may help you avoid developing diabetes, gallstones and Parkinson's disease. In addition, caffeine may lower your risk of developing hypertension or liver disease.

Caffeine Caution
This is not, however, an excuse to guzzle more caffeinated drinks or eat more chocolate. Scientists are still working on understanding the relationship of caffeine and diseases.

Some of the negative effects of caffeine are well known. For one, caffeine can be addictive, leading to headaches and other withdrawal symptoms if a person suddenly tries to cut caffeine out of his diets.

Caffeine can also make people feel jittery, lose sleep and experience upset stomachs. Caffeine consumption can lead to headaches, feelings of anxiousness or muscle tremors. Doctors generally advise pregnant women to avoid caffeine, as caffeine can slow the growth of a fetus and increase the risk of having miscarriages or stillborns.

If you drink herbal teas, make sure that the teas do not contain ephedra, a substance that the Food and Drug Administration has banned as a dietary supplement. Ephedra itself increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, but the combination of ephedra and caffeine is even more dangerous.

Caffeine can interact with drugs that you might be taking. For example, antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin lengthen the time that caffeine remains in your body. The bottom line is that you should discuss your caffeine intake with you doctor when your physician prescribes drugs for you.
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THE HEALTH AFFECTS OF CAFFEINE
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