The effect of caffeine on the nervous system is a topic of frequent discussion. Coffee is a present and accompanying substance of mankind for a long time. He has his defenders and his detractors, but no one can deny his omnipresence.
Most of us have consumed coffee at some time in our lives, or we do it daily. In general, we associate coffee with the times when we need more energy and counteract sleep.
There are myths and truths about the effects of caffeine on the nervous system. Regularly, scientific studies are conducted to corroborate or deny certain consequences associated with coffee consumption.
Remember that caffeine is a natural substance. There is also a synthetic preparation of caffeine that is usually added to certain drugs, as well as to energy drinks.
In the general population, more than nine out of ten people have consumed or consumed caffeine. Which betrays the diffusion that the substance has among all of us.
It is common for us to link the effect of caffeine on the nervous system with activation to perform some task. We assume that it improves our intellectual performance and attention for activities that require it, such as driving, for example.
Part of the assumptions are correct and we will see it below. Another part, however, is not proven reliably by science.
The action of caffeine in the nervous system
Once we ingest the substance, the time it takes to act caffeine in the nervous system is fifteen minutes. Subsequently, its effects are sustained up to approximately six hours.
Caffeine is an adenosine receptor antagonist. This means that it has a molecular structure that allows it to occupy the space of this receptor, preventing it from being occupied by the substance known as adenosine.
Adenosine is a metabolic result that the body generates after using energy. It is not a waste, but we can understand it as the substance that appears when spending cellular fuel called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
After using ATP to function in some activity, such as a physical exercise, an hour of study or paying attention to something, adenosine arises. Adenosine binds to specific cell receptors and causes sleep.
Caffeine in the nervous system, as we said, blocks those receptors. Then, adenosine does not have to bind, so it does not generate the dream it should.
Coffee and sleep
It is correct to say that caffeine decreases the feeling of sleep. It is something that is already scientifically proven. This effect of caffeine on the nervous system is the reason why it is used by students or night workers.
But not all people react the same to caffeine. That is why not at all the dream is blocked in the same way. For some, the effect is quite immediate and lasting, while others claim that coffee does not change their resting patterns.
It is also known that it is not the way to prepare coffee that determines the blockage of sleep, but the amount of effective caffeine ingested. The effect will be similar to filtered coffee beans than with a beaten coffee if the milligrams are taken match.
On the other hand, caffeine has been compared with napping for the moments before driving a vehicle. And it has been found that coffee ingestion can be equivalent to thirty minutes of a nap before driving.
Caffeine and other brain substances
Caffeine in the nervous system not only has its effect on adenosine. The scientists who study it have proven that it influences the body’s dopaminergic activity. The dopaminergic system of the nervous system is mediated by a transmitting substance called dopamine.
Dopamine is linked to feelings of pleasure and is altered in Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine, therefore, indirectly activates dopamine receptors, as if it were the natural substance. This entails feelings of well-being that can be recorded when consuming caffeine.
Similarly, by activating the dopaminergic system, scientists have wondered what relationship it could have with Parkinson’s. The answers are divided:
- Some studies attribute caffeine to a preventive effect on the disease.
- Other works deny it.
No less is the addictive effect of caffeine on the nervous system. International medical societies agree that 400 milligrams per day are the upper limit of safety for consumption. Higher doses may develop symptoms of addiction and withdrawal symptoms when the substance is removed.
In conclusion, it is a drink that has beneficial effects when consumed moderately. It is not a magical substance to eliminate tiredness and sleep, but it can help in certain circumstances.