50 Ways Caffeine Affects the Human Body

I have actually given up coffee twice. I did it cold turkey about two years ago and the horrible, pounding headache and extreme fatigue made it almost unbearable. I didn’t know that caffeine narrows the main artery going to your brain (maybe that’s why I’m getting stupider 🙂 and when you stop drinking caffeine cold-turkey all of a sudden, that artery opens up wide and you have a huge amount of blood rushing to your head. Hence the reason you feel every heartbeat right in the back of your brain when you quit. Ouch!

This time I did a little more research. I found the book Caffeine Blues by Stephen Cherniske, M.S. He is a researcher and clinical nutritionist. He 100% convinced me that caffeine is bad news and I committed myself to “getting off the bean”, as he says in his book. Here is what I discovered. Tomorrow I will post about HOW I quit coffee without any headache or fatigue. Yes, it can be done.

Move that rainforest. Lets make room for coffee beans!


Believe it or not these 50 points are not an exhaustive list, but just a few key points.

1. Caffeine is a powerful drug with dangerous side effects and needs to be used with caution

2. Caffeine accumulates in the body

3. Damages the adrenals, blood vessels, breasts, brain, gastrointestinal tract, DNA, immune system and bones.

4. Caffeine is very taxing on the liver and kidneys who are continuously removing caffeine and it’s many by-products

5. Caffeine easily crosses the blood brain barrier and enters every organ, tissue and bodily fluid.

6. Caffeine contains a large amount of chemicals, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (carcinogens)

7. Caffeine is broken down into 25 by-products that all have detrimental effects on the body

8. Caffeine contains aldehydes, alcohols and sulfides. All of which have to be removed by your poor liver

9. Caffeine reduces the effectiveness of your prescription drugs.

10. Prescription drugs reduce the livers effectiveness at removing caffeine from the body

11. Some prescription drugs raise blood caffeine levels by as much as 600%.

12. Caffeine disrupts your normal adenosine receptors, which control the brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system and respiratory system. Caffeine triggers the neurons to fire uncontrollably throughout the body.

13. Because of this excess neuron activity, it triggers an “emergency’ response from the body. We’ve all heard of the “fight or flight” response. The adrenal glands pump out large amounts of stress hormones. EVERY DAY! This has very bad long-term effects on adrenal function, blood pressure, heart rate, and thyroid hormone levels.

14. Caffeine’s by-products are reabsorbed into the blood stream. Living in the gastrointestinal tract and causing putrefaction, maldigestion, gas, bloating and increasing your risk of gastrointestinal disease.

15. Caffeine significantly increases your chance of having a heart attack or stroke by causing vascular resistance (your peripheral blood vessels restrict) and damages blood vessels throughout the body.

16. Caffeine causes your body to be less metabolically efficient. Less oxygen gets to the cells, therefore less waste is removed from the cells, increasing your risk of every type of cancer.

17. Caffeine causes the blood vessels in the brain to constrict and blood flow to your brain is literally reduced. One study showed that a single 12 oz cup of coffee reduced cerebral blood flow by 40%.

18. Caffeine reduces the quality and quantity of sleep.

19. Caffeine fights against your immune system and can turn it against you, causing auto-immune disease. This condition, known as immune dysregulation, is responsible for Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Muscular Dystrophy and Fibromyalgia.

20. Caffeine accelerates age-related deterioration.

21. Caffeine raises dopamine levels and interacts with opiate receptors in exactly the same way the amphetamines and cocaine do, making it a highly addictive drug!

22. Caffeine is a known factor in several illnesses including: anxiety disorders, insomnia, bipolar disorder, depression, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, hypoglycemia, asthma, herpes, hypertension, hepatitis, diabetes, heart disease and many others..

23. Caffeine has horrible long-term effects on the adrenal glands, affecting every one of the 150 hormones produced and metabolized by these glands.

24. Caffeine cuts your DHEA levels drastically. DHEA is known as the “vitality hormone” and “the anti-aging hormone”. This causes decreased energy, decreased immune function, decreased sex drive, and reduced ability to repair and rebuild tissue.

25. Caffeine causes negative moods, anger, violence, anxiety, excess worry, frustration and depression.

26. Caffeine decreases your ability to deal with stress by lowering the GABA levels in your blood, at the same time increasing the amount of stress hormones flowing through your bloodstream. This equals big anxiety and stress!

27. Caffeine is the first thing we reach for when we are fatigued. Caffeine is the cause of our fatigue. A vicious cycle.

28. Clinical evidence shows that at a certain point, stress and caffeine-related alterations of hormones and metabolic functions may not be reversible! That scares me!

29. Caffeine causes increases loss of thiamin and other B-vitamins. Caffeine also decreases your ability to absorb these nutrients from food or supplements. Vitamin B deficiency is one major cause of neurological damage.

30. Caffeine decreases your ability to absorb calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc and chloride. This increases your risk of a whole host of illnesses including osteoporosis.

31. Caffeine oxidizes available iron by as much as 75% (this study was with ONE cup of coffee)!

32. Caffeine decreases melatonin production (the hormone that protects your cellular DNA).

33. Caffeine directly affects the neurotransmitters involved with memory and learning, decreasing mental acuity and causing brain fog.

34. Caffeine raises blood sugar levels and disrupts the blood sugar-regulating effect of insulin.

35. Caffeine raises fatty acid levels in the blood.

36. Caffeine raises homocysteine levels, increasing your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

37. Coffee, in addition to caffeine, contains pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, which all have a cumulative effect in the body. Coffee is the most heavily sprayed food ever grown. It is also unregulated because most coffee is grown outside of the USA. Many of the chemicals used are so dangerous they are banned in the United States.

38. Caffeine lowers sperm count as well as decreasing the virility and mobility of existing sperm.

39. Caffeine causes uric acid crystals to be deposited in the cartilage & joints (gout) feet (bone spurs) and kidneys (kidney stones)

40. Caffeine significantly increases intra-ocular pressure in the eyes, contributing to glaucoma and macular degeneration.

41. Women consuming even one cup/150mg of caffeine per day are 7 times more likely to suffer from PMS.

42. Caffeine drinkers have abnormally high levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in their breast tissue, which is directly related to fibrocystic breast disease. One study showed 82% of women experienced complete disappearance of breast lumps after eliminating caffeine for 30-45 days.

43. Your risk of miscarriage increases by 200% if you drink more than 160 mg of caffeine per day while pregnant.

44. Because of its effects on vitamin and mineral absorption, caffeine increases the likelihood of birth defects.

45. Because of its effects on oxygen delivery, caffeine increases the likelihood of birth defects and low birth weight.

46. Babies born addicted to caffeine are more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

47. A recent study showed high levels DDT, BHC, lindane, aldrin and chlordane on all brazilian coffee beans tested. These chemicals are not ‘burned off’ during the roasting process as previously thought.

48. Run off from coffee plantations decimates rain forests, kills fish, pollutes lakes and streams and eventually finds its way to the ocean. Coral reefs thousands of miles out from shore are dying from this pollution

49. Workers in third world countries use no protection or safety equipment while spraying these chemicals. This is a major health risk for the growers and processors who come in contact with a massive quantity of these drugs.

50. In the 20 years between 1975 and 1995 more than 500,000 square kilometers of Amazonian rain forest was leveled to make room for coffee plantations, in Brazil alone!

Many children never go to school in Brazil and Columbia because they are needed on the coffee plantations.

Folgers Field in Brazil. This used to be 985 square miles of rainforest.

So what are you waiting for? I just gave you 50 good reasons to put down the coffee mug, the pop bottle, the diet pills and the chocolate bar. Ok, maybe you can have just a little bite of chocolate 🙂

Tomorrow I will post the routine I used to quit coffee addiction. Stay tuned!


  1. wartica said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    Thanks for showing the side-effects; exactly why I stay clear of coffee, and have for years:))

    • March 20, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Good Job! You’re way ahead of the rest of us 🙂 I actually quit way back in my 20’s and then started again. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.

  2. eastwestfarm said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    Ugh, just what I didn’t want to read as I have my morning cup of Joe. A couple of years ago, I quit coffee, tobacco, and sugar all at once. Talk about some DTs! I haven’t touched the tobacco, but the coffee still has its hooks in me.

  3. denlyn3 said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    So now I know why I get the massive headache when I miss my cup of coffee in the morning. Looking forward to how to get off the addiction.

  4. March 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    I’m pretty impressed with that list! Hubby has been on me to “get off the bean” for a while. I did it twice too! LOL I just recently quit a couple of weeks ago, but I LOVE coffee. It’s sad for me in a way but I do have a secret weapon… I’ll share tomorrow when you post how you did it. Suspense all around, LOL 😉 Have a great day! Thanks for this list. I’m going to share it with my family and friends 🙂

    • March 20, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      ooo I can’t wait to hear about your secret weapon! I also would like to hear what you drink now to satisfy that coffee craving.

  5. RedDesilets said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I’m down to one cup of coffee in the morning (used to drink Diet Mt. Dew nonstop, day and night). I’ve been working with a fabulous nutritionist and she wanted me off sugar first – that was done in less than two weeks! 🙂 With the help of *real* food dietary changes and whole food supplements from Standard Process I even have enough energy now for exercise! I am suspecting our next appointment will be to address the morning cup of Joe but I may take myself off by then. 🙂 Thanks for this post! I knew it was not really good but had no idea about most of those! Thanks so much for the post! I know a lot of research must’ve gone into this!

    • March 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

      I am looking for a good Naturopath or nutritionist right now. Mine is retiring and I’m really sad about it. It is SO hard to find someone who even knows what real food is….GREAT Job on the sugar, I swear that is the hardest one to over come!

      • RedDesilets said,

        March 22, 2012 at 8:52 AM

        Good luck in your search for a new naturopath and/or nutritionist! Ours I think is roughly the same age as us so hopefully she’ll be there for a looong time. I figured I overcame nicotine, so may as well tackle sugar and caffeine. Glad my nutritionist has been there to help me do it the right (and therefore permanent) way.

  6. creekrose said,

    March 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    hmm, now i have a question . . . .. are these 50’s specific to caffeine coming from coffee, or is this an absolute on caffeine itself regardless of what it’s found in (yerba mate, green tea, black tea, etc) . . . .. .

    • March 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Caffeine period. Even the caffeine found in my darling Kombucha. I’m going to miss that a lot!

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  10. May 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Please can you give me the link to your article where you shared the routine you used to quit coffee? I’ve never really been addicted to coffee and don’t drink any caffeine. I only drink Rooibos tea (a locally produced tea here in South Africa which is caffeine free and very high in antioxidants). But I want to share the link with my hubby who is also trying to come off coffee – I think this might be the final nudge he needs 😉

  11. Judith said,

    March 26, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I found this while researching the effects of coffee on my MS symptoms. You didn’t mention it but I don’t think I’m crazy. Within minutes of drinking coffee I start feeling electrical currents around my brain and up and down my arms. I drank decaf for about six weeks and I went into remission…it was wonderful. Starting drinking coffee again and it all started back. Looking forward to reading how you did it.

  12. ASchoolKid said,

    April 9, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Mind if I use this in an Assignment?
    I’m not a massive fan of coffee but, I enjoy it occasionally.
    Now I just feel off about the whole thing.
    Thank you for this list, its really helpful 🙂

  13. Dyann said,

    July 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Thanks for the truth. It’s promoted how it has cancer fighting effects but how it effects you’re immune system in a negative way out ways it. I know to quit and have known for years. I too quit twice. I know that the Bible says too not be brought under the power of some thing. And all things may not be helpful but to keep in moderating. Well I have acid reflux which causes abnormal cell build up also inflammation due to acid is bad for us, now literally feel it taking from my bones, they hurt. So now I am trying to make up for it with calcium and vitiman d, which is a defeating battle. I had no idea about the chemicals hmm. I knew wasn’t natural and natural can be purchased but still bad. It’s the habit of doing it as well but that’s all a habit is and can be broken if wasn’t there to begin with.

  14. July 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    My name is oluwole am’from lagos i want to effect of caffine in the system

  15. Donny abott said,

    July 26, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    never did not know that caffiene can hurt a humans body at all i only drink 4-6 cup a day or less

  16. James said,

    August 13, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    at 10 cups a day and won’t ever quit until it or something else kills me. Call me crazy but I abide by the words attributed to Bartholomew Roberts: “A merry life and a short one.”

    Congrats and best wishes for success to all who wish to quit coffee. I hope you find it enriches your time on this rock.

  17. sarahbruce said,

    August 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    can we get some references for these claims?

    • August 22, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      Sarah, Absolutely. In the book Caffeine Blues by Stephen Cherniske, M.S. he lists pages and pages of references that are far too long to type into a blog post.

  18. tamimarie83 said,

    September 11, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    This is a very chilling account of the effects that caffeine has on the human cycle. I visited this site for one very specific reason and got more then I came for. I have been suffering with fibromyalgia and intense migraines for the past few years now. I have it worse then others in my family but then I eat chocolate all the time and have coffee each day. So no wonder! Not any more now, thanks to the discovery of this article which is very detailed. I thought about how caffeine always makes me feel a lot of tension in my body the more I have the more tense I feel and this article helps me to see my hunch that caffeine isn’t healthy for me helps me to make a decision to lesson it or stop drinking it now. Thank you!

  19. andrew said,

    December 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Several of things that were said are not true, because of inconclusive data. some studies show that caffeine increases sperm count and testosterone. caffeine is a natural pesticide. It is inconclusive data that caffeine causes cancer, however studies do show that the hormones of women are effected differently, which decreases sex drive for women, not men. Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA is a genetic illness which is not made clear when reading this information, which for some would give them false information if they are not informed. Caffeine does not effect everyone that same, for some a depressant and others stimulant. Pure caffeine may not be at play, which is not made clear. Green tea is good for the joints, but is pure caffeine that is at play; this not made clear. lastly some auto-immune diseases are genetic, but you are not that clear. I politely say thank you for the false information, but with anything else why would want to know if it is true

  20. andrew said,

    December 26, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    one more fact for ya 51. Caffeine can cause acne

  21. andrew said,

    December 26, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    ginseng does improve concentration, but there is no evidence that guarana does

  22. andrew said,

    December 26, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    please though do explain yourself better, and if you are to give inconclusive data, state the pros and cons

    • January 10, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      Andrew, perhaps you can read the book that I recommended and let us know what you think.

  23. Kevin said,

    March 4, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Hellow! I am suprised that after every coffee i drink, i fall asleep. Whats the problem???

  24. Shari Kalb said,

    March 6, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Asian studies show that the more green tea people drink, the longer they live. You may be mixing up caffeine and coffee. Look at the articles at LEF.ORG (Life Extension Foundation) on the benefits of coffee. Most of your comments are simply not true.

  25. ruudy said,

    March 12, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    This is a bunch of nonsense of course. one cup of organic arabica free trade espresso contains very little cafeine. There are other cofees out here that I would not drink Just as I would not eat some peanut butters. Most of those are loded with harmfull chemicals and additional bad ingredients.Organic pure peanut butter is fine. So folks it is not the coffee or anything else you want to consume.Anything in moderation and make sure you know what you are buying. A gallon of bad non organic robusta coffee will not be good for you. Use common sense!

  26. sd501-u said,

    March 27, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    Hey there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to
    follow you if that would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  27. Daniel C said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Curious about the tips for quitting coffee, as mentioned above (where they can be found), thanks

  28. Daniel C said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    oops, is see it now, thanks (link to tips for quitting coffee).

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  35. Kenzie T said,

    November 8, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Thank you so much. I baught about five new portable coffee cups as soon as I got my first job in July. Made sure to stay stocked on coffee, Ive always had coffe with me everday for about three years before I got my job. But its been about three months and my health has been off like you have no idea… One thing I didnt catch in the article, I only had time to skim but I lost only fifteen lbs. and my breasts are almost half the size thy used to be. Could coffee be the reason? I still drink it now maybe three days out of the week. Ive been trying my best to cut down

  36. Francesca Huneeus said,

    November 15, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    I drink one to two cups of coffee a day- to give me a little energy (opposite happens to me) I get very dizzy and tired. Does this kind of reaction happen to some people? Love to hear from someone on this.

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  46. March 16, 2015 at 6:53 AM

    I used to drink coffee (which contains caffeine substance) because of its anti-oxidant properties but after reading several articles regarding how bad caffeine is, including this article it made me quit! Afterwards, I only take phytoceramides supplement because it has anti-aging formula – it smoothens your rough skin and replenishes the natural ceramides level. I hope that all people will awaken about the effects of containing too much caffeine in our body.

  47. Johan said,

    August 17, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    Great post. I ran out of coffee about a week ago and had a massive migraine the next day. I have known that drinking large amounts of coffee was bad, but this post was just what I needed. So tonight I will have my last cup. Many thanks. Johan

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