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.
WHY QUIT CAFFEINE?
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!
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!