Scientific Opinion on Caffeine


Opinions on caffeine intake are divided. However, scientific studies have shown that moderate caffeine intake has a positive effect on most adults. Get the scientific opinion on caffeine in this article.

Consuming caffeinated beverages frequently has adverse health effects

Studies on caffeine are not entirely conclusive. Only one causal relationship is known related to caffeine intake for negative outcomes during pregnancy.

Beneficial effects in reducing the risk of chronic diseases

But to understand the health effects of caffeine, you first need to know the source of these active compounds.

Sources of caffeine

Caffeine is the most consumed stimulant worldwide. The main sources of caffeine are:

  • Cola Nut (Cola acuminata)
  • Cacao (Theobroma cacao)
  • Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a tea consumed in some South American countries.
  • Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
  • Roasted coffee beans (Arabica and Robusta) are the main sources of caffeine consumed worldwide.

In addition to the aforementioned sources, caffeine can be found in some pain relievers, sodas, energy drinks, and dietary supplements.

The concentration of caffeine varies considerably depending on the beverage containing this ingredient. However, coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine per cup, so it is the beverage with the highest concentration of caffeine. Mate contains 78 mg per 230 gm, making it the second highest concentration beverage, and the third is black tea containing 55 mg per 230 gm.

Coffee is the beverage with the highest caffeine content. It is followed by mate and black tea.

Caffeine absorption and metabolism

It is then metabolized in the liver to form three important metabolites:

  • Theobromine
  • Paraxanthine
  • Theophylline

What are the scientific effects of caffeine after it is absorbed by the body? These compounds have physiological effects on the body. Let’s learn more about it now.

Physiological Mechanisms of Caffeine

Caffeine acts as an antagonist to adenosine receptors in the brain.

Stimulates central nervous system (CNS) activity by blocking adenosine binding in sleep-inducing neurons. In general, a low intake of this substance, about 20 to 200 mg per day, has a positive effect on happiness, arousal, and energy.

However, higher doses can cause tension and anxiety, especially in people who are not used to drinking caffeinated beverages.

Caffeine intake and Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disease that occurs after a gradual decrease in dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra.

Reduces deterioration in fine motor skills and gross motor skills.

Caffeine intake helps produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in Parkinson’s disease.

Caffeine intake for obesity and diabetes

The scientific opinion about caffeine and its weight loss effects is very interesting.

Caffeine intake of 300 mg per day increases cyclic AMP by inhibiting the cycle of cyclic AMP Phosphodiesterase and increases norepinephrine secretion by antagonizing adenosine receptors. This is the effect of inducing weight loss by increasing lipolytic activity.

The inverse relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes

Effect of Caffeine on Mineral Absorption

Help your body absorb important minerals such as iron and calcium

Some cohort studies have reported that high doses of caffeine increase urinary calcium excretion. This increases the risk of developing bone disease. Therefore, experts recommend that you control your caffeine intake by:

  • 4 cups of black coffee
  • 3 cups of cappuccino
  • 6 cups of coffee

Note:  These recommendations should be supplemented with adequate calcium intake.

Scientific Opinion on Caffeine During Pregnancy and Lactation

Caffeine is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation because of its ability to cross the placenta and stimulate the fetal metabolic rate.

High doses of caffeine during pregnancy have been associated with the development of congenital malformations, miscarriages, low birth weight, and behavioral changes in newborns.

Caffeine passes directly into breast milk and can cause irritability and sleep disturbances in babies.

Excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy and lactation can harm your baby.

Scientific Opinion on Caffeine’s Health Effects

It is important to know the effects and mechanisms on the body.

According to most human studies, moderate caffeine intake, no more than 400 mg per day, has an effect on weight and on neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases.

However, it is important to note that consumption should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation. It is also good to control the diuretic action.


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