Caffeine supplements are most often used to help improve mental alertness, but they have other benefits as well. It can be used to help treat cases of asthma, gallbladder disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), low blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and shortness of breath in newborns. Caffeine is also used in creams that can be applied to the skin as an anti-ageing cream or to reduce itching in dermatitis.
In recent years caffeine has taken its place amongst other supplements that enhance weight-loss. It is also commonly used as a stimulant among athletes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allows only a limited amount of caffeine use and urine concentration over15 mcg/mL is prohibited. It takes approximately 8 cups of coffee with 100 mg/cup to reach this urine concentration.
The chemical caffeine is found in coffee, tea, coke, guarana, mate, and other foods and products. Coffee is perhaps the most notorious of caffeinated products because of its high content.
- 1 cup of brewed coffee provides you with between 95 to 200 mg of caffeine.
- An 8-ounce cup of black tea provides you with 40 to 120 mg of caffeine.
- An 8 ounce serving of green tea provides you with 15 to 60 mg of caffeine.
- A 12 ounce serving of soft drinks like cola provides you with 20 to 80 mg caffeine.
- Energy and sports drinks provide you with roughly 48 to 300 mg of caffeine per serving.
How does caffeine supplements benefits the body?
Caffeine works in the body by stimulating the central nervous system, heart, muscles, and the centres that control blood pressure. However, overuse of caffeine may cause blood pressure to rise. Caffeine often has a diuretic effect on the body and acts somewhat like a 'water pill' that increases urine flow.
The biggest benefit of caffeine is that it helps improve mental alertness, but it has other benefits as well. It can be used in combination with certain painkillers to help treat migraine headaches. In certain cases, your doctor may give you caffeine intravenously (by IV) after epidural anaesthesia, to help to breathe problems in newborns, and to increase urine flow.
How many caffeine supplements should I take?
The correct range of doses as per scientific research is:
- Treating headaches or improving mental alertness: 250 mg per day
- Tiredness: 150 to 600 mg
- Improved athletic performance: 2 to 10 mg/kg is used in some cases. Keep in mind that an excess of 800 mg per day can cause urine levels that are greater than the 15 mcg/mL which are not allowed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
- Weight loss: a combination of ephedrine and caffeine has effective in some cases when used in doses of 20 mg/200 mg three times a day
- Headaches after epidural anaesthesia: 300 mg
- Preventing gallstone disease: 400 mg, or more, caffeine per day
- Preventing Parkinson's disease: Studies show that men who drink between 421 mg and 2716mg of total caffeine per day have the lowest risk of developing Parkinson's disease compared to other men. Men who drink as little as 124-208 mg of caffeine per day also have significantly lower chances of developing Parkinson's. For women, moderate caffeine intake per day, about 1 to 3 cups of coffee per day, seems to be effective.