Dangers of caffeine may outweigh benefits

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By EMILY PRISK, Ranger Reporter:

Many college students rely heavily on caffeine to get them through the day, or oftentimes to help them study through the night. While caffeine can be a lifesaver at times, its potential dangers may outweigh its benefits.

Caffeine increases the body’s heartbeat, respiration, metabolism and production of stomach acid and urine. It also relaxes certain muscles. All effects vary for each individual, depending on their sensitivity to the drug, their metabolism and whether or not they habitually use caffeine.

Overall, caffeine tends to make users feel less drowsy and less fatigued. Caffeine can also cause unwanted side effects, however, when taken in large doses.

According to American Fitness Professionals and Associates, 250 to 750 mg of caffeine (about 2 to 7 cups of coffee) “can produce restlessness, nausea, headaches, tense muscles, sleep disturbances and irregular heartbeats.” Higher doses can even cause reactions similar to anxiety attacks.

“I’ve never personally experienced the effects of too much caffeine, but I know it can be super addicting” said Madison Goodman, a general studies major. “Most people don’t even know they’re addicted.”

Caffeine is in fact known to cause physical dependence. American Fitness Professionals and Associates says that even with moderate doses, people can build a tolerance to caffeine and will need higher doses to feel the same effects.

Ethan Griffith, a secondary education major, said he has experienced the side effects of caffeine withdrawal. “Caffeine can be addicting. I work at a coffee shop, so I drink a good amount of coffee. I get headaches when I go too long without any coffee or caffeine,” he said.

It is important to note once again that every individual reacts differently to various amounts of caffeine. If problems with caffeine are noticed, lowering caffeine intake or switching to decaffeinated beverages should be considered.

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