Blog: Ren's Holistic Fitness and Life Journal
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Top Reasons to be Caffeine Free

God's gifts to coffee addicts

Date:   11/20/2006 6:08:12 AM   ( 15 y ) ... viewed 2534 times

Caffeine Sensitivity

Approximately 20% of the population is caffeine sensitive. Even just a few milligrams of caffeine will set off an immediate reaction. People who have no problem drinking coffee all day long simply can’t understand how dramatically caffeine sensitive people respond to the slightest bit of caffeine. If you’re caffeine sensitive, you may have any number of reactions to caffeine, but the most common ones are:

* Feelings of anxiety, nervousness and irritability
* Rapid speech
* The jitters
* Sleeplessness even though the caffeine was consumed many hours before
* Incessant thinking and restlessness that interferes with relaxing

Other extreme forms of caffeine sensitivity may cause unique symptoms such as:

* Obsessive compulsive behavior
* Paranoia
* Phobias
* Skin rashes and other allergic symptoms
* Muscular pain and tension including neck and back pain

If you suspect you are caffeine sensitive, the best test is to completely eliminate caffeine from your diet. If the symptoms that are bothering you disappear, you’re among the 20% who learn to avoid caffeinated beverages and coffee flavored foods.

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Weight Loss

A number of diets such as The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman, The Rosedale Diet by Ron Rosedale, M.D., and The Perricone Prescription by Nicholas Perricone, M.D. advise their followers to quit caffeine to help their weight loss process. There are documented scientific reasons that support the premise that caffeine interferes with weight loss programs. To read a professional paper on the effects of coffee and caffeine on weight loss, click here. A quick summary of the paper’s main points follows:

* Caffeine elevates stress hormones. People tend to eat when feeling stressed and this thwarts their diet goals.
* Caffeine triggers hypoglycemia and increases appetite. Weight loss diets are designed to achieve stable blood sugar without insulin spikes. Caffeine raises blood sugar, which can result in subsequent low blood sugar that drives people to eat high fat, refined carbohydrate foods to get a quick energy boost.
* Caffeine aggravates Insulin Resistance Syndrome. Obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and cellular insensitivity to insulin are part of a syndrome that can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Caffeine contributes to insulin resistance and impairs glucose tolerance. 41 million Americans are considered to be pre-diabetic and are advised to adapt healthy lifestyle and dietary habits to avoid progressing to type 2 diabetes.

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Health Crisis

Many people decide to become caffeine-free after visiting a health care professional who advises them to quit coffee to improve their health. Health conditions that are aggravated by caffeine include:

* Heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high inflammatory indicators like homocysteine
* Acid reflux and GERD
* Women’s health problems such as PMS, menopausal symptoms, infertility, fibrocystic breasts, and osteoporosis
* Diabetes< and Insulin Resistance Syndrome
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis
* Interstitial Cystitis
* Sleeplessness and fatigue
* Stress
* Mood disorders and depression
* Migraine headaches

To read professional papers with citations about the effect of coffee and caffeine on these health problems, click here.

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Pregnancy & Nursing

Caffeine crosses the placental barrier and affects fetal development. Caffeine also can decrease fertility, which can be crucial for couples with infertility problems. Caffeine is rapidly incorporated into breast milk and can be detected in breast milk even days after the mother has ingested it. Health care professionals advise pregnant and nursing women to avoid caffeine to protect their babies’ health. To read a professional paper with citations about the effect of coffee and caffeine on pregnancy, fertility and breast milk, click here.

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Aging & Stress

Many people’s tolerance for caffeine changes as they turn 40 or 50. The adrenal glands’ production of DHEA, the hormone responsible for anabolic metabolism or rebuild and repair activity as well as the production of sex hormones, declines sharply after the age of 40. The production of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases inversely to the decline of DHEA. Elevated levels of cortisol accelerate aging symptoms including skin wrinkling, loss of muscle and increased fat gain, and feelings of anxiety and stress. People who want to slow the aging process, boost their DHEA production, and decrease their stress are advised to eliminate caffeine from their diet. To read professional papers with citations on the effects of coffee and caffeine on aging and stress...coming soon in January 2005.

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Sleep & Mood Distrubance

Caffeine can interfere with sleep either by causing insomnia or by shortening the duration and depth of sleep. People metabolize caffeine at different rates and the sleep of some people can still be affected even though they last consumed caffeine 8 – 12 hours before sleep. Women on birth control pills and people taking pharmaceutical drugs metabolize caffeine much more slowly because caffeine and drugs both have to be detoxified in the liver. Anyone experiencing sleep problems should try eliminating caffeine from their diet as part of a program to restore restful sleep.

Anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and impatience can all be aggravated by caffeine. Depression can result as a withdrawal symptom from an absence of caffeine in caffeine addicted individuals. People can be unaware of the effect of caffeine on their mood until family members of co-workers complain of their caffeine driven behavior. People with mood disturbances may find that nutritional and herbal support during caffeine weaning will help rebalance their brain chemistry and relieve the symptoms of depression.

To read professional papers with citations about the effects of coffee and caffeine on sleeplessness and mood disorders...coming soon in January 2005.

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The Pursuit of Optimal Health

The ultimate reasons to live a caffeine-free life is to pursue optimal health. Ingesting a drug on a habitual daily basis simply doesn’t support that goal. Drugs are invaluable when they are needed to produce a result or relieve a symptom as quickly as possible. Caffeine is a great stimulant when you need it on an occasional basis. Driving late at night or instantly achieving alertness when sleep deprived are both excellent times to use caffeine as a drug. Opening the bronchial passages during an asthmatic attack is another good time to use caffeine for its short-term effect on the bronchia. However, health problems arise when caffeine becomes a crutch for maintaining a stress driven lifestyle on a daily basis. Bodies need a balance of rest and activity along with superior nutrition in order to maintain optimal health. The habitual consumption of caffeine thwarts the goal of optimal health and therefore, health educators and longevity specialists recommend that you reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet in order to rebuild and maintain optimal health.

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