How Does Caffeine Work So That We Stay Awake?

How Does Caffeine Work So That We Stay Awake.jpg
How Does Caffeine Work So That We Stay Awake?

At the end of last August, I went to a coffee exhibition in Jakarta. It turned out that not only coffee beans, but also roasting equipment, brewing tools, to the trinkets the presentation was also exhibited. Not only for coffee, but also chocolate and tea.

Seeing the enthusiasm of the visitors plus the mushrooming of the coffee, tea or chocolate industry in Indonesia, I am quite surprised whether consumers really enjoy their drinks (whether coffee, tea or chocolate), follow the trend, or do they really need the caffeine contained in these drinks to stay awake?

How Does Caffeine Work in Our Bodies?
It is undeniable indeed when consuming these drinks, there is caffeine that enters our bodies. How does caffeine work in our body?

1. Caffeine is absorbed by the body within 15 - 45 minutes
Caffeine is amphilic, which means it can penetrate the entire body membrane freely. This property makes caffeine can quickly cross the blood brain barrier, where it works quickly. Indeed, we are often tempted to consume a second drink as soon as the first glass runs out. But it's good we wait for about 1 hour so that the caffeine is absorbed by the body.

2. Caffeine can work in the body because it competes
The shape of the caffeine molecule is similar to the shape of the adenosine molecule, which works to calm brain activity, dilate blood vessels, relax, and ultimately help us to sleep. Because of their similar shape, these two molecules compete to bind to receptors in the brain.

If there is a large amount of caffeine in the blood, it is more likely that winning caffeine binds to the receptor. Then caffeine works by making our nerves work faster, constricting blood vessels, causing us to feel refreshed and more awake.

3. Half-life of caffeine ranges from 5-7 hours
The intended half-life is the time needed for the body to eliminate half the initial dose of a molecule. There are studies that state that the caffeine half-life span is longer, which is 2.3 - 9.9 hours. This long span of time is influenced by several factors, such as caffeine consumption habits, age, genetics, overall health, and lifestyle.

Knowing the half-life of caffeine can be used for us to estimate and manage the most appropriate time to consume a cup of coffee. For example, if we consume coffee with 100 mg of caffeine at 15:00, at 21:00 when we are ready to sleep, there are still 50 milligrams of caffeine still in our bodies. In other words, caffeine can help us when working during the day, but can have a negative influence on the quality of our night's sleep.

4. Caffeine is metabolized by the liver
After making us more awake, caffeine is broken down (metabolized) in the liver into 3 metabolite compounds: paraxanthine, theobromine, and theophylline, all of which are also active compounds. After being metabolized by the liver, the kidneys excrete the remaining substances through urine.

5. Lifestyle influences how caffeine works.
Lots of factors affect how caffeine is processed in the body. In addition to age and genetics, lifestyles such as smoking and dietary habits can influence how caffeine metabolizes.

For example, individuals who smoke will metabolize caffeine twice as fast as nonsmokers. There are also studies that suggest oral contraceptives can slow down the metabolic process of caffeine.

Also the stages of the menstrual cycle can also affect the level of caffeine metabolism. In essence, each individual can have a different experience with caffeine.

6. Pregnancy also affects catate metabolism
During pregnancy, caffeine half-life increases (11.5-18 hours), especially in the third trimester. Caffeine is in the body longer because it passes through the wall of the placenta, where both the fetus and the placenta do not have enzymes to metabolize caffeine.

Many practitioners advise pregnant women to avoid caffeine during pregnancy, although the World Health Organization states that consumption of up to 200 mg of caffeine per day during pregnancy is still safe.

How caffeine is included in our lifestyle is usually very personal. If the Healthy Gang experiences certain things when consuming caffeine, it can be consulted with health workers.

Important advice is, be patient to give the body enough time to be able to absorb it, also manage the time of caffeine consumption so that it does not interfere with the night's rest. Don't forget to check the caffeine levels in food / drinks on the food label!
12.03.2020 02:13:27

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