The Pros and Cons of Caffeine Consumption  

                In order to optimize health and fitness, an individual needs to monitor their diet while maintaining an exercise regimen.  Of course, the usual suspects need to be monitored including fats, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins, etc.  Often though, one of the things not monitored is caffeine intake.  According to experts, there are pros and cons to consuming caffeine.  And consuming caffeine is easier than you think.  Not only does coffee have caffeine, but so do many sodas, energy drinks, and anything containing chocolate.  

                According to researchers, too much caffeine ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal problems including stomach problems like ulcers, and impaired digestion due to raised acidity levels in the stomach.  Some individuals have also experienced heartburn as a result of too much caffeine being consumed.  Even decaffeinated beverages have been proven to cause the same effects as caffeinated beverages.  Though, the biggest contributor to the aforementioned effects is coffee.  

According to researchers, coffee is addictive, and causes numerous adverse conditions for the body.  Coffee has been shown to reduce the production of DHEA as well as other anti-aging hormones in the body.  Thus, an individual who ingests more coffee than the average individual ages more quickly.  Also, scientific research is beginning to show that coffee drinkers are more at risk for having a heart attack.  Research has also determined that coffee contains a compound known as Torpedoed, which is known to increase cholesterol levels in the body.  To make matters worse, once an individual has developed an addiction to coffee, it is very difficult to alleviate the addiction, and withdrawal symptoms are wicked.  Symptoms include constipation, depression, drowsiness, headaches, moodiness, loss of appetite, and in some cases nausea and vomiting.  To make matters even worse, long-term exposure to caffeine can lead to sterility.  Scientific research has made a correlation with consumption of too much caffeine, and in some cases, specifically coffee, to reduced sperm counts in males, as well as development of defective sperm by males.  

Having said all that, there are actually some positive attributes associated with consuming moderate amounts of caffeine.  Caffeine is an excellent stimulant, and very useful in providing a quick jolt of energy.  Used infrequently as a stimulant every now and again, caffeinated beverages including coffee can be used to “burn the midnight oil” at work, or can be helpful in cramming during finals week.  

Scientific studies have also indicated that caffeine, and more specifically, coffee, has confirmed lowering the risk for men to develop prostate cancer.  Although studies are still in the preliminary stages, a link between coffee, boron, one of the nutrients found in coffee, and lower rates of prostate cancer have been established.  According to the research, men who consume higher percentages of boron than average men have a 64% less likely chance of developing prostate cancer.  Incidentally, boron occurs naturally in wine, almonds, and almond flavored coffees. 

So, what’s the bottom line?  Overall drinking a cup or two of coffee every week is probably ok for you, and will not likely lead to difficulties.  However, if you’re stopping at Starbucks at least once daily, having a Red Bull for your workout, and then having a chocolate bar after your lunch, you’re probably consuming a bit too much caffeine, and are putting yourself at risk.