Does caffeine really wake you up?
Does that cup of coffee, latte or cappuccino that you drink every morning really wake you up? Well, a new study has some surprising findings about what caffeine really does to you.
Peter Rogers of the University of Bristol in England and his colleagues studied 379 volunteers, about half of whom typically consumed little or no caffeine on a daily basis and about half of whom consumed medium to high amounts. The researchers asked the volunteers to abstain from consuming any caffeine for 16 hours and then gave them either caffeine or a placebo. Each participant then rated their levels of anxiety, alertness and whether they got a headache.
Not surprisingly, those who typically consumed medium to high amounts of caffeine reported they were less alert and more likely to get a headache when they took the placebo but not when they got their caffeine fix, the researchers report in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. But those who got caffeine reported levels of alertness that were no higher than those who typically don't get much caffeine who received a placebo. That suggests that caffeine only brings coffee drinkers back up to their normal state, probably because they develop a tolerance for its effects over time.
In addition, the researchers found that caffeine does not appear to adversely affect those with a genetic predisposition to anxiety. In fact, the study subjects with a variation of a gene that has been associated with anxiety tended to consume slightly more cofffee than those without the anxiety gene even though they reported more anxiety. That suggests that a mild increase in anxiety may actually be part of what most people consider to be the pleasant buzz they get from their daily dose of caffeine.
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