Seventy percent of the world’s coffee supply is consumed in the United States. Coffee, tea, and soda are the three greatest contributors of caffeine in the American diet. Within 30 minutes of consumption, caffeine reaches its peak levels in the blood.
Caffeine can have negative effects on our bones. The more regularly a woman drinks coffee, the more calcium is excreted in her urine. The loss adds up to about 65 mg of calcium for every six ounces of coffee or two cans of cola. Caffeine consumption is therefore a contributing factor for osteoporosis.
Caffeine also has detrimental effects on the brain. It undermines the functioning of the frontal lobe by affecting the levels of three important chemicals: acetylcholine, adenosine, and dopamine. Caffeine increases the levels of acetylcholine and dopamine and interferes with the transmission of adenosine. Adenosine slows down many aspects of brain nerve transmission. This function is weakened by caffeine, thus allowing the artificial stimulation that is known to occur with caffeinated beverages. Some psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia are due in part to elevated levels of dopamine. There also seems to be a link to decreased frontal lobe function and blood flow that is characteristic of depression.
In order to compensate for the changes that occur with chronic caffeine consumption, the brain actually alters its chemistry and structure. In so doing, the brain chemistry becomes unbalanced and is therefore dependent, or addicted to, the regular consumption of caffeine. Withdrawal symptoms often begin within 19 hours after the last consumption of caffeine and may include headaches, fatigue, sleepiness, laziness, decreased alertness, and decreased activity.
Some effects of caffeine include impaired physical and mental performance, interrupted sleep, and impacted spiritual and social dimensions of our character. It can cause toxicity and even death; it may be a co-carcinogen; it increases risk of low birth weight in infants; it elevates blood pressure and may elevate cholesterol; it can cause palpitations and other dangerous heart rhythms; it stimulates excess stomach acid and heartburn; and it may increase symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).
“When these tea and coffee users meet together for social entertainment, the effects of their pernicious habit are manifest. All partake freely of the favorite beverages, and as the stimulating influence is felt, their tongues are loosened, and they begin the wicked work of talking against others. Their words are not few or well chosen. The tidbits of gossip are passed around, too often the poison of scandal as well. These thoughtless gossipers forget that they have a witness. An unseen Watcher is writing their words in the books of heaven.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 36.