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Get to really know caffeine

What exactly is caffeine?

Our school cafeteria sells almost 200 cups of coffee a day. They sell even more on rainy days, maybe because students need a little extra energy when it is dark and dreary out.

20 years ago there was no coffee sold in the school cafeteria and only only one coffee shop on Route One. Now coffee is sold everywhere and most teens have made it part of their daily routine.

Here are caffeine and adenosine’s molecules, which are extremely similar to our brain cells

Historians track the first brewed tea to as far back as 2737 BC. Coffee was reportedly discovered many years later by an Ethiopian shepherd who noticed the extra energy it gave his goats.

Most of believe the caffeine in coffee wakes us up.  But actually we’ve been fooled all this time. The first thing to know is that part of your natural tiredness comes from a molecule called adenosine.
Caffeine is able to hijack that process because it blocks the effect of this molecule by taking its place in our brain cells. So it doesn’t so much wake us up as block what makes us sleepy. Either way it cam help out students faced with a busy schedule.

People normally think of caffeine and coffee as interchangeable, so they don’t expect to find caffeine in any other places. But some foods also contain caffeine. For instance, 1 oz (28 grams) of milk chocolate contains 1–15 mg. You can also find caffeine in some prescription or over-the-counter drugs like cold, allergy and pain medications.

There are also “Caffeine pills” which are stimulants used mainly boost energy levels. In some cases, caffeine pills may be used to control appetite.

Caffeine and teenagers

Caffeine is known to disrupt teenagers’ sleep, which can lead to issues like poor moods, aggression, anxiety, impulsiveness, and loss of behavioral control.

Here are the amounts of caffeine expected per 8 oz (240 ml) of some popular beverages.

“I usually never drink coffee. I’m not the type of person that drinks it every day,” Spanish junior, Ximena Vazquez said. “If I am at a cafe I would only order coffee if it’s really cold outside. If not I’ll drink something else like a water, soda, or smoothie.” The reason Vazquez doesn’t have coffee everyday is because she doesn’t like it as much, but the main reason is because she believes that having too much coffee is unhealthy.

Teenagers who drink coffee everyday do it usually because it’s their key to get through a school day without falling asleep in class. But many don’t just have their “morning coffee”, an average adolescent caffeine drinker has around 3.1 cups of coffee a day.

When Polish senior Monika Kaczorowska was asked if she usually drinks coffee she said, “Unfortunately I do…coffee is something that I get addicted to and I rely strongly on it every morning.” Kaczorowska said it’s very hard for her to keep up with her responsibilities as a really good student. “Sometimes I go to bed a 3 am because of homework so when I try to wake up my mind to go to class, I can’t, therefore I go to the cafe to get some caffeine to be ready for the day.”

Studies show that the healthy or safe amount to have each day is 400mg (4 cups of brewed coffee).

Sophomore Regina Andres from Mexico said, “I have never drank coffee in my life, ever. People are shook when they find this out and I just laugh.” Andres said she has never been interested in coffee or any of its effects. She agrees people shouldn’t depend on coffee in their everyday bases because “You may end up having a bad addiction problem and at the moment you want to leave it maybe you have a bad time trying.”

 Caffeine Withdrawal 

Teenagers who regularly use at least 400 mg of caffeine subject themselves to addiction. Therefore, teens may suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they decide to stop taking any caffeine out of a sudden.

Some of the symptoms are: Achy muscles, headaches, fatigue, sadness, vomiting and impaired mental focus. The effects are worse for the first two days, then taper off completely by the ninth day. Symptoms are often avoidable by slowly tapering off caffeine intake rather than stopping it abruptly, which lets the body get used to the reduced amounts.

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