How Caffeine Affects The Immune System

How Caffeine Affects The Immune System

Many People depend on caffeine to get up during the morning and stay energized throughout the day. However, consuming too much caffeine can increase the impact of physical and mental stress on the body. Chronic stress can cause hormonal imbalances and other interruptions that generate disorders in the immune system, and as a result the risk of developing infections and diseases such as cancer increases.

Caffeine in the body

Caffeine increases brain activity because it inhibits the neurotransmitter adenosine, responsible for lowering the levels of other neurotransmitters, and for keeping them under control. Caffeine also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, is responsible for the body's fight or flight response. During this response, stress hormones, such as cortisol, cause the body to store fat and sugar, which will then be released during preparation for physical exertion.

Stress and the immune system

Although this stress response is important for survival, when it persists it can cause health problems, such as elevated blood sugar levels, cholesterol and elevated triglyceride levels, and suppression of the immune system.. This system is responsible for recognizing and destroying pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, in addition to eliminating damaged cells, both in the case of lesions and cells with abnormal behavior, and those that cause cancer.

Contribution of caffeine

A 2006 study published in "Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior", concluded that men and women who received large amounts of caffeine, in three doses of 250 mg, experienced the release of levels Higher stress hormone cortisol, in response to physical and mental stress. Elevated cortisol levels decrease the ability of the immune system to fight infections.

Caffeine intake

It is unlikely that caffeine itself will decrease the functioning of the immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic, the low to moderate intake of caffeine generates few known health effects. Limit your intake to 300 mg per day, about four cups of coffee. If you consume an excess of between 500 to 600 mg per day, you can experience the effects of an active sympathetic nervous system, such as insomnia, nervousness, irritability, digestive problems, rapid heartbeat and muscle tremors.

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