Our lives are revolving around a very fast-paced society. We as humans are multitasking all the time, we need to be awake, on our toes, and efficient in our work. Therefore, any caffeinated inhibit rink especially coffee has become a part of our daily routine as it keeps us energized throughout the day.
That added kick of energy just pushes us to go the extra mile while achieving our targets. But what if this daily dose of caffeine is harming your immune system in the long run? Or on the other hand, maybe it is promoting a good immune response? Have you ever given it a thought?
Coffee can boost your immune system but it can also inhibit its functioning. This is because high amounts of caffeine, the primary ingredient of coffee, can create an uptick in cortisol levels which can change the way your immune system responds to potential pathogens.
Coffee does have a lot of benefits, but let’s dig deep and find out what actually happens to your immune system with coffee.
Caffeine’s Effect On The Immune System
Caffeine is immunomodulatory Which means that caffeine does affect the functioning of the immune system. It can either have a positive impact or a negative impact depending on the amount ingested.
A daily dose of caffeine when taken in moderation improves and regulates your immune system. It also suppresses inflammation via cytokines. Resulting in a decreased risk of chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis or psoriasis. And the anti-oxidants present in caffeine prevent cancer, osteoporosis, and neurological illnesses.
Furthermore, caffeine also helps in boosting short-term memory, nervous system functionality, lowers the risk of diabetes, and decreases fatigue. All of this contributes to a healthy immune system.
Keep in mind, all these benefits of caffeine are only attainable if it is consumed in moderation. Foolishly overdosing on caffeine and thinking that its positive effects would become double is actually foe.
With that being said, caffeine overload is hazardous with long-term unrepairable damages.
Prolonged intake of high caffeine increases the production of a stress hormone named cortisol in our body. This inevitably elevates our blood sugars and uplifts our chances of weight gain. Both are very welcoming for type 2 diabetes. This hormone is like an alarm system for our body but excessive amounts of it can raise your blood pressure and give you palpitations
.You may also have difficulty in sleeping and can be low on energy.
Watch this awesome video to get some information about coffee.
The next heading about immunosuppressants will explain more about the side effects of overdosing on caffeine.
Is Caffeine An Immunosuppressant?
Caffeine can be an immunosuppressant if consumed in high quantities regularly. This is because the high concentration of caffeine can alter the way your immune system responds to potential threats in your body, preventing it from working properly.
That said, if taken in moderate amounts your body can handle, caffeine can also be an immunomodulator, which can help ward off several diseases.
Caffeine has many sources through which we can take it. Like coffee, tea, energy drinks, fizzy drinks, and protein powders. If you’re a consumer of each of these daily, you may not realize your grand total of each day’s caffeine intake but it would skyrocket.
For example, you drink one can of 160z Reign energy drink which has 300 mg of caffeine, and two 8 oz cups of coffee with 163 mg caffeine each. The total would be more than 600 mg of caffeine in a whole day. 200 mg more than the advised caffeine intake, which is 400 mg. This practice can lead to making caffeine immunosuppressant for your body resulting in diseases and health risks.
Immunosuppressant means that caffeine would start suppressing your natural immune responses. We are all familiar that our immunity fights any anti-bodies present in our body like viruses and infections. But too much caffeine can gradually slow down the fighting process.
Our body will eventually be filled with numerous amounts of infections and diseases with no ability to fight back.
Plus, you may experience some other side effects like nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, trembling hands, etc.
I’ve made a table of all the caffeinated drinks with the amount of caffeine they supply in one serving and the amount of sugar they have in that serving.
|Black Coffee||8 oz cup||163 mg||Adjustable|
|Diet Coke||12 oz can||46 mg||No natural Sugar|
|Regular Coke||12 oz can||34 mg||39 grams|
|Red Bull||12 oz can||102 mg||34 grams|
|Monster||12 oz can||160 gm||37 grams|
Does Coffee Strengthen Your Immune System?
Coffee can strengthen the immune system if consumed in small quantities regularly. This is because coffee is rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can help aid fight certain diseases.
However, high consumption of coffee can change the way your immune system responds to potential pathogens due to the increase in cortisol levels brought by caffeine.
Coffee when drank in moderate amounts can improve your overall health as compared to any other caffeinated drink. This popular drink is rich in nutrients and antioxidants that are healthy for your body. The components in coffee as a whole strengthen the immunity of your body.
Below are the ways in which coffee can be of benefit to our health:
- Primary Element of Antioxidants in America – Americans who consume a standard western diet obtain more anti-oxidants from coffee than any vegetables or fruits.
- Boosting Energy – The caffeine from coffee goes directly into our bloodstream, giving you an instant kick and elevates your mood because of the release of dopamine. It helps us to stay focused and attentive.
- Lowers the risk of Parkinson’s Disease – Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease. The dopamine generating neurons are dead in this condition. Therefore, the dopamine releasing quality of coffee can save you from ever developing this condition.
- Burns fat – Coffee in moderation helps in burning extra fats. I am not talking about extra sugary and creamy cappuccinos or lattes but black coffee with normal amounts of sugar or dairy or syrup. This study shows that caffeine increases the fat burning process by 10%.
- Fights Depression – In America depression is very common. 6 out of 10 people have depression. But the good news is, coffee reduces the seriousness of this mental disorder and makes you feel happy. People who drink two cups of coffee daily have a lower risk by 20% of being depressed. People are less likely be suicidal and lose their precious lives.
- Reduced Risk of Stroke – Studies suggest that people who are regular coffee drinkers have a very low chance of ever having a stroke.
- Easy Workout Session – Caffeine signals the brain to burn fatty acids and secrete adrenaline in the blood. This adrenaline rush prepares our body for intensive physical labor enabling us to pick up some extra weights in the gym.
- Multi Nutrients Supply – One cup of coffee is filled with many nutrients like vitamins B2, vitamin B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin.
- Lowers the risk of Type 2 Diabetes – Coffee drinkers are more likely not to get type 2 diabetes. It lowers the risk by 20% according to this study.
- Liver Health is Optimum – The liver is an underrated organ that does a lot for our body. This organ is safeguarded by caffeine from diseases like hepatitis that leave scarred tissue behind. This ends up to cirrhosis. It basically makes your liver into a large scarred tissue. Coffee protects against cirrhosis and reduces the risk up to 80%.
- Protection against Leading Cancers – Liver and Colorectal Cancers are the top death causing cancers. Liver Cancer is third and Colorectal is fourth. Having coffee reduces the risk of ever having these liver and colorectal cancers by 40%.
All the properties combined aid in a healthy immune system and great overall health. With so many diseases being cut off from the list your life expectancy also increases. All these benefits aid in reducing the burden from the immune system and in turn strengthens it.
What Body Systems Are Affected By Caffeine?
The systems affected by caffeine are the nervous system, excretory and digestive system, respiratory and circulatory system, muscular and skeletal system, and reproductive system.
There are so many systems working and coordinating to keep your body functioning and alive. Whether good or bad, almost all these systems get some effect from the daily caffeine dose present in your body.
The best source of caffeine is coffee. Either as a hot early morning pick-me-up or as an afternoon jolt, it keeps us on the go. This readily available drink has allowed us to ace throughout the day.
However, do remember that all these effects can vanish if caffeine is present in large amounts. The following is a list of the organs of the body and how they’re affected by caffeine.
- Nervous System: Caffeine is a nervous stimulant that instantly gives you noticeable effects like alertness. You feel less tired or sleepy once it hits your nervous system. It directly hits your brain giving you more energy.
- Excretory and Digestive Systems: Regular intake of caffeine in coffee increases the acidity in your stomach, sometimes causing heartburn too. All of the caffeine is not digested and the rest is processed in the liver. Then it exits via urine, making you take frequent washroom breaks.
- Respiratory and Circulatory System: With caffeine increasing adrenaline levels in the body, your blood pressure may go higher than usual. It can also cause irregular heartbeat thus making it difficult for you to breathe.
- Muscular and Skeletal System: A large volume of caffeine in your body can hinder calcium absorption making your bones and muscles weak and achy. This can lead to bone thinning and muscles twitching unexpectedly.
- Reproductive System: If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, caffeine can have some harmful effects on the fetus. It can increase the heart rate of the baby and also slow down the growth rate. Resulting in miscarriages and unwanted complications. If you’re planning for a baby, it can cause your estrogen production to go haywire and stable estrogen levels are vital for conceiving.
The Bottom Line
Coffee isn’t necessarily bad for your immune system. In fact, if taken in small amounts regularly, it can have some positive effects on your immune system and overall health.
The problem lies when you start to overconsume. The caffeine in the coffee will alter the way your immune system reacts to potential threats in your body because of the spike in cortisol levels.
We’ve indeliberately trained our minds and bodies to run on caffeine. I am not saying this in a bad context. I love coffee!
But the thing is sometimes people overdo the whole coffee thing. Since it is hip to have coffee people behave as though that they need it 24/7.
Some cannot even think about starting their day without having coffee. They have made their mind and bodies so accustomed to caffeine that now they can’t function properly without it. Now that is a problem.
Coffee when taken in moderation is really good, and gives tons of benefits, but overdosing on it can lead to some really nasty results!
Try and not cross the limits set by FDA for daily caffeine intake that is not more than 400 mg for an active person. Remember coffee stimulates and regulates the immune system only if it is consumed responsibly.