by Team 01639.For an overview of coffee, its composition and health effects can be found in the Science section. This section attempts to give a greater insight into some of the substances contained in coffee and the effects that coffee has on the body.
Antioxidants are substances which can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals damage can lead to cancer, extensive cell damage, rapid aging, and age associated diseases such as Alzheimer’s among many others. Coffee contains chlorogenic acids, melanoidins, and other unknown substances which are identified as strong antioxidants.
These antioxidants can reverse earlier damage caused by free radicals. They also prevent any further damage, thereby displaying strong in vitro antioxidant activity. However, whether antioxidants can protect the body against chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases or cancer is yet to be confirmed.
by Team 01639.
Data from CABI.Ochratoxin A, or OTA, is a mycotoxin, produced by certain species of mould, such as Penicillium verrucosum, Aspergillus carbonarius and Asperigillus niger. It is a proven nephrotoxin, carcinogen, teratogenic and immunotoxin and is consequently harmful and potentially fatal to humans. Poor post-harvesting practices have the potential to contaminate coffee beans with OTA. However further processing, such as roasting, lowers the OTA by 50-90%. (Source: CoSIC) Decaffeination lowers the OTA in coffee by 92% (Source: CoSIC). It is accepted that coffee is not a major source of OTA in our everyday diet.
Scientific name: 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine, Methyltheobromine, 7-methyltheophylline, Formula: C8H10N4O2
by Team 01639.
Data from Erolt.
The Vaults of
Erowid.Caffeine is found in over 60 plant species. It is naturally present in tea, coffee, cocoa and chocolate products. It is also an additive in many types of soft drinks and drugs. There are many facts and myths about the effects of caffeine on the body. Some are listed below:
Fact #1: caffeine increases mental performance, physical performance and alertness.
It is often recommended we drink coffee after a meal since our ability to concentrate drops off after eating a full meal and coffee helps counteract that tendency. Researchers have also shown that two cups of coffee, along with a short nap is the best way for drivers to stay awake and alert.
Myth #1: caffeine always prevents the consumer from going to sleep, and reduces sleep duration.
This effect can only be observed clearly when caffeine is consumed in large doses (over 3mg per body kg in one beverage) during late evening. The effects of smaller doses vary largely between individuals. Some individuals may be overly sensitive to even small doses of coffee, while others may have no effect at all. Hence, it is incorrect to say that caffeine always reduces the amount and/or the depth of sleep.
Fact #2: caffeine reduces calcium absorption in calcium deficient women.
The intake of caffeine has been shown to cause a drop in the amount of calcium in our system. However this loss is minimal: approximately 4 – 6mg per cup of coffee consumed. The consumer can easily nullify this loss by adding 1 – 2 tablespoons of milk to her cup. Scientific research has shown that caffeine may not reduce bone health (a condition which can lead to osteoporosis).
In the 1960s, the World Health Organization (WHO) replaced the term addiction and habituation with the term “dependence”. Dependence as applied to drugs and alcohol can be thought of as a desire to take the drug. The WHO has listed six criteria, of which at least three are required, in order for a drug to be termed a dependent drug.
If we take into account WHO’s evaluation criteria, caffeine cannot be considered a dependent drug. However, the current International Disease Classification (IDC-10) includes “caffeine use disorder” and “caffeine dependence” as disease types. Yet, caffeinism – acute or chronic overuse of caffeine which results in toxicity – only happens if the daily intake is 500mg or more. This is twice the average daily intake of Americans, and corresponds to 13 cups of Espresso per day (30ml cup).
So does caffeine cause addiction? Scientists are still at odds on this issue. The effects of caffeine, in particular, and coffee, in general, on the body are still being debated. Please see this sub-section for a summary.
Coffee & Health. By the Vietnam Coffee–Cocoa Association (VICOFA)
The World Health Organization
The Coffee Science Information Center (CoSIC)
The American Psychiatric Association
World Anti-Doping Agency
The National Toxicology Program
World National Cancer Institute
The Brain from Top to Bottom