Caffeine

Andrew Guida

Common uses

Caffeine is most commonly consumed or used in coffee! It's also used/consumed in tea, some energy drinks, and some soft drinks. Some claim that caffeine is the most popular drug -- supporting 150 million users in daily in the United States alone! Caffeine is also available over the counter in the form of medication. Caffeine is also most commonly used to improve mental alertness. Other common uses for caffeine are:

- headache relief

- improving athletic performance

- increasing concentration


Caffeine is also available in tablets, that people use for the same reasons.



Chemical Name/formula, visual representation of compound structure, and compound type

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Caffeine and the Brain - How it works

In the brain there is a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Caffeine works by blocking the receptors so that adenosine cannot attach itself. When rest is needed, the brain releases adenosine to slow down cells in both the body and brain and induce sleep. By blocking the receptors, caffeine interferes with this process which creates temporary mental and physical alertness which is what keeps you awake. Recent research suggests that this could be the key to curing insomnia and chronic sleep loss.

Caffeine Physical and Chemical Properties

Physical Properties:

Solubility - Soluble because it is covalent and covalent can dissolve in H2O.


Melting Point - 238°C - high because it is a large molecule as well as dipole-dipole interaction, which makes the molecule quite hard to melt.


Boiling Point - 178 °C - high boiling point because of molecule size, as well as the dipole dipole interaction.


Odourless


Bitter taste


Chemical Properties:

Caffeine may react with strong oxidizing agents such as nitric acid - since it is a base it will have a chemical reaction with strong acids.


Caffeine is a very weak base - as it is almost neutral (6.9 on pH scale)


Caffeine is combustible - because it has the elements carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in it

Benefits/Costs on the human health

Benefits on human health:


Caffeine increases alertness and performance:

This helps people be awake and alert and to allow them to be able to wake up from being tired. Most people use caffeine in the morning to help them wake up.


Caffeine has several essential nutrients

One cup of coffee includes:


6% of the RDA for Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5).
11% of the RDA for Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).
2% of the RDA for Niacin (B3) and Thiamine (B1).
3% of the RDA for Potassium and Manganese.


This benefits humans a lot because they get these essential vitamins while getting the natural effect of caffeine.


Costs on human health:


Causes dehydration:


coffee and tea can make you dehydrated because the caffeine they contain has a diuretic effect. A diuretic is a substance that causes your body to produce urine, and it has been suggested caffeine can do this because it increases blood flow through the kidneys.


Causes abnormal heart speed:


Too much caffeine can cause your heart speed to be too fast. Once consumed, caffeine enters your blood from the stomach and small intestine and begins to stimulate your central nervous system. Caffeine stimulates receptors located in cells within your heart to increase your heart rate. Effects of this stimulation speed up your blood flow because of an increase in heart rate. This can cause problems to you later in life.


Causes headaches or dizziness:


Caffeine can cause headaches or dizziness when you consume a large amount of it. Caffeine has different effects on people, as some people are more sensitive to it than others, but around 200mg - 500mg can cause headaches to most people.


With too much consumption of caffeine these issues can be very severe and bring many troubles to you in short term and long term.

Suggestions for safe uses

I would suggest to not drink too much caffeine a day. If you drink too much caffeine it can cause large problems to your heart by increasing your speed and body with headaches and dizziness. Keeping the numbers low (400 mg max) can give you the natural effect of bringing alertness to you while not bringing any dangers to you. Consuming 500-600 mg can cause problems such as:


  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Stomach upset
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors


Keeping away from the large amounts will bring you effect and keep you safe of all dangers, but some people need to be aware of how much they can consume. Some people are more sensitive than others and won't be able to consume as much. It is very important for people to be careful with the amount they are consuming and should make sure to not have too much.

Reference List