Behind the Beans

The science behind caffeine

By Eddie Keller

We all know how it is when you wake up in the morning for the slog of your daily routine. You trudge your way downstairs, hoping and praying that no one will talk to you until you have consumed the sweet nectar that is your morning coffee.

The coffee is made, the first sip is consumed and as if by magic your zombie like mood is lifted and you feel determined and ready to begin your day. But what is behind the black/ brown (depending on how you take it) magic that is caffeine?
What is it that gives you that buzz to seize the day?

Photo Credit: Victor Parades. Taken from Flickr.

During the day we all get increasingly more tired as the hours wear on. No matter if you are having a lazy day in front of the TV, or enduring a long shift at work, it is going to happen. This is because of a chemical in your brain called adenosine. Our brain produces more and more of it throughout the day which is thought to help us fall asleep at night.

Upon drinking coffee, it actually hijacks this natural process. The caffein holds onto the receptors in your brain that are created for adenosine and moves them out of the way, making you feel more alert. However, it doesn’t really. Eventually the body counter acts the effects off caffeine in the brain and begins to create new receptors which is the reason why one morning coffee eventually turns into two, or even three.

Drinking your coffee in the morning doesn’t only make you more alert, it also improves your mood. While too much caffeine can make you jittery and irritable, a small dose of it will indeed make you happier.
Caffeine not only suppresses the affects of adenosine, but it also allows for dopamine and glutamine, two other mood enhancing chemicals in your brain, to run riot and in turn boost your mood and make you less bored.

So there we have it, the science behind your morning coffee.
Now every time you take your first sip of coffee before work you can envisage all those lovely chemicals in your brain working wonders as you think about your daily tasks.
Isn’t science amazing?


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