Remember the days of childhood when you couldn’t wait to wake up and get going in the world? It is a fair bet to say most of us don’t wake up this way anymore. A tremendous amount of the Western populace consumes caffeine in some form or another, usually at the start of the day to get going. Some folks don’t even want to talk until they get their coffee or Red Bull on. Whatever way you take it, according to the National Institute of Health, it is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the Western population.
It is a drug and people tend to forget this. Drugs have side effects. Some of the effects we do enjoy. It is stimulating and enhances pleasure to a degree. Caffeine may even be beneficial in certain circumstances. The wisest choice is to use it in moderation. The problems begin when you start to use too much caffeine.
How Much Is Too Much?
Upon reading this, you need to get ready for some bad news. There is good news as well. Caffeine, used in moderation, meaning not “too much” daily, can boost your mood, clear your mind, make you more effective at work, and it induces the body to burn body fat. All of this sounds fantastic. Here is the reality: Most people become addicted to caffeine and consume anywhere from 600mg to 5 grams daily.
The psychoactive dose starts at 50mg up to 200mg at the most needed for sufficient stimulation. The jury is out on the exact amount considered “too much,” but there is something bad about going over a couple of cups of coffee daily. This amount of caffeine or more is around 300mg plus, depending on the strength of the concoction and this can crash your immune system.
On the plus side, however, smaller doses based on bodyweight can help give you an immune boost. The question of where the line is drawn is shady but it ranges above 400mg daily according to studies by the NIH.
How Caffeine Affects Immunity
The National Institute of Health, the major medical information source for this country has engaged this topic with heavy scrutiny. It is likely that many of the scientists performing these studies are, themselves, working with some source of caffeine to get their jobs done. Regardless, data is data and you cannot argue against empirical evidence, which has been mounting over the years.
The studies they have done indicate there is a normal degree of caffeine consumption, even daily, which has benefits to our bodies. It certainly does not go above 600mg and it may be less. It depends on body weight, DNA, ethnicity, and just about any other physiological factor you could think of. When consumption jumps too high with daily use, T-cell levels begin to drop. This is bad. This means the front line of your immune system is reduced.
There is also impaired production of immune directing hormones like cytokines, interleukin, and interferon. The lay version of this simply states caffeine, in high doses, drops immune function, and impairs resistance to illness.
A Method To The Madness
Granted, there is clear evidence showing large doses of caffeine compromise immune function, it can depend on how it is consumed. Many of these studies were conducted with something called anhydrous caffeine, the pure stuff in pill or injected forms.
There are also numerous studies showing the antioxidant benefits of green and white teas, which are traditionally drunk all day long in Asian countries.
Coffee has been shown to help liver health when used reasonably and it can protect cells against free radicals too. Plant sources are the best. It might be time to reconsider the chemical caffeine drinks and just go back to your basic coffee or tea.