The Truth about Caffeine

You may be one of millions who use the drug, but do you know…

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

A caffeine drink may be exactly wrong for you if you are young and hoping to have a healthy family, if you are a diabetic, if you are a person whose nerves are not the best, or even if you have difficulty getting along with people.

Give a long hard look at some research facts. There are immediate effects of caffeine which begin soon after the drink is taken and last about four hours. These may include imperfect balance, racing of the heart, high-pitched voice, insomnia, fatigue, and finger tremor. One may have an unexplained sense of dread and anxiety.

The degree of the unpleasant sensation will depend on the type of beverage used and the quantity one takes. There are some chemicals such as arsenic that will not produce a poisonous effect until a certain high level is reached in the body. Other chemicals, however, begin to produce symptoms of poisoning as soon as any amount is taken. Caffeine is of this type. Even a small amount will begin to give some symptoms.

There are also long-range effects of continued caffeine use. In fact, diseases of many types have been ascribed by researchers to caffeine.

Cancer was once a disease of old age, but now it affects more and more young people. We could prevent about 70 percent of cancers if we practiced what we already know about cancer prevention. Take tobacco use, for example. We know that cancers in general, including lymphoma and leukemia, in young people, are more likely to occur in those who smoke.

Any long-continued irritation in the body can turn into a cancer. Certain chemicals that are taken with food or that are inhaled or that contact the skin can cause cancer. These chemicals cause cancer by damaging the chromosome structure of the cells of the body.

Recently caffeine was discovered to damage chromosomes of cells in the same way as do the chemicals that cause cancer. Some doctors believe that drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and colas, increase the likelihood of having cancer.

Cancer is produced by an alteration in the chromosomes in the nuclei of cells. By the complex interaction of three variable factors (a virus, an agent to weaken the cells, and a native susceptibility) the nucleus of a cell undergoes a change and a cancer is born. In all living beings the genetic apparatus is fundamentally the same, whether in bacteria, lower animals, or man. Change in the nucleus of a cell is called mutation. Caffeine has been found to cause mutations in bacteria and to interfere with repair of damaged chromosomes.

Fruit flies show many genetic changes when exposed to caffeine. Both human and mouse cells grown in a test tube with caffeine will become unable to repair injuries in their chromosomes. It is frightening to think that a common habit might possibly weaken our future generations, might cause us to lose certain faculties of the mind, or diminish our resistance to certain types of disease.

Caffeine is related to morphine and strychnine. All of these chemicals are poisonous to the body. Dr. John Mulvihill of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, reports finding many different malformations due to caffeine. These malformations involve the eyes, skin, blood, arms, legs, and skin color.

In Utah, where most of the population belongs to the Mormon Church, there is the lowest rate of miscarriage in the country. Mormons do not use alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine. Contrast that record with that of 550 families in Illinois, where it was found that 13 of every 14 women who drank as much as seven cups of coffee daily had an unfavorable pregnancy.

The unborn baby has an immature liver that is not able to handle poisons well. Chemicals such as caffeine can cause permanent injury to the baby. Caffeine can cause the same type of effect on the baby as radiation.

America’s most prevalent disease is heart trouble. This disease is linked with a high blood cholesterol. Even one cup of coffee daily over a period of time is likely to raise your blood cholesterol. If a person regularly drinks one to five cups of coffee a day, his risk of having a heart attack is 60 percent higher than if he drinks none. If he drinks six or more cups a day, his risk is 120 percent higher. Caffeine raises blood pressure, causes the heart to race or have extra beats, and interferes with sleep.

The second prevalent disease that can be caused by caffeine is peptic ulcers. Ulcers in children have become more common as the use of caffeinated beverages has become more widespread. Even the cola drinks that kids are allowed to drink in childhood in many families have sufficient amounts of caffeine to harm a child.

The third disease related to caffeine is diabetes, or hypoglycemia, two faces of the same disease. One of every five to six people you see already has diabetes, and 30 million more are on the way. Diabetes may be caused by exhaustion of the pancreas after years of eating too much, crowding meals closer together than five hours, eating between meals, and using too many sweets. Caffeine specifically injures the pancreas and makes diabetes and hypoglycemia much worse.

A questionnaire was circulated recently to medical personnel that asked many questions about caffeine. Among them: Does caffeine cause poor memory, thinking to be faulty and fabricatory, cultural qualities to disappear and refinement to be lost, violent acts to be committed on slight provocation?

The answer to each of these is Yes. Our “violent society,” with its crime and soaring rates of child abuse, is beside itself. The irritation to nerves caused by caffeine can bring a frustration that borders on desperation. Unfortunately, a pattern of abusive and antisocial behavior is learned while the nerves are under irritation and months or years may be required to remove them from the personality expression.

One of the withdrawal symptoms of caffeine use is headache. We have found that if we stop the use of caffeine drinks in patients plagued with headaches, both the number of their headaches and the severity decrease.

Allergies, insomnia, irritability, palpitation, fever, flushing, and other symptoms are attributed to caffeine. The coffee or cola drinker is not as efficient or alert and suffers undue fatigue from constant use of caffeine. Cravings are more frequent and more intense, and alcohol and tobacco habits can become almost unbreakable if one is consistently using caffeine.

The list of human miseries caused by caffeine seems endless. The reports from medical research should come to us as warnings. Table No. 2 gives a partial summary of those diseases and disorders you may happily miss if you stay away from caffeine.

TABLE 1
Coca Cola                6 oz. bottle           40 mg. caffeine
Coffee                     6 oz.                120 mg. caffeine
Coffee, decaffeinated          6 oz.                18 mg. caffeine
Dr Pepper                6 oz. bottle           38 mg. caffeine
Pepsi Cola                6 oz. bottle           36 mg. caffeine
Spur                     6 oz. bottle           52.5 mg. caffeine
Tea                     6 oz.                100 mg. caffeine

Research also finds a relative of caffeine in chocolate and cocoa. However, this substance, though chemically indistinguishable from caffeine in other drinks, has different pharmacological effects on the user.

The pharmacological effect of caffeine is achieved by 60-100 mg. of caffeine. Toxic effects begin, however, at a much lower level. Conscious effects depend on how much and how often you take caffeine.

TABLE 2—Summary of Research on Caffeine
Research studies have found many effects of caffeine on different users. This table lists these effects on various systems of the body

General:                               Fetal Malformations:
Alteration in                               Limb reduction
pitch of voice                               deformities
Mutations possibly                         Cleft palate
leading to cancer                          Subcutaneous hemorrhage
Mutations producing                          Cataracts
fetal malformations                     Albinism
Crosses the                               Increased abortion
placental barrier                          Radiation type effects
Pregnant woman influenced                          on unborn baby
to become diabetic                     Severe waterlogging
Shivering                               Red blood cells altered
Fever                                    Hydrocephaly
Tremors                               Eye hemorrhage
Headaches                               Heart defects
Allergies                               GI tract abnormalities
Irritability
Leathery skin
Swelling of hands and feet
Increased aging

Nerves:                              Metabolism:
Loss of balance                          Reduces utilization
Insomnia                                    of protein in
Fatigue                                    biochemical pathways
Increased finger tremor                     Neuromuscular stimulation
Sense of dread and anxiety                     Raises catecholamines
Hyperkinetic children                          Raises blood sugar
Poor memory                     Predisposes to diabetes
“Bad habit glue”                               and hypoglycemia
Faulty thinking                          Diuretic effect
Refinement lost                          Dehydration
Mental confusion
Increased reaction time
Anxiety
Depression

Digestion:                               Heart:
Interferes with                          Palpitation
digestion of protein                     Clotting mechanism altered
Interferes with                          Raises blood cholesterol
the regulation of                               and free fatty acids
the bowel function                          Ectopic heartbeats
Peptic ulcers                               Raises blood pressure
Vomiting                               Flushing
Diarrhea
Cravings

DAILY CHECKLIST WHILE QUITTING CAFFEINE
Day of Program Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Diary kept up to date
“Buddy” called
Eliminated unused leisure time
8-10 glasses water
Brush massage
Cool or neutral bath if indicated
Herb tea, if desired
Hot foot bath, if indicated

Elimination of stimulating eating habits:

*overeating

*spices, hot pepper

*sugar

*vinegar

*alcohol

*nicotine

Establishment of good eating habits:

*set time for meals

*avoid much mealtime liquids

*abundant veggies, some raw

*abundant fruit, some raw

*whole grain bread and cereals

*avoid overuse of animal products

Deep-breathing exercise

For more information contact:
Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center
30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875
Tel. 334-855-4764
www.ucheepines.org

Posted in Counseling Sheet, Health