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Caffeine And Its Effects On The Human Body

1487 words - 6 pages

Over 90% of Americans consume caffeine every day of the year. Caffeine is the ingredient that makes the public crave coffee, soda, chocolate and many other caffeine-carrying products. Americans consume about 45 million pounds of caffeine each year. In the United States, coffee drinkers drink an average of 2.6 cups per day. Total caffeine intake for coffee drinkers was 363.5 mg per day - this includes caffeine from coffee and other sources like soft drinks, food and drugs. Non-coffee drinkers get plenty of caffeine as well: former coffee drinkers get about 107 mg per day and people who have never had coffee get about 91 mg per day. Many facts are known about caffeine, such as its composition, effect on the human body, and origin; however, there are many long term effects that are currently being studied in order to discover how harmful this substance truly is. [Caffeine- Neuroscience for Kids] Caffeine occurs naturally from the coffee tree indigenous to Ethiopia, and it may have been used as early as 850 AD in Upper Egypt, though it is considered a legend. Coffee is the seed of a cherry from the tree of the genus Coffea. The tree yields about one kilogram of coffee per year. There are over 25 different species of coffee, the three main ones being Robusta, Libaria, and Arabica. The Ethiopians mixed crushed dried coffee beans with rolled fat balls used as food on journeys. Its cultivation and use as a beverage occurred in Arabia. By the early 16th century, the beverage was well-established in the Islamic world. Through cultural diffusion, coffee was a fashionable drug of the 17th and 18th centuries. From thereon, coffee's popularity grew tremendously. America owes its present day coffee habits to the Boston tea party of 1773, which made coffee's availability easier. [Owen, Daniel] Caffeine is an organic substance medically known as trimethylxanthine, and its chemical formula is C8H10N4O2. Caffeine is an alkaloid. There are numerous alkaloids. These compounds have different biochemical effects, and are present in different ratios in different plant sources. These compounds are very similar and differ only by the presence of methyl groups in two positions of the chemical structure. They are easily oxidized to uric acid and other methyluric acids, which are also similar in chemical structure .Pure caffeine is odorless and has a bitter taste. This chemical is a useful cardiac stimulant and mild diuretic substance, or increases urine production. Many people take advantage of its energizing sensation; hence, it has become the world's most widely used drug. Caffeine increases dopamine levels, like cocaine and heroin but to a lower extent. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in specific parts of the brain that can activate pleasure sensations. Because caffeine belongs to the xanthine chemical group, it interferes with the production of adenosine in the brain. Xanthenes are yellow crystalline organic compounds that are soluble in ether and...

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