Caffeine-Induced Alertness May Be Mostly Illusion

Caffeine-Induced Alertness May Be Mostly Illusion

A new study debunks the stimulatory effects of coffee.

Naresh Kumar
  • 7 june 2010

If you think reaching out for that hot cuppa will help you kick start your day, think again. A new study says that the sensation of alertness that comes with coffee may just be an illusion. While caffeine does bring a person back to a normal state of alertness, it doesn’t stimulate the drinker to a very high level of alertness, as is the popular belief. On the contrary, those who drink coffee frequently tend to develop tolerance to stimulatory effects and anxiety-producing effects of caffeine.

Cosmos Magazine reports on the research conducted by nutritionist Peter Rogers and his team:

Rogers and his colleagues asked 379 individuals to abstain from caffeine for 16 hours. Then they gave them either caffeine or a placebo. The study participants then rated their personal levels of anxiety, alertness and headache. Approximately half of the participants were non or low caffeine consumers and the other half was medium or high caffeine consumers. The post-caffeine levels of alertness in the regular coffee drinkers were the same as the non and low consumers who received a placebo, suggesting caffeine only brings coffee drinkers back up to normal.

The study also found out a few side effects experienced by regular coffee drinkers when they stayed away from caffeine. These drinkers reported headaches and low alertness when researchers replaced placebo consisting of cornflower with caffeine. Rogers also said that the lower alertness of frequent coffee consumers is due to caffeine withdrawal and not because of their biological constitution.

Cosmos: “Coffee drinkers develop tolerance to anxiety”

Image by sachman75


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