We are sure that you have pondered about the effectiveness of caffeine and how it varies significantly from person to person, but have you ever wondered how caffeine works in the brain?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical stimulant called trimethylxanthine, sharing traits with amphetamine drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Caffeine uses the same biochemical mechanisms as these drugs do to stimulate brain function. It stimulates the central nervous system, hear rate, and respiration. If you feel as if you cannot function without your Koffee Kult morning cup of joe, that is because caffeine can cause addiction.
If you are wondering how caffeine works chemically, it blocks the cells associated with sleep, adenosine. Adenosine is a neuromodulator that plays a role in promoting sleep and regulating blood flow. The chemical makeup of caffeine looks like adenosine to a nerve cell; thus, caffeine binds to adenosine receptors. The receptors detect the caffeine instead of adenosine, so cells begin to speed up instead of slowing down. Neurons are increased and firing away in your brain, so your pituitary gland releases hormones that tell adrenal glands to produce adrenaline. The adrenaline increases heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to the muscles. Your blood vessels constrict because caffeine is blocking the ability of adenosine to open them up.
If you are a habitual coffee drinker, there will be a difference in how caffeine works on your body in comparison to a person who drinks coffee once a week. Your body begins building up a tolerance somewhere between one week and 12 days. You can also feel caffeine withdrawal just hours after your last cup.