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Caffeine: Friend or Foe?

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Caffeine Causes Headaches and Migraines

According to a recent study in Scientific Reports, caffeine consumption significantly increases the prevelance of migraines and severe headaches. (Zhang L, et al. Sci Rep. 2023)


This is kind of a big deal, because migraines are already the second leading cause of disability in the world among all age groups, and the number 1 cause among young women. (J Headache Pain. 2020; 21(1): 137) Anything that makes migraines worse is a big deal.


Migraines are terrible, just ask anybody that suffers from migraines. You won't have to look far to find a migraine sufferer, or migraineur which is the official name. About 12% of the population have this malady.

A migraine can come at anytime. Some migraineurs can work during some migraines, but other times a migraineur might be forced to retreat to a darkened, quiet room for the duration of the headache. Almost 5% of ER visits are due to migraines. Any particular migraine might last 1 to 3 days. Some lucky migraineurs only get 1 or 2 headaches a month. Others may get 1 or 2 a week and some have daily headaches. Less than 15 headache days in a month is labeled episodic migraine. Those that have 15 or more headache days a month are considered to have chronic migraines.


There are lots of pills and shots for migraines, that work great for many patients. Unfortunately, no treatment has been found that works for all migraineurs. In the official studies, no single treatment works for even half the people. And sadly enough, some migraineurs that do find an effective treatment sometimes find that the medicine loses its effectiveness' after a period of time.


People with uncontrolled migraines have been forced to drop out of school, and many have lost their jobs. Many migraineurs have divorced when their spouse just couldn't tolerate the uncertainty of never knowing when their migraineur spouse would suddenly be out of commission for 1 -3 days. Even with the best treatment, many migraineurs end up on disability, because they just can't function with their headaches. Anything that increases migraines is an issue that we should pay attention to.


Caffeine Causes 42% Increase

in Migraines and Headaches

This study involved 9,000 adults and looked at headache and migraine frequency and caffeine consumption. They found that adults consuming the amount of caffeine in 4 cups of coffee per day, had a 42% increase in migraines and severe headaches. That is a pretty big increase. Caffeine impacted women worse than men, but both genders were significantly impacted.


For those of you that don't have migraines even though you use caffeine and think this doesn't apply to you, remember this: Migraines can start at any age, and caffeine use increases your risk of developing migraines.


Caffeine Doesn't Wake You Up

And caffeine is such a rip-off anyway, why not quit it now, while you are still healthy? I know, I know, it helps you get going in the morning. And you're right and wrong about that. Yes, coffee drinkers do have more alertness in the morning after getting their caffeine fix. But here is the back story. Your nervous system adjusted to your daily caffeine by down regulating your alertness level. When you get your morning caffeine in your system, it doesn't wake you up. You only get back to the alertness level you used to have without caffeine. (Neuropsychopharmacology Vol 35, Pages1973–1983)


Yes, you read that right. Caffeine is a rip-off! You go through the expense and hassle of consuming caffeine, and only get back the alertness level you used to have without the caffeine. The same alertness level you can have again, without caffeine, after you break the caffeine habit. And don't forget that caffeine messes with your sleep!


Caffeine is Bad for Your Sleep

Yes, I hear you. Some of you are saying you don't use caffeine after dinner so it doesn't interfere with your sleep. That's another lie told to you by the caffeine industry. Caffeine consumed at anytime during the 24 hour day, interferes with sleep the next night. Sleep experts will tell you that even one cup of coffee in the morning can make it harder to get to sleep 16 hours later. (OneMedical.com. 2019 Jan 22) A 2016 study showed less than half the amount of caffeine referenced above made it harder to stay asleep. (Nutrition. 2016 Nov-Dec;32(11-12):1193-9) Caffeine, consumned well before dinner time makes it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep, decreases the total amount of sleep, increases the number of times you wake up each night, and decreases slow wave sleep. Less slow wave sleep means you are getting low quality sleep and you will not feel rested the next day. Because you don't feel rested, you drink more coffee and the cycle starts over. (Sleep Medicine Reviews.2017 Feb; 31(70-78))


If you have been looking for a reason to get off caffeine, this is it. If you didn't know caffeine was bad for you, now you do. There is no good reason to keep using caffeine. Now is the time to dump caffeine from your life. Now is the time to put your health and wellbeing first.


You Can Get Off Caffeine Succesfully

QUESTION: Should I quit cold turkey?

ANSWER: You can if you want, but you may get a pretty nasty headache that lasts quite awhile along with some other pretty severe withdrawal symptoms. Tapering is a good way to avoid all that misery.

QUESTION: If I decide to taper, how do I do it?

ANSWER: If you are drinking 4 cups of coffee a day, cut down to 3 cups per day. Wait a week or 2 and if you feel OK, reduce down to 2 cups per day. Keep reducing by 1 cup every 1-2 weeks. After you have been on 1 cup a day for a week or 2, you may want to reduce to 1/2 cup a day for the last week or so. With an approach like that, most people can get off caffeine succesfully.

QUESTION: What if I have withdrawl symptoms or get a bunch of headaches while tapering?

ANSWER: Taper slower, but don't give up. You can stay at each level longer if needed, or reduce by just 1/2 cup each time. You can also ask your doctor for some help. For example, there are some acupuncture points that will help mitigate caffeine withdrawal symptoms.


Good Luck and I Hope You All Get Caffeine Free!

Take care and BE HEALTHY!


CW Jasper

July 2023


©2023· Content is Property Created by CW Jasper

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Gerald Hacker
Gerald Hacker
Jul 12, 2023

And I thought caffeine was a vitamin! Ha! Seriously though, instead of drinking coffee, I opt for decaffeinated green tea. It provides more health benefits and does not mess with your blood pressure like caffeine does.

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Natasha Rasaka
Natasha Rasaka
Jul 12, 2023

This is a difficult concept for people to understand. I am glad I don't use caffeine. It has not been helpful when I did have it. It makes me extremely sick.

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