What strange science lies behind the beautiful, black magic that we receive from coffee? Here's a quick overview of how coffee affects your brain...
You can take coffee black, with creamer, sugar, over ice, if you're feeling adventurous you can even put butter in it. Coffee is that magical liquid that keeps many of us moving when we're running on empty. The beauty of coffee is it's endlessly customizable for any taste pallet and it's magical ingredients help keep you on your feet throughout the day!
But, you might be wondering what happens when you drink coffee? Why does it wake you up? We're here to help shed some light into this mysterious and magical brew.
1. Adenosine = Tired
- Before we dive into how coffee affects your brain, we first must understand what makes us tired to begin with. It all starts with a molecule called Adenosine. This particular, naturally occurring chemical is produced in your brain throughout the day as your work, play, relax etc... Adenosine is one of the reasons you feel tired or get the dreaded "2 o clock" feeling.
2. Coffee = the great impersonator
- Enter our good friend coffee. To your brain receptors, the caffeine in coffee looks a whole lot like the molecule Adenosine. Since it has a very similar shape to Adenosine caffeine can bond to your brain's receptors and thus, repel the Adenosine molecules from reaching your brain's receptors. This prevents that tired, sleepy feeling. See picture below-
Picture from http://udel.edu/
3. Adaptive Brains = All great things must come to an end
- You might be wondering then. "Well. if I just keep drinking coffee then I'll never get sleepy and can just keep going forever and ever!" Not so fast. Our brains are remarkable little pink things. After a while our brain catches on to what the caffeine in coffee is doing and creates more receptors to receive the Adenosine molecules. Basically, the more coffee you consume, the more you will need to drink to get that morning "jolt."
The moral of the story here being that moderation is key. Most studies say that anywhere between 3-5 cups of coffee a day is completely safe and will allow you to reap the multitude of benefits from consuming.
NOTE: Everyone is different! Some people can drink more and some can drink less. We suggest the best path is to talk to your Doctor about what is best for you!
Be sure to drop the word Adenosine in the Doctor's office when discussing coffee; it'll be sure to impress.