In the UK we absolutely LOVE coffee, so much so that we drink approximately 95 million cups of it each day according to the British Coffee Association. (1)
Caffeine is a stimulant which can affect some people more than others. It’s present in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate all in varying amounts. Most caffeine consumed is through coffee and depending on the type of coffee and how it is made, the average cup contains about 90 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. Health organisations around the world suggest that it’s generally safe to consume up to 300mg of caffeine a day. The NHS suggests that pregnant women consume no more than 200mg of caffeine a day. (2)
How does it work?
Let’s get sciencey. When we’re awake, a chemical called adenosine normally builds up in our bodies and higher levels make us feel sleepy. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors in our brain and helps to stop the sleepiness signal getting through, which in turn helps us to stay awake. Caffeine also stimulates our nervous system, making us more alert and focussed, although, one cup too many can make you feel shaky and anxious. It also acts to increase the body’s fight or flight chemical - adrenaline, which can cause an irregular heartbeat and higher blood pressure. This over-stimulation can be bad for people that have high blood pressure so it's important to consume sensible amounts!
Interestingly, B compound vitamins are involved in the energy production systems within our cells. Adequate supply of each B vitamin is required for appropriate functioning of these systems and a lack of any one of them can have potentially severe metabolic and health consequences. (3) Moreover riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B7) and cobalamin (B12) are all involved in the energy yielding functions of cells, along with vitamin C. Some of these B vitamins, specifically B5 and folate (B9) and zinc are crucial for the structure and function of brain cells. (3) Our vegan Energise gummies contain these and have the added benefit of being research-backed. Taking two of these each day can help to reduce mental and physical fatigue - avoid that post-lunch slump!
Dr Alexander, MB ChB, BSc (Hons) - Senior Writer