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Info About Your Nervous System That’s Good to the Last Drop

By Dr. Molly Casey

Coffee's Impact on Your Nervous System

Are you a morning coffee person? How about an afternoon coffee person? Are you a 1 cup type of gal or a 1 liter type of guy? And why in the world would a chiropractor be asking about your coffee consumption? The answer is simple: coffee affects your nervous system and the goal of a chiropractor is to keep your nervous system functioning as optimally as possible. The nervous system is the master communication system within the body. The more optimally it runs, the greater health you experience, the better you function; bottom line, life is better.

Coffee and Your Nervous System

Coffee affects the nervous system in a multitude of ways. Because the nervous system controls the level of your health and functioning in life, it’s wise to heed such stimulus if something negatively affects the nervous system, it will negatively affect one’s health and level of functioning.

Caffeine is the most widely talked about component of coffee that affects the nervous system. Caffeine is a chemical/drug that is found in a multitude of sources, including but not limited to tea, cocoa, chocolate, certain berries, and coffee beans. Caffeine enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestines and passes through the blood brain barrier, thereby entering into and interacting with the brain. In the brain, caffeine primarily interferes with the neurotransmitter, adenosine. Adenosine slows down brain activity and actually increases body energy metabolism. When caffeine enters the brain it stimulates nervous system activity and decreases body energy metabolism. Common side effects are increased mental alertness and thought-processing, and a noted decrease in drowsiness and fatigue.

Too Much of A Good Thing?

All in all, increased mental alertness and thought process, with a decrease in low energy bouts, doesn’t sound like too bad of a deal. Initially, it’s not so much an issue.

But here’s the thing ...

First, your body is a system of checks and balances. There is a reason behind why processes occur and symptoms are present. So that bout of afternoon fatigue you feel or those really hard to get up mornings that you have consistently -- yeah, those -- they are telling you things about your health whether you are listening or not. Simply overriding the symptoms with caffeine (or anything else for that matter) is doing nothing to truly address the cause of the problem; rather, it just masks the symptoms.

Second, it’s important to note that many, if not most, individuals in modern-day society in the west have nervous systems that are overloaded with stress from chemicals in food, busy schedules, misaligned spines, emotional strain and more. While the occasional or even a minimal consistent dose of caffeine isn’t going to make or break a healthy nervous system and one’s overall health, it certainly adds to a far more severe issue of nervous system overload, thereby decreasing the functioning of your master communication system, the one that controls your health.

Coffee and Your Health

Caffeine in coffee is a psychoactive chemical with estimates of 90 percent of Americans consuming it daily. Because it is a stimulant, when the body becomes reliant upon it and it is taken away, one can experience side effects such as irritability, drowsiness, headaches and more.

How much caffeine affects your health is dependent upon how much you use it. That can only be assessed by you and your honest evaluation of your consumption. I am a big believer of moderation in everything. This also can include periods of time when we abstain from usage altogether, a coffee cleanse, if you will. See your doctor of chiropractic on a regular basis to help ensure a properly functioning nervous system and know that just like anything else you put into your body, coffee affects your health. You can be working against yourself daily while you may not even know it.

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