3 reasons that Caffeine affects Women more than Men……..


Introduction

I am a woman. And I drink caffeine. I am also the Mama of Mama Tea, therefore I drink a LOT of Mama Tea herbal tea. Accordingly, my caffeine intake has gone down substantially, however I now experience more noticeable effects of drinking my regular Starbucks/Costa/Caffe Nero coffee. I get flushed, hot, clammy, and my heart races. I suffer headaches and feel a bit jittery. As a result, I only drink one cup of coffee a day. However, I thought it would be interesting to look at a few of the facts about caffeine and women.

Caffeine affects women more than men.

Wow – really?? I hear you ask. Well, you might be surprised to find out that “roughly, 75% of the human research into caffeine has been conducted on men”  - {p225 – “Caffeine Blues” by Stephen Cherniske}.

Research shows that caffeine affects women much more than men. Why?

Reason 1 – Slower detoxification

Women detoxify caffeine much slower than men per se. However due to the fluctuations of hormones during a woman’s cycle, the “HALF-LIFE” of coffee (i.e. the time it takes the body to eliminate one half-dose of a dose of coffee) can change, varying from 5.5 hours to 7 hours depending on the stage of the cycle {M.J.Arnauld. “Metabolism of Caffeine and Other Components of Coffee” in “Caffeine, Coffee & Health”}. 

All of this means that by the time you are hitting your second or third cup, your body still has not recovered from the first cup. if you want to detox, try cutting down your coffees as the first step!

Reason 2 – Caffeine zaps your iron levels

Caffeine reduces your iron levels. The reason why this is so important for women is that women often suffer from iron malnourishment. Up to 30% of women will suffer anemia until they stop menstruating, just because it is so difficult to get iron from food. {L. Hallberg, “Iron” in “Present Knowledge in Nutrition”, 5th ed.}.

“Depending on the composition of a meal, a caffeinated beverage can reduce iron availability by a whopping 50 percent” {p235 “Caffeine Blues by Stephen Cherniske}. 

That’s a lot!

Reason 3 – Caffeine makes you stressed

Stress generally affects women much more than men – women’s stress hormones increase more rapidly than men’s when faced with conflict. {J. Ferri, “Under Pressure”} 

What does caffeine have to do with this? Well, caffeine increases the “Stress Response”. Caffeine has numerous effects on the body. One of these is is that it disrupts the function of the “ADENOSINE RECEPTORS”. 

What on earth does this mean? Well, Stephen Cherniske sums it up better than I could:

“Have you ever inserted the wrong key in a door and found that the key fits just fine but it wouldn’t unlock the door? That’s what caffeine does in a adenosine receptor. It fits, but does not perform the adenosine function……when caffeine plugs an adenosine receptor, an important biochemical message that was supposed to be sent to the cell is not delivered…….When caffeine inactivates this control mechanism, your neurone circuits keep firing, and you feel alert. The problem is, your circuits keep firing, and firing, and firing……”

This uncontrolled neuron firing creates an EMERGENCY RESPONSE in the brain – it activates the whole flight-or-fight flight stress reaction, flooding the brain with the stress hormones. And it keeps on doing it, over and over!

Combine this with the fact that women suffer stress more acutely and you can see that this fact alone is a reason for women to wean themselves off more than your one cappuccino a day!

One thought on “3 reasons that Caffeine affects Women more than Men……..

  1. Although Americans aren’t the world’s biggest per-capita caffeine fiends, we’re not exactly teetotalers. Research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) has led these groups to consider 300 milligrams (about two cups of coffee) the upper limit of a moderate daily dose. But roughly 20 percent to 30 percent of Americans consume more than 600 milligrams — considered a high dose of the drug — on a typical day . If you consume more than four cups of coffee a day, you’re probably among that number..

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