The Way Up
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The Way Up Newsletter
Vol. 14 11/15/99

May all beings everywhere,
Seen and unseen,
Dwelling faroff or nearby,
Being or waiting to become:
May all be filled with lasting joy.

---Sutta Nipata

  Blessings and Welcome to this month's WAY UP NEWSLETTER!

  CAFFEINE is the most widely used drug in the world. It is popular because it can be mentally & physically stimulating in certain doses. It is also the major drug of "addiction" in the world. Now you may not like this ,but the truth is as it is. I'll preface all by saying I have 1 cup of regular coffee daily & an occasional diet coke or iced tea.

IS SOME CAFFEINE OKAY?

Research shows that doses of caffeine up to 150-200 mg/daily(depending upon your weight & associated health conditions) can actually enhance mental & physical performance in most people. It's when you go beyond this dose that caffeine can become problematic.

However, a dose this small is enough to addict when used regularly. Most of us know the abrupt DCing of coffee can cause with- drawal headaches & fatigue.

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR DOSE OF CAFFEINE?

Caffeine is in coffee, tea, soft drinks, over-the-counter & prescription medications, & the substance "Guarana" found in some combination stimulant supplements.

Because soft drinks have replaced coffee as the #1 source of caffeine in the U.S., many children also get regular caffeine doses.

AVERAGE BEVERAGE CAFFEINE CONTENT

Brewed coffee = 15-30 mg/ounce
Instant coffee = 13-20 mg/ounce
Tea = 2-10 mg/ounce
Mountain Dew = 50 mg/12 ounce
Tab = 41 mg/12 ounce
Shasta Cola = 38 mg/12 ounce
Sunkist Orange = 38 mg/12 ounce
Dr. Pepper = 37 mg/12 ounce
Pepsi = 35 mg/12 ounce
RC Cola = 34 mg/12 ounce
Coca Cola = 32 mg/12 ounce
Diet Pepsi = 32 mg/12 ounce
Pepsi Light = 31 mg/12 ounce
King Cola = 29 mg/12 ounce

Since they don't have to say the number of mg, only that it contains caffeine, it is possible that these numbers may slightly vary from the time this was computed.

Caffeine is also in the following commonly used drugs:

Caffergot Darvon Compound Excedrin Fioricet Fiorinal Norgesic Forte Wigraine Butalbitol Synalgos-DC Caps Esgic as well as other less commonly used drugs. Do not combine with Theophylline which is a drug used for asthma.

WHAT HAPPENS WITH LARGER DOSES OF CAFFEINE?

In doses greater than 150-200 mg it is possible to produce insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, restlessness, irritability, delirium, ringing in the ears, flashes of light, gastrointestinal disturbances, tense or trembling muscles, fast or irregular heartbeat, low grade fever, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, & mood fluctuations. I have seen chronically high caffeine intake contribute to the triggering of mania in those with Bipolar Disorder.

Both the Psychiatric Diagnostic codes & the general medical diagnostic codes include a diagnosis referencing the toxic effects of too much caffeine. The Psychiatric Diagnosis refers to Caffeine Organic Mental Disorder. One must have had recent consumption of caffeine, usually in excess of 250 mg, & at least five of the following symptoms: restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, excitement, flushed face, diuresis, gastrointestinal complaints, muscle twitching, rambling flow of thought & speech, cardiac arrhythmia, psychomotor agitation & periods of inexhaustibility. These must not be due to another known mental disorder in the individual.

WHO SHOULD AVOID CAFFEINE?

In my practice I recommend my patients entirely avoid caffeine if they have: problems with high blood pressure, a tendency to heart rhythm disorders, high thyroid, ulcers, gastritis, chronis diarrhea, hypoglycemia, osteoporosis, severe PMS, low adrenal functioning, liver or pancreatic disease, anxiety, irritablity, insomnia, obsessions, compulsions, mania, psychosis, or if they are pregnant.

Some people are allergic to coffee from the coffee bean perspective, & others are allergic to the caffeine component. In those cases, even small doses can cause adverse symptoms.

For more information about allergic reactions to caffeine see http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine_allergy.html.

WHAT HAPPENS WITH CHRONIC CAFFEINE CONSUMPTION?

Again we are talking about degrees of caffeine dosing. Those without the above conditions generally tolerate caffeine up to 150-200 mg. The person who consumes more, or who gradually increases their caffeine consumption over time may need higher & higher doses to achieve the perception of the same beneficial effects as at the lower dose & may be less aware of "immediate" adverse side effects because of the habituation response. Besides other problems, with the chronic higher dose intake nutrient deficiencies may be induced which can cause their own list of symptoms. Let's face it, the high caffeine consumer is usually not the person who is efforting to eat healthfully & taking supplements.

Caffeine increases the urinary excretion & therefore body loss of the following minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, & phosphate. It also inhibits iron absorption & interferes with the absorption & metabolism of Vitamin B1. It also lowers plasma tyrosine levels(an important mood sustaining amino acid). It has some anti- vitamin A & anti-vitamin B6 properties as well.

If you insist on more than 150 mg of caffeine daily, it would be wise to be sure you are adequately supplementing that which you are losing or impairing. If you want to see a list of the deficiency symptoms for some of the depleted nutrients you can find them at the following:

Vitamin B1 deficiency,
Magnesium deficiency,
Iron deficiency,
Potassium deficiency,
Calcium deficiency,

That should be enough for this month. Please let me know what would like featured.

Wishing you all good health & life!

Alone in the day or night
With me & mine. No other
To be responsible for what
I AM

I "choose" my moments
As I exercise the
Freedom of my soul.
-- Priscilla Slagle M.D.

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