Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS
According to recent research, nearly 90 percent of Americans over the age of 18 consume caffeine on a regular basis1. The reasons are clear: 3 out of 4 American adults say they feel tired most days and 1 out of 5 admits that they inadvertently doze off at least once a week2. While following the principles outlined in the doTERRA Wellness Lifestyle Pyramid is the most evidence-based way to maintain daily energy levels, it is easy to become reliant on caffeine for a daily uplifting fix. But that convenience can come at a cost to your health.
Chemistry of Caffeine
Why is caffeine so popular? Well, because it works. And how it works involves some interesting chemistry. Present in all human cells is a neurotransmitter known as adenosine. Neurotransmitters and their receptors work sort of like a lock and key. Adenosine (the key) is important in providing energy for physical tasks and focused thinking. As you use your physical and mental fuel to complete tasks, adenosine builds up and comes in contact with various locks. One lock, the A1 receptor, promotes muscular relaxation and sleepiness when opened—one of the reasons why you progressively get more tired throughout the course of the day. Another receptor, A2A, can interfere with the release of a number of mood-influencing neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, when in contact with adenosine.
When introduced into the system, caffeine competes with adenosine for attention from receptors, essentially blocking the binding path. Instead of slowing down, nervous system cells actually begin to speed up in a sort of “flight or fight” response, resulting in a spike in adrenaline secretion and a number of stimulating effects: dilating the pupils, opening up of the airways, and increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to the muscles. Research has also shown that caffeine has a profound effect on the neurotransmitter dopamine, the “feel good” hormone3. While it is unclear whether ingestion of caffeine increases dopamine release, it does stimulate adenosine receptors, which indirectly enhances dopamine signaling in the brain, amplifying the arousing and energizing effects.
The almost immediate uplifting rush of energy provided by caffeine does not come without negative repercussions. As the world’s most widely ingested psychoactive substance, a vast amount of research has been conducted regarding probable health concerns and the possibility of dependency associated with regular use of caffeine4. Although generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for consumption, acute caffeine toxicity and increased risk for dependency become a significant concern for average-sized adults beyond 400 mg/day, which equates to roughly four cups of coffee or two conventional energy drinks5.
Despite the average consumption of caffeine in the United States being slightly more than half the GRAS amount, approximately 10 percent of the population is regularly exceeding that amount from beverages alone1. Regular caffeine consumption beyond medically accepted levels is becoming so prevalent that “Caffeine Use Disorder” is now listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders6.
Along with acute discomforts such as jitters and stomach discomfort, excessive caffeine consumption has been linked to:
- Insomnia: Research suggests that consuming caffeine as much as six hours before bedtime may have significant negative effects on sleep quantity and quality7.
- Headaches: There is some evidence that the vasoconstrictive (narrowing of blood vessels) properties of caffeine may help relieve some headache symptoms, but research suggests that overuse can cause headaches and increase their intensity8.
- Mental Health: After controlling for other related lifestyle factors, recent research suggests that regular caffeine consumption is associated with increased self-reported stress, anxiety, and depression9.
- High Blood Pressure: As little as 160 mg of caffeine may raise your blood pressure, especially if you already have hypertension10.
- Early Morbidity: One study found that those who regularly consumed more than four cups of coffee per day had a 21 percent increase in all-cause mortality11.
Fortunately, doTERRA’s Mito2Max® Energy & Stamina Complex has been formulated to be a healthy long-term alternative to stimulant-infused beverages and dietary supplements. Mito2Max is a proprietary combination of standardized plant extracts and metabolic cofactors that promote efficiency at the core of energy production: our cells. Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Cordyceps, American Ginseng Root Extract, Ginkgo Leaf Extract, Ashwagandha Root Extract, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, and Quercetin Dihydrate synergistically support mitochondrial function to improve energy levels, stamina, and aerobic capacity.* To maintain daily energy levels, take 2 capsules with both a morning and midday meal, or as needed to support stamina, energy, and mental acuity.*
Healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as a whole food diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest are the keys to long-lasting energy, but life isn’t quite that simple. Instead of tricking your adenosine receptors into an unnatural and short-term “fight or flight” response that may come with some unintended health consequences, support healthy cellular energy production naturally by supplementing your lifestyle with Mito2Max Energy & Stamina Complex.