28/02/2018

Caffeine Science: Does Coffee Really Give You Energy?

It’s every Monday.

Your cruel alarm rings to wake you up from the lovely weekends. You drag your butt out of bed. Feeling the Monday blue, you go to your favourite coffee shop. The very friendly barista always knows what to hand you on a typical Monday - your most powerful fuel before you head off to office. You can finally work once you feel the caffeine rush. 

And here’s something we can both agree on:

My espresso gives me energy and allows me to endure every Monday blues, right?

Well…not really.

We all use coffee as our morning energy boost. But sorry coffee snobs, coffee does NOT give you real energy. Caffeine just fools your brain and makes you feel you are not tired.

So, how exactly does caffeine trick your brain and make you feel like energised? What is the secret? Let me explain.

How caffeine hijacks your brain?

Adenosine is a compound that produced by your body. It builds up in you throughout the day in order to tell you when you need rest. So, the more receptors in your brain detect adenosine, the more tiredness you feel.

The very interesting thing about the mysterious caffeine is that caffeine has a very similar structure with adenosine. It can plug with adenosine receptors.

Once caffeine goes into your blood stream, it binds with adenosine receptors. In this way, caffeine replaces adenosine in your system, resulting not enough signal sending to your brain that you need rest. Guess what'll happen? You feel wide awake and keep working again. Apart from blocking adenosine, caffeine also pump you with adrenaline. It is a hormone in you body that boost your energy level. In response to adrenaline, you would have faster heartbeat, higher blood pressure and tightened muscles. That’s the reason you feel restless and energetic after coffee.

But wait, this is not the whole story yet.

Caffeine is magical but your brain is more powerful. Your brain will recognise something’s amiss. It will try to compensate by creating more adenosine receptors. That’s why you won’t feel buzzed for too long. You either need to drink another cup of joe or go to sleep. 

Interesting, right?

So, next time when you are craving for coffee, you know what’s going on with your brain. Coffee doesn’t actually give us energy but after all the espresso always can fix our Monday blue, isn’t it?

Vanessa Lee

Founder of Forbidden Project since 2016. A Law & Bus degree graduate who chose to go into the coffee world. Passionate, stubborn and rebellious to traditional concepts. Recently working as a barista trainer. Active competitor in various coffee events.

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