Table of Content:
● Effects of caffeine
● Timing of the effects of caffeine
● Caffeine tolerance
● Exit of caffeine from the body
● Caffeine-containing foods & beverages
With the immense popularity that coffee enjoys across the globe, coffee consumption has essentially become a way of life for people – making coffee one of the most frequently discussed topics among people of all ages.
From millennials and teenagers boasting about their knowledge of the diverse kinds of lattes, macchiatos, and mochas found in premium top-notch coffee shops to the elderly talking about the old customs regarding the preparation and consumption of coffee, there is no dearth of conversations when it comes to coffee.
So it is quite natural that coffee enthusiasts have a certain kind of curiosity towards caffeine, the key compound found in coffee that causes the majority of the effects that one experiences after drinking a cup of joe.
So let’s have a detailed look at this well-known stimulant, its effects and find out for how long does it actually stay in our body after we drink a cup or more of coffee.
Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug, primarily consumed by humans through the natural sources – coffee, tea and chocolate (cocoa).
It is basically a fast-acting stimulant that affects the central nervous system, causing the various effects associated with coffee consumption.
It only takes close to 45 minutes for almost all of the caffeine consumed via coffee to be absorbed by the membranes in our body.
The half-life for caffeine in humans is around 4 to 6 hours on average, with it varying in individuals depending on their age, any medical conditions they may be having and due to interactions with any drugs that they may be consuming.
The other half of caffeine can last for a much longer time than the 4-6 hours.
Immediately after caffeine enters the body, it is metabolized by the liver and broken down into paraxanthine, theobromine, and theophylline.
These chemicals travel all around the body, affecting various body functions in the process.
Also, the speed at which caffeine is metabolized also depends on the particular genes in people and the differing levels of caffeine sensitivity that they may have.
This also leads to variations in the extent to which they feel the effects of caffeine.
Effects of caffeine
The effects of caffeine that a person experiences depend on the amount of caffeine that he has consumed.
When in the body, caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine which is known to have a calming, slowing effect on the brain.
On the blocking of adenosine, the adrenal glands present in the human body begin to secrete the hormone adrenaline and there is also a rise in the dopamine levels.
This leads to one feeling the effects commonly associated with coffee consumption – increase in heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and body temperature along with an enhancement in overall mood as a result of the elevated dopamine levels.
The blocking of adenosine also leads to a stimulant effect, causing a boost in energy levels and brain function (memory, mood. vigilance, reaction times and general cognitive function).
Timing of the effects of caffeine
One normally begins to feel the effects of caffeine within 10 minutes from consumption and these effects remain until the time caffeine is present in the body.
Also, the effects of caffeine reach maximum levels within 30-60 minutes from consumption.
People regularly drinking multiple cups of coffee can lead to their body becoming resistant to caffeine over a period of time.
These may lead them barely noticing any of the effects that are linked to caffeine consumption.
In contrast, the effects of caffeine may linger for a number of hours or even until the next day in individuals having caffeine sensitivity.
Exit of caffeine from the body
When it comes to the exit of caffeine from the body, the caffeine metabolites are filtered by the kidneys and they leave the body through the way of urine.
Caffeine is known for its diuretic effect on the body, which essentially leads to the body releasing more amount of water in the urine.
On leaving the body or after being used by the various cells of the body, caffeine can lead to the person experiencing a ‘crash’ courtesy of the raised levels of adenosine swamping the brain and as a result of dopamine now being repressed.
This leads to the individual experiencing fatigue and tiredness.
Caffeine-containing foods & beverages
Caffeine is commonly found in the following foods and beverages:
Foods containing caffeine:
● Cocoa and cocoa-containing products like chocolate
● Guarana seeds
● Some energy and protein bars
● Some pre-workout powders and drinks
Beverages containing caffeine:
● Black and green tea
● Guarana beverages
● Yerba mate
● Soft drinks
● Energy drinks
That’s it then, we have had a comprehensive look at caffeine, its various effects and the timing of these effects along with a list of foods and beverages that contain this natural stimulant.
So now it’s time to answer the most important question: How long does caffeine stay in a person’s body?
As we discussed earlier, the duration for which caffeine stays in an individual’s body and the period for which its effects are experienced depends on a plethora of factors linked to the concerned individual.
The half-life for caffeine in humans is around 4-6 hours on average, so it would be appropriate to consider 6 hours to be the period of time for which the effects of caffeine are significantly felt.
And as far as the advice of experts is concerned, then healthcare professionals commonly recommend people to avoid the consumption of caffeine-containing products a minimum of six hours before bedtime.
Amir Atighehchi is an Iranian-American born and brought up in Los Angeles, CA., He is also the co-founder of Nutlock and is the VP of Strategic Growth at DRNK coffee + tea and QWENCH juice bar. Additionally, He along with his two closest friends Ariel Banayan and Mikey Ahdoot founded “Habit Nest”, a startup company dedicated to helping people incorporate healthy lifestyle habits into their daily life.