Coffee: Can It Kill?

Coffee: Can It Kill? – Brief Article


Drinking a few mugs of coffee in the morning stresses your body out all day–and may up your chance of developing a deadly disease.

James Lane, Ph.D., gave 72 java lovers 500 mg of caffeine, the amount found in about four cups of coffee, over the course of a morning. Lane, an associate professor of behavioral medicine at Duke University Medical Center, then periodically checked subjects’ blood pressure and hormone levels.

Not only did subjects’ blood pressure levels rise throughout the day into the evening, but their levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones released during times of stress, also went up. Surprisingly, says Lane, these effects “lasted until bedtime, a long time considering that subjects didn’t have any caffeine after lunch.”

A neuromodulating substance called adenosine normally prevents excessive activity in the nervous system during times of stress. Because caffeine is known to block adenosine receptors, Lane believes that the stimulant keeps adenosine from doing its job–allowing stress hormones to surge through the body. Over the long term, he says, this increases neuronal activity and blood pressure, making coffee drinkers more susceptible to coronary heart disease. Caffeine addicts may have to choose between a healthy buzz or a healthy body.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group