Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Interesting Facts on Caffeine

I loveee drinking coffee. So you may find more and more information on coffee from time to time in my blog (^-^)

Caffeine can be found in tea, coffee beans, guarana berries and cocoa nuts. It stimulates our central nervous system. The effects of caffeine differ on each and every one of us. Caffeine in short term could cause contraction of muscles, which may lead to:

· Twitching
· Increase heart rate
· Blood flow to stomach slows down
· Contriction of blood vessels on our skin
· More sugar is released from liver into our bloodstream
· Breathing tubes open up

Coffee can cause harder to sleep for some people. For some of us, it can also cause us to experience deep sleep for shorter periods, and shorter dream periods. So when we wake up, we would feel less rested.

Caffeine reaches maximum concentration in the body after 1-½ hours. After 3 to 7 hours, the caffeine in our body is metabolized and then expelled from our body.

Caffeine is metabolised by the liver, and passes into the bloodstream, crossing the blood/brain barrier into the brain. There it binds with receptors including dopamine receptors (which is why it makes you feel good) and adenosine receptors. Adenosine when bonded to its receptors slows down nerve cells, causing drowsiness. Caffeine also binds to adenosine receptors but doesn't slow down nerve cells. Since there is less adenosine binding, the nerve cells speed up, leading to feelings of restlessness.

Excessive caffeine intake, which is more than 4 or 5 cups of strong tea or coffee per day, can cause tremors, a fast heart rate, increased urination, nervousness, anxiety, stomach upsets and insomnia. In rare cases, caffeine can cause death relevant to heart condition.

Caffeine has a greater affect on children and the elderly. It can cause unborn babies to experience restlessness and withdrawal symptoms at birth, and produce hyperactivity and anxiety in kids.

The rate at which caffeine is metabolised by the body depends on the health of the liver. Women in general have more enzymes in the liver and metabolise drugs like caffeine faster than men.

The same class of enzymes metabolise caffeine and the hormones of pregnancy. It takes longer to get rid of the caffeine when these hormones are elevated in the body, that is, if you're pregnant or on the oral contraceptive pill. Low to moderate consumption of caffeine (one to two cups per day) has no effect on pregnant women’s birth weight or risk of miscarriage.

For some of you who are trying to make baby (^-^), please note that, caffeine has been shown to reduce fertility by damaging sperm in men. On women, it affects whether or not the fertilised egg (embryo) successfully implants in the uterus. Caffeine is a stressor; it stimulates the heart and brain, however also stimulates the release of a hormone that negatively interacts with the hormones that control fertility. As little as one cup of strong coffee a day can affect the chances of successful conception.

And for breastfeeding mom, do note down that caffeine can enter breast milk and significant amounts can cause wakefulness and agitation to the baby. Again, one cup per day seems to be the recommended upper level of intake.

However, there are some benefits in caffeine consumption. Caffeine is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are thought to help prevent heart disease and some cancers. Furthermore, coffee also contains flavonoids, which are also antioxidants. I read somewhere before that coffee is as strong as 6x antioxidants.

Caffeine increases alertness and is thought to improve concentration. It has also been used to help premature babies experiencing difficulties breathing. Minute amounts of caffeine given intravenously once a day can stimulate a newborn baby's brain to tell the lungs to inflate.

All in all, we can still drink coffee, or may be green tea or chocolate, as long as in moderate amount. So it is enough to benefit our body, and yet still far to experience the negative effects.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


It was just yesterday, 19 Feb 2008, we heard mourning news that the favorite and famous Hong Kong TVB Legend, Lydia Shum who is more popular being called as "Fei Fei" (which means fatty). She was called so because of her tubby build. She passed away at the age of 60 in Hong Kong's Queen Mary Hospital, due to liver cancer.

We now become more realized of the 'existence' of cancer among us. That is why we have to do our best efforts necessary to prevent cancer.

Here are the things that you should do to prevent cancer:

1. Stay as lean as possible without becoming underweight
2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes per day
3. Avoid sugary drinks. Minimize consumption of energy-dense foods, such as those processed food high in added sugar, or low in fiber, or high in fat
4. Eat more of variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans
5. Limit consumption of red meats, such as beef, pork, and lamb. Avoid processed meats
6. Limit alcohol consumption
7. Eat fresh foods instead of supplements
8. Cancer survivors should follow all recommendation and obey restrictions for relapsed cancer prevention

Friday, February 15, 2008

Calcium Supplements: Good or Bad?

Some more lessons to learn today!!!

Today is about calcium supplements.
A New Zealand research reporting women taking calcium supplements to protect their bones had a significantly higher risk of having a heart attack.

Calcium benefits our bones, preventing bone loss and fractures. However, calcium consumption increase heart attack rate up to 40% higher!!!! It could also lead to stroke or sudden death.
The researchers think the finding is real because other studies have gone in the same direction, but this finding needs further verification.

It is suggested to take more calcium in whole food rather than calcium supplements. And if you have to take calcium to prevent bone loss from osteoporosis, the dosage should be under 1 gram a day. The researchers stated that it is better to be lower dosage.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Omega 3 Supplements: Not So Worth It?

I find this new finding about Omega 3 fats very interesting. As I have been taking Omega 3 supplements all these whiles, even my family and people around me worship Omega 3 so much!! Well..not any longer if they read new finding on Omega 3.

It was believed that Omega 3 fats in fish oil are good for our health. For us who concern about our future health, a.k.a our health when we are old. Most of us are afraid of this monsterous cancer. We all have learned long while ago that Omega 3 fats are good to prevent us from cancer, stroke and heart disease.

A review of the current belief on benefits of Omega 3 was conducted by British researchers. The review suggests that taking extra fish oil may not have as much benefit as we all thought.

The researchers conducted most trials on supplements. Surprising results, that taking the Omega 3 supplements showed NO BENEFIT for cancer, doubtful benefits for heart disease.

It is advised that people suffering from a heart attack would benefit from consuming whole fish. However, if we are all well and healthy, taking Omega 3 supplements may just not worth the money and the bad breath.

Learning from this new finding, I would now stop buying Omega 3 fats, and as it has been said, it is better to consume fresh food rather than processed food, in this case supplements.

For Reference:
Title: British Medical JournalAuthor: Brunner E. Oily fish and omega 3 fat supplements. URL:

Title: British Medical JournalAuthor: Hooper Lee at al. Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer: systematic review. URL: