Caffeine and stress - Muhdo

Genes of interest:  ADORA2A rs5751876, CYP1A2 rs762551

Caffeine is a stimulant and as such can help to “perk” you up if you are feeling fatigued or tired. It is often utilised to help with focus before training or learning. Caffeine, like all drugs, affects people in different ways and as such may or may not be a good choice in times of stress. In general, caffeine will increase heart rate and this may be negative for any stressful situation. Energy drinks containing caffeine are often used in times of exams and tests and so understanding how you may respond in these stressful situations is vital for making the correct choice.

What if you have no genetic link between caffeine and increased stress?

If your genetics don’t link you to research showing an increased stress response with the usage of caffeine you can use caffeine when needed.

However, as mentioned, caffeine will cause an increased heart rate and this could cause issues, especially if your genes link you to heart or physical symptoms from stress. Caffeine and sugar both increase adrenaline levels and as they are normally found together in energy drinks, it is worthwhile knowing your tolerance. Caffeine can also dehydrate you, which can increase stress and cortisol levels significantly.

What if your genetic variants have shown that caffeine may increase anxiety and stress?

If your genetics link you to research that shows an increased stress response with the usage of caffeine  you should stay away from caffeine, especially in stressful situations like exams. Caffeine will cause an increased heart rate and this could cause issues, especially if your genes link you to heart or physical symptoms from stress. Caffeine and sugar both increase adrenaline levels and as they are normally found together in energy drinks, it is worthwhile knowing your tolerance. Adrenalin will have a variety of physiological effects that impact your fight or flight response, such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and arousal which in many instances lead to anxiety and fear. Caffeine can also dehydrate you, which in turn increases cortisol levels significantly and could lead to further symptoms of chronic stress.

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