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Caffeine Blocks Adenosine, Boosts Dopamine, Constricts


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Great article on how caffeine affects our bodies ... I copied in a small section about adenosine but the next section in this article discusses how it affects dopamine, etc too ...

I just stopped ALL caffeine (no chocolate, no coffee and no Kombucha) last Monday for the very first time in my life to see if it will help calm my body down ...

Maybe this is part of why we over react (the effect of excito toxins) to caffeine and some supplements. If our adenosine receptors are blocked we can't calm down and our other neurotransmitters are allowed to fire uncontrollably ...

http://health.howstuffworks.com/well...l/caffeine.htm

Caffeine and Adenosine

Why do so many people consume so much caffeine? Why does caffeine wake you up? By understanding the drug's actions inside the body you can see why people use it so much.

In the HowStuffWorks article How Sleep Works, the action of adenosine is discussed in detail. While it sounds like advanced science, it's really pretty simple.

As adenosine is created in the brain, it binds to adenosine receptors. The binding of adenosine causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity.

In the brain, adenosine binding also causes blood vessels to dilate, most likely to let more oxygen in during sleep.

To a nerve cell, caffeine looks like adenosine. Caffeine therefore binds to the adenosine receptor. However, it doesn't slow down the cell's activity like adenosine would.

As a result, the cell can no longer identify adenosine because caffeine is taking up all the receptors that adenosine would normally bind to. Instead of slowing down because of the adenosine's effect, the nerve cells speed up.

Caffeine also causes the brain's blood vessels to constrict, because it blocks adenosine's ability to open them up. This effect is why some headache medicines like Anacin contain caffeine -- if you have a vascular headache, the caffeine will close down the blood vessels and relieve it.

So, now you have increased neuron firing in the brain. The pituitary gland sees all of this activity and thinks some sort of emergency must be occurring, so it releases hormones that tell the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline (epinephrine).

Adrenaline is the "fight or flight" hormone, and it has a number of effects on your body: ...

Your pupils dilate.

Your breathing tubes open up (this is why people suffering from severe asthma attacks are sometimes injected with epinephrine).

Your heart beats faster.

Blood vessels on the surface constrict to slow blood flow from cuts and also to increase blood flow to muscles.

Blood pressure rises.

Blood flow to the stomach slows.

The liver releases sugar into the bloodstream for extra energy.

Muscles tighten up, ready for action.

This explains why, after consuming a big cup of coffee, your hands get cold, your muscles tense up, you feel excited and you can feel your heart beat increasing.

In the next section, we'll go into detail about caffeine's long term effects on the body.

Has anyone experimented with this ?

I slowly weaned myself but I had a few headaches during the first week after totally stopping this. But I already feel better since I'm no longer experiencing the neurotransmitter roller coaster ride from the caffeine. I miss the taste of coffee, chocolate and Kombucha though.

tc ... dizzy

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I guess everyone is different. I think that coffee in moderation is a good thing. The article you posted also shows the health benefits of caffeine too. There are so many articles on the benefits of green and black tea also. You have to decide what works best for you. But, I think everything in moderation. I'll keep having my java every morning and love my green tea in the day. I think for me, it's a GOOD thing. Thanks for posting this though. For some it may just be that they are not being moderate and it could have too much of a stimulating effect on them. Some people just can not do caffeine. I'm glad I'm not one of them.

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Hi Issie

Before you give up on this idea ... :P

I didn't think I was having a problem with caffeine until I took it out of my diet and I'm no longer getting that jolt or the after affects. And after reading this article I could understand just what was actually happening in my body long after the initial jolt.

Caffeine is a drug. And it takes our bodies awhile to recover from using it. Heck it took me 4 months to come off Klonopin.

This article caught my attention because I had that major seizure in March. My brain was in a hyper reactive state while that was happening and this "could" explain it.

Um, I'd had 2 cups of coffee that day instead of my normal weak 1/2 cup.

I wouldn't be surprised if the effects of caffeine are causing my orthostatic intolerance either. Not that I'm holding my breath .... been there done that ...

tc ... dizzy

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After drinking 4 cups of coffee a day for about 5 years, I weaned myself off of it only to have migraines every single day for over 6 months. I now eat so much chocolate that it probably counts as 2 cups of coffee, lol :lol:.

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Wow ... 4 cups a day ... I've never been able to drink more than 1 diluted cup in the morning and maybe 1 in the afternoon without feeling too jittery to function.

Maybe that's a clue as to who might respond to this ... I seem to need those adenosine receptors to be available.

I'm jealous of the chocolate .. :P

tc ... dizzy

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I haven't had caffeine for 5 years because of anxiety, but it hasn't helped my POTS symptoms at all. I get just as much tachycardia, chest pain, insomnia, etc. Now that I've been off it for so long I totally notice when I get it by mistake! My Dr said caf-free coffee is fine since its a small amount (and then I don't feel deprived!), but once or twice a barista has mixed it up with caffeinated and I have the worst jitters for hours after - feels like hypoglycemia.

Of course, since we're all so different you never know how much it may help you! Totally worth a try. I did have several weeks of caffeine withdrawal headaches - but it was nothing compared to some med withdrawals I've gone thru!! Good luck.

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I built up to 4 cups over several years. Started drinking coffee in 7th grade because I didnt want to be so tall (they predicted 6 foot, I'm 5'9 so I guess it worked :lol: ). When I started having all my Pots problems my cardiologist told me to cut out all caffeine, so I did. Honestly my symptoms are worse now than when I drank 4 cups, although it would be difficult to know if this is related to caffeine or to time. I know my head certainly feels better with a little java :)

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I built up to 4 cups over several years. Started drinking coffee in 7th grade because I didnt want to be so tall (they predicted 6 foot, I'm 5'9 so I guess it worked :lol: ). When I started having all my Pots problems my cardiologist told me to cut out all caffeine, so I did. Honestly my symptoms are worse now than when I drank 4 cups, although it would be difficult to know if this is related to caffeine or to time. I know my head certainly feels better with a little java :)

Hey, I should have started coffee sooner. I did make 6 foot. Why didn't someone tell me it would stunt my growth? Coffee does increase dopamine levels in the body. Wonder if this does have anything to do with Hyper POTS. On one of my research threads I brought up the possible connection between dopamine D2 and the connection to Hyper POTS. I've tried not having coffee and tea, it really doesn't seem to make much difference. I don't have either on a daily basis. But, when I do have them, it doesn't seem to affect me. Black tea does - but not green tea. And I usually only have one cup of coffee in the a.m. - if I have any. So, by no means addicted to it.

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Hee Hee! My mom wouldn't let me drink coffee because it "would stunt my growth". Never did "grow up" enough to learn to drink it. :lol: But only grew to 5'5 anyway. Oh well!

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Ive often wondered why some POTS patients are highly sensitive to caffeine and why others who rely on it tend to crash shortll afterwards. I put it down to depletion of norepineprhine but who knows. Could also involved the interplay of Gaba, glutamate and NMDA receptors.

Dopamine can be high in POTS but generally its more in the vasculature.

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I haven't had caffeine for 5 years because of anxiety, but it hasn't helped my POTS symptoms at all. I get just as much tachycardia, chest pain, insomnia, etc. Now that I've been off it for so long I totally notice when I get it by mistake! My Dr said caf-free coffee is fine since its a small amount (and then I don't feel deprived!), but once or twice a barista has mixed it up with caffeinated and I have the worst jitters for hours after - feels like hypoglycemia.

Of course, since we're all so different you never know how much it may help you! Totally worth a try. I did have several weeks of caffeine withdrawal headaches - but it was nothing compared to some med withdrawals I've gone thru!! Good luck.

Hi Dizzyde,

Are you off gluten ? This sounds similiar to what gluten does to me. If I even take a bite of those gf treats at my celiac support group meeting, I become an overly aggressive Chatty Cathy. Fun for me but not for the others in the room ... :lol: This type of psychological reaction to gluten isn't unusual.

There is a theory that gluten it just one of several glutamates that can cause this type of reaction though. I've only noticed it so far with gluten but that's just me. I have a friend who gets wired off casein ..

Based on how much better I'm feeling I really can't imagine drinking caffeine free coffee but you never know .. I love the way coffee tastes ...

Doesn't the feeling of hypoglycemia come from the adrenals so it would feel the same ?

time for me to lay down ... dizzy

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Guest tearose

Caffeine is useful to raise blood pressure in some people without raising heart rate.

I am one of those. I use caffeine on an as needed basis.

If you become tolerant of caffeine, as with any drug, you will have adverse reactions. Coming off of the caffeine after developing tolerance is when you experience extreme symptoms of inability to sleep due to the suppression of adenosine and the need for the body to relearn how to adenosine. Caffeine is chemically similar to produce adequate adenosine and blocks its production...that is why it helps people stay awake.

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Ive often wondered why some POTS patients are highly sensitive to caffeine and why others who rely on it tend to crash shortll afterwards. I put it down to depletion of norepineprhine but who knows. Could also involved the interplay of Gaba, glutamate and NMDA receptors.

Dopamine can be high in POTS but generally its more in the vasculature.

Okay, you always give me more to think about and more to research. If the NMDA receptors are part of the problem - then that explains why Tramadol helps me - it blocks the NMDA process. I'm trying to understand how this all works. I realize that glutamate (MSG) plays a key role in this process and we are all talking about reacting to things with glutamate in it. But how does the blocking of NMDA and magnesium taurine make the difference? I know I can't take GABA, anything that works on that receptor is horrible for me - it does the opposite of what it's supposed to do. It sure doesn't calm me down. Okay, Rama - in simple, terms - let us pick your brain. Should we start a new thread so people can get in on this?

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Actually, if you want you can keep this here ... I'm super sensitive to gluten which is a glutamate .. I get myoclonus (jerking) and insomnia from gluten ... theanine and klonopin work on glutamate receptors and stop my myoclonus EVERYTIME ...

gluten has been linked to damage to our purkinje cells by Dr. Hajivassilou and others .. gluten ataxia .. I'm not sure if there's a conncection between glutamate receptors and purkinje cells ...

not sure what NMDA is yet .. but i thought I saw it connected to GABA and glutamates ...

Dogtorj has info about which foods contain high amounts of glutamates .. gluten, casien, corn and soy ... and he thinks it's our overuse of these causing seizures. He's had a lot of experience with this ...

Seizures are just from neuron over firing which is why giving up caffeine makes so much sense for me. I NEED those adenosine receptors to be available ...

btw ... I'm sleeping better now ... B)

FWIW ... I'm tired today so I hope this makes sense ... dizzy

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But how does the blocking of NMDA and magnesium taurine make the difference? I know I can't take GABA, anything that works on that receptor is horrible for me - it does the opposite of what it's supposed to do. It sure doesn't calm me down.

More research, not only is Tramadol a NMDA antagonist but also affects GABA that way too. It also can help with seizure type problems and is being given off label as a SSRI and SNRI. So, I can see how this might help some. Not to mention it helps my pain tremedously. But, I have to take a muscle relxr (bentyl) with it or it isn't as effective and will give me more POTS symptoms. Don't understand why I need this combination. But, starting to understand the chemical components of why it works.

Rama, hope you can help me to understand this more. Not finding very much that I can understand about it - it's like - swoosh - over my head today. Maybe need to wait til it's not a brain fog day. Having an allergy day and think I got a cold on top of it.

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Dogtorj has info about which foods contain high amounts of glutamates .. gluten, casien, corn and soy ... and he thinks it's our overuse of these causing seizures. He's had a lot of experience with this ...

Seizures are just from neuron over firing which is why giving up caffeine makes so much sense for me. I NEED those adenosine receptors to be available ...

I looked up some of his articles and found it very interesting. Here are a couple of them.

http://dogtorj.tripod.com/id26.html

http://dogtorj.tripod.com/id33.html

Makes me sure to stay off of glutten, dairy and sugar and also to make sure corn and soy are included in that list. Always knew they all bothered me - just wasn't sure why.

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I once asked a researcher about adenosine and dopamine and he told me that they were 'meaningless' in POTS. CFS research has been examining NMDA a bit.

As for food intolerances I think they have more to do with autoimmunity than being the cause of much or anything...

I dont think people are really that sensitive to glutamates. Many people that state that they are sensitive to MSG an tolerate fdoods like some cheeses that are four times higher in glutamate than MSG. And ofcourse, I dont buy the gluten connection at all.

People with autoimmune conditions seem more sensitive to foods (foods intolerances). That doesnt mean that these foods are crossing the blood brain barrier and causing ataxia without any white matter damage or demyelinating disease activity. Not only does that not make sense, its not really even possible.

If you have neurological damage from gluten intolerance its easily detectable.

What more likely happens is that certain foods promote autoimmunity and others supress it. A diet high in vegies and meat seems to calm me down - carbs of any type and daity can flare it up. Drinking too much booze does as well. It doesnt mean these foods are toxic - it means that my immune system is disfunctional and overreacts to things.

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I once asked a researcher about adenosine and dopamine and he told me that they were 'meaningless' in POTS. CFS research has been examining NMDA a bit.

As for food intolerances I think they have more to do with autoimmunity than being the cause of much or anything...

I dont think people are really that sensitive to glutamates.People with autoimmune conditions seem more sensitive to foods (foods intolerances). That doesnt mean that these foods are crossing the blood brain barrier and causing ataxia without any white matter damage or demyelinating disease activity. Not only does that not make sense, its not really even possible.

Drinking too much booze does as well. It doesnt mean these foods are toxic - it means that my immune system is disfunctional and overreacts to things.

Oh man, now I have to disagree with you - lets say this up front - don't take it personal it's not against you - just an observation. (Ha! Ha! Sue did you get this?)

I know one of the researchers that worked on aspartame before it was ever released into public. The things that it can do to the brain and the body is unbelievable. He would NEVER take it or give it to someone he even hated. That's how bad it is - it is also connected to glutamate. In fact, I'm so sure that my chewing too much of some gum with aspartame in it is what sent me to the hospital. I thought I was having an allergic reaction and the Histamine blockers didn't touch it. I should have taken more of them and would have probably gotten over it. Then it sent the ball into a downward spin and it messed everything up. I also know of a court case where the person was proven to have lost brain function due to aspartame. It was like she had developed Alzheimer's. After a long while and a really good detox - her brain function came back. It does definitely cross the brain barrier. Chemicals in our bodies can and do affect our brains and our bodies.

There are too many recorded incidences where eliminating certain foods have helped illness that are autoimmune related - like MS. So, this is a part of the picture. But Which came first the auto-immune dysfunction or the sensitivity to foods that activate the immune system?

As for booze - most of it is from grains - so that explains that reaction. If your body reacts adversely to any substance and you always have that same reaction to it - for you it becomes a toxic substance. It's like a little poison could kill you too. Why have poison if you don't know how much it will take to kill you? Kill you fast or kill you slow - your choice.

But, because we become so addicted to the substances we are sensitive to - we refuse to give them up. We go out fighting and kicking and screaming - and if we can find the will power to do what we don't want to do - we might just realize there is a difference after all. You go through withdrawals and cravings and they never really go completely away. It has become a drug to us. It takes months to realize the difference - and it's a painful process. And one bite, one justification and we're trying to find a way to let it back into our lives - just like an addict.

Okay, off my soap box -had my say . . . still admire you and your brain - just disagree on this one.

Still would like you to reply in more detail about the NMDA. Can you explain it in simplier terms to me? How does it play a part in GABA, dopamine etc. Don't you think maybe science could have advanced more and there might be some connection? Maybe at one time there wasn't a connection - because all the functions weren't completely understood. I know Vandy is researching dopamine and kidney receptors in regard to POTS.

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People get auto immune disorders usually because of their genetics - because their histocompatibility issues and after stressful events, infections or other unknown triggers they develop autoimmune disorders. You can argue that food intolerances are the reason and that might be true but I can tell you quite catagorically that there is very little hard science that demonstrates this to be the case.

So to answer your question the science indicates that people get auto immune disorders because of their genetics. There is tonnes of evidence - and im talking reputable medical journals full of well researched medical studies that suggests this.

I dont think I mentioned artificial sweateners. There is research that question their acceptability, sure.

Im not a big fan of artificial sweateners though and there are constant studies that tend to point out vascular toxicity as well as other problems.

No where did I say that certain diets wont help certain auto immune disorders because clearly certain diets seem to help some people. This doesnt mean that the food being avoided automatically caused the illness or is the sole reason they developed it. If it was that simple people would have worked it out years ago. As ive said before, irrespective of genetics, some foods are more likely to result in increased autoimmunity once a person has developed an auto immune illness. So it makes sense to try and eliminate those, but that doesnt prove much other than it seems to help some people. In my mind this doesnt automatically mean that the food is 'poison'. I dont think its that simple.

People have lots of theories about food and autoimmunity. Others have theories about infections resultng in autoimmunity. But they are theories, not proven science so how anyone can quote these theories as fact is strange to me.

Ive spoken to people here for years that are convinced of this or that and its fine but its not fact. There is myriads of information on NMDA receptors on the internet. Again there are theories and some NDMA receptor agonists seem to affect CFS. But I dont claim to know whether they are in any way relevant.

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Guest tearose

We are all so different and we have different reactions to chemicals.

I have been in all places where it concerns caffeine... before I understood the caffeine and adenosine connection, I had become tolerant to coffee experienced "caffeine toxicity", I then withdrew and for two weeks afterwards had more SVT's and problems as my body had to relearn how to produce adenosine.

Caffeine in small doses can be helpful in someone who really understands how it is effecting their body. I now use caffeine as a medication as needed.

I would much rather use caffeine and understand all the benefits and side effects rather that taking many of these off label drugs for which the damages and consequences and problems of stopping them is poorly understood.

Really, don't you wonder why any drug is prescribed if you are not "better" on it, coming off of it is dangerous and it has the potential of messing up other parts of your brain or body??

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Ram,

Good to hear from you but I have to agree with Issie on this one. (But you knew that ;) )

Thanks for the info Issie,

That's what my research has shown too. A webpage called theglutenfile has all the current documentation on gluten. Cara has been keeping this up since at least 2006. Cara, Anne and Al started www.glutenfreeandbeyond.org to help get this info out and assist people in making the transition ...

Not that I think gluten is the only problem and they don't either. There are other foods and chemicals in foods that we shouldn't be eating or drinking. And there are nutritional deficiencies brought on by many factors that need to be addressed.

And there are various viruses and other toxins in our environment that have been implicated in chronic illnesses.

As to which came first, I don't see that it matters. In many cases, treating one will allow our immune systems enough of a reprive that it can do it's job. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, from the View, is a good example of this. She couldn't have children until she eliminated gluten and now she has three.

I just happen to have high viral titers for several viruses that have been associated with CFS. I HAVEN'T treated thes with antivirals and yet a lot of my CFS symptoms are gone. I have taken Virastop but based on the dosages I've seen recommened, I'm not taking enough to do the job.

Hi Tearose,

According to this article caffeine blocks adenosine receptors not the production of adenosine. I'd have to google it to see where and how adenosine is made. All this makes me wonder where that adenosine was going though ... It's possible that our bodies slowed down it's production of this since it wasn't being used ? ? but again, I'd have to look it up.

personal update... I'm assuming that I'm going through major caffeine withdrawals which include feeling very jittery, sweats, constant thirst, a few headpains from time to time, and difficulty concentrating. I started my caffeine withdrawal about 10 days ago after a lifetime of consuming caffeine so I assume this is why I feel so bad. So far I've had these symptoms yesterday and today.

In googling caffeine withdrawals, most people seem to think caffeine withdrawals only last 2 - 7 days with only one stating it can last for months ... :o We, those with CFS, POTS or OI, may not just suffer from caffeine withdrawals since we have damage to our brains, adrenals, etc. Our bodies have some healing to do and will have to adjust to seeing these chemicals again as well as the lack of constriction in our blood vessells.

btw, I'm sleeping a straight 7 - 8 hours a night where before I waking up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night.

So far the only remedies I've seen for this include taking caffeine but I'm trying to avoid that. BUT ... I have a chocolate bar in the fridge that keeps calling my name ... lol ..

gotta go .. thanks for all the replies. I apologize for not answering more thoroughly but I'm under the weather .. This is very interesting ... dizzy

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I agree with tearose on this one. Caffeine has it's place. I think it is very beneficial for some people. It has been shown to help people with ADHD and autism and Parkinsons. Why - it increases dopamine. So, you could be low in dopamine and if you stop the caffeine, you are lowering your dopamine. Which is more important adenosine or dopamine? Good research project.

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I agree with tearose on this one. Caffeine has it's place. I think it is very beneficial for some people. It has been shown to help people with ADHD and autism and Parkinsons. Why - it increases dopamine. So, you could be low in dopamine and if you stop the caffeine, you are lowering your dopamine. Which is more important adenosine or dopamine? Good research project.

There are other ways to increase dopamine. Healthy ways ... without all the side effects.

Were these studies based on statistical analysis (questionares) or actual exams (MRIs, etc ) ? And were they long term studies ?

I gotta tell you though, my recent MRI with and without contrast and my CAT for my seizure disorder were "normal" ... and no neurologist I saw with their blood work, MRIs and CAT scans told me that they knew why I couldn't walk normally for 16 1/2 years ... and that went away after changing my diet. B)

I think the long term affects of using caffeine can cause significant damage to our brains ... and possibly other organs. I'm not sure yet where all adenosine is utilized but typically neurotransmitters are systemic.

In my case because of my tendency for seizures, adenosine is key because it keeps those neurotransmitters from overfiring.

I'm here cause I ate 1/2 of 1 piece, or the equivalent of 1/2 tsp, of my chocolate bar and the shakes stopped ... B) so what does that tell you ?

no longer dizzy ... lol ...

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I'm here cause I ate 1/2 of 1 piece, or the equivalent of 1/2 tsp, of my chocolate bar and the shakes stopped ... B) so what does that tell you ?

no longer dizzy ... lol ...

That tells me that you could have either needed: caffeine, magnesium or just some good yummy chocolate. (Come on laugh - you know you want to. :):) :0)

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