Ever wonder how caffeine works in your body?

From your biology class in high school… do you remember adenosine??Adenosine is one of the best-known sleep-regulating molecules. Located in your central nervous system, it helps get you sleepy as the day winds down, among other effects.

In the brain, there’s a receptor that, when its received – the molecule adenosine, causes you to relax. Caffeine fits perfectly into this receptor. Once attached, it blocks this “relaxation” signal, keeping you awake. This inhibition of adenosine can influence the following systems:

  • dopamine
  • serotonin
  • acetylcholine
  • adrenaline systems

The net effect is an increase in cAMP which is responsible for the regulation of glycogen, sugars and lipid (fat) metabolism.  So…. caffeine’s PDE inhibition can strongly increase the effects of other stimulants!!!

Once caffeine enters the body, some of it is broken down by the liver into three other molecules: paraxanthine (80%), theobromine (10%) and theophylline (4%)

Each caffeine metabolite performs a different task – as a team, they end up enhancing the effects of caffeine.

Paraxanthine helps break down fat, releasing the fat into your bloodstream and fueling your muscles. This can enhance performance in all sorts of athletic endeavors. Paraxanthine also reduces inflammation and raises epinephrine levels in the blood, which serves to energize us.

What’s cool about paraxanthine? It seems to have a lower toxicity and causes less anxiety than caffeine itself does. It’s actually better and lasts longer when promoting wakefulness, according to a mouse study on mice.

Theobromine, opens up your blood vessels, increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your brain. This opening of of vessels also speeds up the filtering process in the kidneys – theobromine acts as a diuretic. You shouldn’t worry about dehydration from drinking coffee though. The water in a coffee more than replaces the lost fluids due to the diuretic function of caffeine in the coffee.

Theobromine is actually found in chocolate, guarana (oh hey, Flow ingredient), tea, and yerba-mate products as well.

Theophylline, just like its sister theobromine, is also found in chocolate and tea. It has similar effects: helping you concentrate and can reduce inflammation, like Paraxanthine.

Interestingly, according to a 2008 clinical study, Theophylline could even improve a person’s sense of smell!!!!

Examine.com, as usual, has the most thorough compilation of info on caffeine; and be sure to check out their Supplement Goals Reference Guide.

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Im Cheryl- Im very passionate about Exercise + Nutrition + Health = Wellness!!! Anything and all things that fall under the umbrella of fitness. I have a degree in Exercise Science, and have been living it, studying and having fun with it!!!

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