Recent research undertaken by Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests that young people who regularly drink more than four cups of coffee per day risk dying earlier from all causes.
The effect of caffeine on health has been widely studied. If you’re thinking of cutting back, reduce caffeine gradually to prevent any symptoms of withdrawal.
Caffeine causes vasoconstriction (a narrowing of the blood vessels caused by contracting vessel walls, which is how it raises our blood pressure), but when we go through a withdrawal, a re-widening of the vessels increases blood flow to the brain, leading to “caffeine withdrawal headache”.
The caffeine in tea and coffee may be mildly addictive and increase general health risks a little, although the drinks themselves may actually contain some protective factors. However, drinks such as caffeinated diet and sugared cola are associated with a risk of higher blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
Large amounts of caffeine may decrease bone mass density, most likely by interfering with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This may lead to osteoporosis.
The growing popularity among young people of mixing caffeine with alcohol and other substances is, of course, more worrying for a whole range of other reasons.