What Could Be Wrong with a Cup (or 7) of Coffee?

by Sneha Ramshanker

Every morning, as you walk down the hallway,  you can see people holding large cups of coffee in a desperate need to stay awake. This appears to be a necessity for students at our school (especially in the IB program), but how good is it for our health?

According to ASW biology teacher Dr. Merritt, “New research suggests that some people (perhaps like me) should stay away from caffeine. Basically, most people don’t respond much to caffeine, and for these people, coffee seems to have a lot of health benefits. For the rest, who are very sensitive to caffeine, coffee seems to have [negative] effects on health. The interesting thing is that it’s not possible to make a sweeping statement about the effect of coffee on health. It depends on the individual.”

Last year, Dr Merritt was an avid consumer of coffee, but says that this year he chose to give it up because it made him “too weird”.

But what it is it about coffee, particularly the caffeine, that causes different people to respond to it in different ways?

Here are three factors that influence you response to caffeine:

  1. The amount of coffee you drink

According to research by the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at John Hopkins University, the more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to feel its effects because your body builds up a tolerance towards it. So, don’t always depend on coffee if you are planning to cram for an essay! After some time, you just don’t feel the effects.

  1. Your DNA.

For all you biology enthusiasts, this is for you! Turns out that, genetically, some people are more tolerant to caffeine than others. According to new research by The Harvard School of Public Health, the presence of certain particularly genes can make you more susceptible to caffeine addiction and has an influence on your ‘caffeine sensitivity’.

  1. Gender

According to a study conducted by the University of Barcelona, it turns out that boys are more energetic after consuming caffeine than are girls.

So, the next time you are hanging out with your hyper friend after he/she has just drunk a cup of coffee, you will know why he/she is acting this way.

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