There is nothing quite as eye opening as that morning cup of coffee. Whether you are enjoying a freshly brewed cup on your back porch on a Sunday morning, or downing a travel mug on your way into your next meeting, it is sure to wake you up and keep you moving. But how exactly does caffeine affect our nervous systems? Let’s take a deeper look at what that liquid gold is doing to get you so wired.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, much like cocaine, but without the bad rap. When consumed in moderation, coffee has been touted to have many health benefits, including boosting your mood, promoting fat burning, and providing beneficial antioxidants. Some studies even show that drinking coffee may lower your risk of dementia.¹ This being said, not all caffeine sources are created equally. You will not get the same benefits from that neon colored energy drink as you will from, for example, a responsibly farmed organic coffee bean.
While caffeine can provide these great benefits to our bodies in moderation, consuming it in excess comes with its risks. If we overdue it, we put ourselves at risk for insomnia, a jittery or anxious feeling, dehydration, dependence and subsequent withdrawal symptoms if we miss a cup or two, and even some tummy troubles due to the high level of acidity. So as with all of life’s great pleasures, less is more, and it is important for you to find that balance for yourself.
Regardless of if you choose to partake in that cup of coffee or not, you should always remember not to consume any caffeine within 2 hours of your appointment. In our office we conduct a thorough exam to look for clear indicators as to whether or not you have a primary structural shift. One of these indicators consists of a temperature scan which measures the health and function of the nervous system. The scan creates a graph by combining the temperature on both sides of the neck, because in a healthy nervous system, the temperature at any two symmetrical points must be the same. This would be indicated by a straight line graph. If the graph displays a wavy line, thus indicating unequal temperature, primary structural shift is likely present.
Caffeine can affect the accuracy of your nervous system scan because it causes a period of nervous system stimulation, this is why we love it. But following this period of stimulation comes a period of inhibition, or a crash. This can cause your scan to display a falsely straight line, which would make us think that you do not need to be adjusted when you might need to be. So it is simple to see that if you consume caffeine in any form, you are giving your nervous system a workout. As we discussed, there are risks and benefits, but it is clear that you should have your nervous system checked regularly, as the workload that this stimulation and inhibition imposes can be a factor in developing primary structural shift.
1. Nehlig A, Daval JL, Debry G. Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1992 May-Aug;17(2):139-70. doi: 10.1016/0165-0173(92)90012-b. PMID: 1356551.