Why does coffee make you Jittery or ill or sometimes nauseous?
Subtitle: how to get rid of the coffee shakes, how can you get rid of the coffee jitters
As a serial coffee drinker, for years I’ve wondered why after certain coffees I feel more jittery than others. That feeling when you’re a bit too buzzing from your morning coffee or you’re shaking and feel sick after you’re lunch break mug. I’ve always thought it’s because the coffee might be a stronger roast or because I’m drinking on an empty stomach and admittedly, sometimes it’s hard to predict if it’s going to happen. I’m always wary because sometimes I really cant afford to be jittery, heart pounding and generally a hot sweaty mess. Coffee can do that sometimes –I know you’ve probably experienced it yourself. So why is this?! Is it the caffeine? Lets find out if caffeine gives you the jitters!
I want to talk you through the reason why coffee makes us feel like that and how we can stop it.
The effects caffeine has on our body all depends on the way our body processes it. Mostly down to our genetics , the slower you metabolise caffeine the stronger the affect on your body. Its all down to the CYP1AZ gene (this is too much science for me so i’m going to keep it simple). Our CNS(Central Nervous System) reacts to the stimulant within our body – some people can metabolize caffeine at a faster rate that others hence why it doesn’t have an lasting affect. Its really as simple as that in some respects.
Tolerance also varies depending on the age, sex and size of the person. When you think about it, its understandable. Think of it similar to how a person processes alcohol. We always hear that saying ‘shes tiny she shouldn’t drink that much‘ or ‘he can drink so much look how big he is‘. Its the same principle, someone weighing 6 stone is going to process it different to someone who weighs 16 stone. It takes an average person with normal liver function 5 hours to breakdown 50% of caffeine. Thats a long time! So put it this way, if you’re downing the caffeine like its water its not going to have the best affect on your system!
Therefore, shaking will last as long as caffeine is in the system. It can take up to 6 hours after ingestion for caffeine to be fully broken down.
As we look at the reasons why our CNS processes coffee differently we also need to address the fact that unwanted symptoms can be because of coffee withdrawal. Things like nausea, racing heart rate and restlessness can be caused because you have withdrawal symptoms from coffee that your body may be used to. It may be that after a certain amount of time your body is used to those 2-3 cups of coffee a day and when you don’t have it on a regular basis your body is reacting to it through withdrawal.
The serious stuff:
‘The coffee shakes’ or the ‘coffee jitters’ may be caused by a more serious; coffee intoxication. This is when over or around 500-600mg of caffeine is consumed per day consistently which causes in some cases, severe symptoms. These symptoms include heart racing, sleeplessness, restlessness, nausea and shaking. It is self explanatory – your body is receiving too much caffeine which becomes harder to process.
So what does caffeine do to the body?
- Caffeine causes activation of numerous neural circuits which causes the pituitary gland to secrete hormones that in turn cause the adrenal glands to produce more adrenalin. So in short, caffeine boosts adrenaline levels, which is similar to the way stress works in our body. Symptoms of this include a pounding heart sweat and jitters.
- Caffeine inhibits the hormone adenosine which is a regulatory hormone ( CNS neuromodulator). Adenosine facilitates sleep and dilates the blood vessels, probably to ensure good oxygenation during sleep. So if you’re feeling like you cant sleep – there is the answer.
- Caffeine increases the production of dopamine in the brain’s pleasure circuits, which can be linked to dependency on this drug(hence why people say caffeine is addictive), which is consumed daily by 90% of all adults in the U.S. Dopamine is also the same neurotransmitter than is linked with schizophrenia.
So the important questions are: Why do I feel shaky from coffee and how can I get rid of it? Why do I feel jittery from coffee and how can I get rid of the jitters? Why do I feel nauseous from coffee and how do I get rid of it?
I asked my best friend the same question. She always drinks coffee so I asked her to think about it carefully. I asked her to think about the last time she felt jittery and what she did to combat it. She simply said – ride I out. ‘ I’ve never really known what to do when I have them. I just ride it out I suppose. There is no way to get rid of them though right?’.
I thought exactly the same. I would normally go to bed or lie down at least that would relax me. But heres what I found out.
The best ways to get rid of those unwanted after effects of coffee:
- Exercise.I thought exercise was the last thing you should when your heart feels like its beating a million miles an hour but it turns out exercise one of the best ways you can get rid of the coffee shakes or jitters. Adrenaline is released by caffeine which puts your body into fight or flight mode – so you are ready to move that body! Its physiological guys – your body is pumped and it needs to be moving to be able to use that adrenaline up. If you’re sat down waiting for it to go its not going to work, your adrenaline is still pumping through your veins. In short, exercise helps metabolize caffeine.
- Eat bananas. Although, there has been no link proven between increased levels of Potassium and the metabolization of caffeine – vitamins and minerals are recommended when suffering from the caffeine jitters( which can be provided by bananas). Caffeine inhibits the absorption of vits and mins. There is also lots of water in fruit and veg so it keeps you hydrated.
- Eat a healthy snack. Caffeine is an appetite depressant ( thats why we love it so much right?). You may just have the jitters or feel sick after coffee because your body needs food but your mind is going in the opposite direction. A healthy snack will provide your body with the necessary vits and mins it needs too.
- Water. Although water doesn’t speed up the livers breakdown of caffeine but it keeps you hydrated.
- Relax. There is nothing more un-comforting than heart racing, sweating, shaking and feeling sick. Its not going to help by panicking about it – if anything, reacting negatively to these kind of symptoms will make them worse. This doesn’t have to be based on science it is just based on common sense!
- Breathing exercises. Breathing exercises will help lower your heart rate and thus put you in a more relaxed position. These really really work when you’re feeling a bit stressed or anxious!
- Herbal tea. Herbal tea is full of body nourishing vitamins. Its relaxing and calming, its tasty and its hydrating.
- Foods high in Vitamin C. Eat foods high in vitamin C because again, it will restore the minerals that caffeine inhibits.
- Other Drinks. You may be consuming more caffeine than you think. Maybe you have had a coke or an energy drink a few hours after your morning coffee. The recommended dose of daily caffeine is between 300-400mg which is about 2-3 cups a day. If you’re drinking other drinks ladened with caffeine its going to have a more profound affect on your body.
So, here we have it. I hope these answers will you provide you with some valuable ways on how to rid your body of those horrible coffee jitters.
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