The Joys of Coffee

12 Apr

Coffee doesn’t just keep you awake, notes Kris Gunnars on the Popular Science website. It may literally make you smarter as well:

This was sent to me by a friend this week as I enter the tough winter training months.

“The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a stimulant and the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.

Caffeine’s primary mechanism in the brain is blocking the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine.

By blocking the inhibitory effects of adenosine, caffeine actually increases neuronal firing in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.

Many controlled trials have examined the effects of caffeine on the brain, demonstrating that caffeine can improve mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance and general cognitive function.” (Read more here.)

We all know coffee can make us feel sharper and more alert—but it’s interesting to learn about the biochemical basis for those feelings.

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