Does coffee actually increase alertness?
The answer is yes and no. More importantly the answer is no, if you are a regular coffee drinker; you just don’t get an increase in alertness from the morning cup of coffee. In fact, researchers at Bristol university found that the morning cup of coffee just brings your alertness level back to normal after coffee withdrawal. So even if you feel more alert after your cup of coffee, you’re actually not because youve adapted to the effects of drinking coffee on a regular basis.
A study in England took 397 people and divided them into two groups. On group of regular coffee drinkers(1 to 6 cups daily)and one group of casual coffee drinkers. They were all told to abstain from coffee for 16 hours before testing their alertness in the study. The regular coffee drinkers group each received a caffeine free espresso shot(placebo) and the other half each received a 100mg shot of espresso. They tested alertness afterwards and found that there was no difference in the two groups! Meaning the real deal 100mg espresso shot didn’t shoot up alertness levels compared to caffeine free espresso in regular coffee drinkers. On the other hand, the regular coffee drinking group that received the caffeine free espresso shot did report headaches and more fatigue. Which is not surprising since they didn’t get the caffeine their body was craving……instead they got caffeine withdrawal.
So are you consuming coffee to increase your alertness and start your day off on the the right note? Think twice about your morning cup of coffee. Why are you really consuming it? If its to be more productive and get more things done during the day then it may not be your best choice for improved energy and alertness. It’s likely you want your next cup of coffee because you want it to remove your withdrawal symptoms. But it could be the taste and aroma as well.
Dr. Dhillon, ND