Caffeine is one of the most popular and widely consumed psychostimulant substances. The main source of caffeine is coffee, which has spread throughout the world thanks to its taste and both stimulant and antioxidant properties. However, it can also produce unwanted effects that depend on various factors such as age, sex, our state of health and genetics.
Caffeine and anxiety
Caffeine is a substance found naturally in the leaves, seeds and fruits of more than 60 plants such as tea leaves, kola nuts, and coffee and cocoa beans. It can also be synthesised artificially and added to food products and certain medicines.
At low doses, caffeine produces mild euphoria, alertness and enhanced cognitive performance. At high doses, however, it can cause nausea, anxiety, jitteriness and nervousness.
When a person consumes caffeine on a regular basis, they are generally tolerant to the effects produced by caffeine. However, some people are more sensitive to the anxiety produced by caffeine or suffer from insomnia when caffeine is consumed, and therefore take less caffeine or avoid caffeine.
Caffeine can be used for short-term relief of fatigue or drowsiness, but not everyone responds equally, nor is everyone as tolerant of its adverse effects. The variability in caffeine consumption between individuals may be explained, in part, by genetic factors that influence caffeine metabolism or affect other physiological processes related to the effect of caffeine, such as sensitivity to anxiety.
Find out more about how your genetics influence your well-being in the Wellness section.
Childs E., Hohoff C., et al. Association between ADORA2A and DRD2 polymorphisms and caffeine-induced anxiety. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Nov;33(12):2791-800.