Do you regularly suffer from headaches, indigestion or palpitations?

Do you get edgy, irritable and nervous?

Do you ever feel tired and washed out?

Do you have difficulty in getting to sleep at night?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions then there could be a simple explanation. For if, in addition to suffering from any of the symptoms I have listed, you also drink more than three or four cups of coffee and/or tea a day, you could be a caffeine addict.

And the symptoms you are getting could be a result of your addiction.

Caffeine is one of the most powerful stimulants in the world. The largest pharmacology textbook in my library devotes more space to caffeine than it does to cannabis or amphetamine.

Taken regularly or in high doses caffeine will send your blood pressure sky high and make your heart beat fester. Caffeine causes trouble when the daily intake exceeds 250 mg and since a cup of tea contains between 50 and 100 mg of caffeine and a cup of coffee contains between 75 and 150 mg of caffeine just three or four cups a day is all you need to produce symptoms.

But if you are thinking of cutting down do take care. If you cut down too quickly then you could get withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, depression, anxiety and irritability. To avoid these problems cut down slowly either by drinking fewer cups or by taking your tea or coffee weaker. An alternative solution is to try decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea. If you make ‘reap coffee using a cafetiere and pour the coffee after just four minutes, you will reduce your caffeine intake from it.


Heart disease is the biggest killer in all western style countries. And, although not all experts agree, there is plenty of research and expert material available to show that there is a link between caffeine-rich drinks and heart disease.

In a study of 1,130 medical students, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was reported that ‘the relative risks of coronary heart disease for men drinking five or more cups of coffee a day, as compared to non-drinkers, were approx 2.49’.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant affecting the heart and its arteries as well as kidneys, lungs, brain and central nervous system.

Large amounts of coffee can cause a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure. If there is any tendency to extra heart beats or palpitations then the caffeine in coffee can make this worse.

Coffee may trigger odd (ectopic) beats. If you are troubled by odd heart beats it might be better to cut down your coffee intake.

Excessive coffee drinking (5 or 6 cups or more per day) is likely to be associated with a raised level of blood cholesterol.

In a study which involved 1,596 men and women it was shown that there is a significant association between coffee consumption and blood cholesterol levels.

Coffee isn’t just a possible cause of heart symptoms.

Despite its wide availability caffeine (the active substance in the 5 million tonnes of coffee sold annually) is a remarkably powerful stimulant; it stimulates the brain and nervous system, it increases the effect of acid on the stomach and it stimulates the kidneys.

Researchers have claimed that too much caffeine can lead to muscle tremors, insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches, indigestion, palpitations, bowel problems and personality changes.

Numerous scientific research studies have shown that caffeine containing beverages can be dangerous in other ways. After a critical assessment of a large number of experimental and epidemiological studies the International Agency for Research

On Cancer recently concluded that coffee may cause bladder cancer while drinking tea may increase the risk of oesophageal cancer.