time for tea how caffeine consumption affects our immune system

Time for tea? How caffeine consumption affects our immune system

tea instead of coffee

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be overdosing on caffeine.

The reality is you do not have a caffeine deficiency. Rather, you may have an energy deficiency in light of lifestyle habits including too much caffeine. While excess caffeine can tax our adrenal system and stress our body, a cup or two is shown to have some benefit on our immune system.

Some of the ways caffeine can aid our immune system:

  • Drinking filtered coffee is associated with lower levels of circulating inflammatory markers.
  • Polyphenol antioxidants in coffee can help prevent some cancers, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurological diseases.
  • Ethylamine is a metabolic byproduct of L-theanine, a substance in black tea. Ethylamine primes the response of specific T cells, which aid the body’s defense against infection.

These effects occur when caffeine is consumed in moderation. Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine (roughly 3 – 4 cups (250ml) of brewed coffee) is recognized as a safe or moderate amount for most healthy adults. Adolescents should have no more than 100mg of caffeine a day.

Caffeine affects everyone differently

It is important to note that caffeine can have varied effects depending on the consumer. Some factors that impact an individual’s response to caffeine include frequency of consumption, body mass, age, medication use and mental health. If you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine, any amount of caffeine may have unpleasant effects.

Too much caffeine can be bad

Contrary to the above benefits, too much caffeine can decrease the ability of our immune system to fight infections as well as remove damaged or abnormal cells. Studies also show women and men who drink large amounts of caffeine release higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in response to physical and mental stress. The cortisol triggers the release of sugar and fat from your body’s stores in order to physically exert yourself in times of stress. Health concerns associated with this stress response include high blood sugar, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and suppression of your immune system. Consuming high doses of caffeine can also induce or worsen panic attacks, anxiety, restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, stomach upset, tachycardia, irritability and addiction.

If you think you exceed the ideal amount of caffeine to experience the above benefits, consider the following steps to energize naturally:

  1. Drink a tall glass of water upon rising & between meals
  2. Stretch, walk, climb the stairs
  3. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon or evening
  4. Shorten the brew time or try herbal tea
  5. Rest when possible

Looking to have even more energy, mood stability, optimal immune system and adrenal health?

Try weaning down your caffeine intake slowly and eventually remove caffeine from your daily routine for at least a week. After the first few days, you will most likely experience a more stable mood and consistent energy levels. Thereafter, sit and enjoy your morning cup as a special treat rather than a continuous lifeline.

Are you interested in learning more dietitian-approved tips? Check out Copeman’s definitive guide to