Over 85% of Americans (and I would guess this percentage is quite consistent in most western-world countries such as Australia) use significant amounts of caffeine on a daily basis, but very few know much about this freely available psychoactive substance. Yet there is a complex, confusing and apparently contradictory array of claims about its effects on human health.
The British Medical Journal stated in an editorial in 1976:
“What is it in man’s devious make-up that makes him round on the seemingly more wholesome and pleasurable aspects of his environment and suspect them of being causes of his misfortunes? Whatever it is, stimulants of all kinds (and especially coffee and caffeine) maintain a high position on the list of suspicion, despite a continuing lack of real evidence of any hazard to health”
Siegried Heyden in his “Coffee and Cardiovascular Disease” said:
“Coffee and caffeine have long been supected of causing illnesses ranging from myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, herpertension, hyperlipidemia, gout, and anxiety, to fybrocystic breast disease, various cancers and birth defects, and osteoporosis. No other agent in the human environment has been as frequently associated with such a variety of chronic-degenerative, even malignant diseases”.
Yet despite numerous disturbing claims of this mood-altering drug’s effects on the body, caffeine shows no sign of surrendering its sovereign position in the hierarchy of humanity’s drugs of choice.