Coffee often gets demonised by mainstream media and health bloggers, however, it also has many offers many benefits. In fact, 2 cups of coffee per day (24oz) is associated with a reduced risk of cancer and all-cause mortality. Despite these health benefits, the dose makes the poison. Large quantities of caffeine increase cortisol levels and symptoms of anxiety. This effect is more pronounced in certain individuals, due to our unique genetics (in Naturopathy we see each person as an individual and adjust treatment protocols accordingly).
Studies show that caffeine increases alertness by blocking a brain chemical (adenosine) that makes you feel tired, whilst concurrently triggering the release of adrenalin, which helps increase energy. However, adrenalin also turns on our flight and fight response which can be especially problematic for people that experience anxiety, particularly social anxiety or panic disorder. Caffeine consumption can increase heart rate, cause restlessness or nervousness, impair sleep and cause gastrointestinal dysfunction.