Anxious Mind - How Caffeine Effects Racing Thoughts
Caffeine is NOT bad in itself. It has been shown through research to have many positive effects to the body:
- Increased mental focus
- Major antioxidant to help with cellular repair
- Helps with strength, stamina, endurance
- Research has shown it helps reduce symptoms of: Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, Gout, Cirrhosis, and Heart Problems.
However, there are studies that show it can contribute to certain types of cancers, heart disease, heart palpitations, anxiety, mental confusion, feelings of overwhelming RACING THOUGHTS.
Many who read this will side with either side-the benefits or detriments. Which side is right? Should I drink caffeine or no?
Here is one basic rule to why you may feel great or horrible when you drink your morning coffee or tea. It is called the NAT1 Gene(N-Acetyl Transferase).
A defect or variant within this gene can keep a person from breaking down caffeine properly within the liver. If it is not broken down, then caffeine will build up and create anxiousness and racing thoughts. Those who have no defect in this gene will process caffeine fully and get all the great benefits.
Additionally, there are times when patients come in and say they have days they can drink coffee or tea, and some days they can’t. Why? Their liver has more capacity to break down caffeine certain days if there is not too many toxins or metabolites to break down that day.
For example, when i was facing Lyme infection, I could hardly drink any coffee, it made my symptoms worse. My body was busy fighting and detoxifying the infection, and it had little room to process additional caffeine. Now that the Lyme is gone, I can drink coffee and matcha.
What helped...Methylation or proper support of the liver to breakdown toxins and metabolites. These are nutrients which support NAT1 gene to help the body break down caffeine:
- N-Acetyl Cysteine aka NAC
- Herbals: Schisandra, Neem, Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Triphala
- B-Complex, B12 (adenosyl, hydroxy, and methylcobalamine).
Please remember these have helped patients in my office, but everyone is unique. Getting a genetic test and info www.MTHFRSupport.com or www.maxgen.com are great information tools to find out more about this gene. Then you can take your info to a healthcare professional that specializes in functional medicine and ask them if they can help advise you which nutrients will support this gene. Once the gene’s expression is covered, and the body breaks down caffeine with the nutrients, you can break down caffeine.
Enjoy that cup in the morning, and no more jitters or anxiety!
Illustration by @lindsayblaze