Does Caffeine Constrict Or Dilate Blood Vessels?
In general, caffeine restricts blood flow. But how much caffeine will constrict blood flow, depends on how much caffeine you usually consume. But not in the way you will probably expect.
How Much Does Caffeine Reduce Blood Flow For Light Caffeine Users?
Low caffeine users are people that consume roughly 45mg a day –or about ½ a cup of coffee day. If you fall into this group, you should expect caffeine to constrict your blood flow by about 27%.
How Much Does Caffeine Reduce Blood Flow For Moderate Caffeine Users?
Moderate caffeine users are people that consume about 400mg a day – that is roughly 3-4 cups of coffee – or the full limit the FDA recommends as safe caffeine consumption.
If you fall into this group, you should expect caffeine to provide maximum blood constriction. But what happens for those that are high caffeine users is really surprising…
How Much Does Caffeine Reduce Blood Flow For High Caffeine Users?
High caffeine users are people that consume about 900mg a day – that is roughly 7 or so cups of coffee – or over twice the FDA recommends as safe caffeine consumption.
Ironically, If you fall into this group, you should expect caffeine to provide blood constriction that falls between low and moderate users.
It seems to be a level of tolerance. These people consume so much caffeine they have build up a tolerance for it and it no longer works like it does in people that regularly consume less.
But maybe that is not so surprising.
Why Does Caffeine Decrease Blood Flow Less When You Are Drinking More Caffeine?
If you regularly drink coffee, you have probably seen your consumption gradually increase over time.
You probably started with one coffee in the morning.
Then moved to another mid-morning or early afternoon.
Then a 3rd cup got added to the daily schedule.
Because you needed more to feel the same.
In fact, the average American drinks 3 cups a coffee every day. Every. Single. Day.
They can’t skip a day or they will suffer from caffeine withdrawal symptoms like:
- Difficulty Concentrating (Brain Fog)
- Muscle Pain
- Even Flu-Like Symptoms In Extreme Cases
When you consume more and more caffeine your body builds up a tolerance over time that keeps requiring ever increasing levels.
That appears to be the case for blood flow constriction as well.
It actually proves that your coffee is getting less effective over time because your body is so used to it.
Why Is Coffee Bad For Circulation?
When considering if your brain and eyes are fully functioning, blood flow is important. Blood flow is the mechanism that gets oxygen to your brain.
Have a brain starved of oxygen is never a good thing.
Tissues related to the eye’s optic nerve also require a constant and adequate supply of blood.
Over time, age related issues will lower blood flow naturally. Caffeine seems to accelerate this natural restriction of blood flow creating a brain with lower blood flows and less oxygen. And your eyes are not getting the nutrients they need to be healthy.
Never a good thing.
Alternatives For Better Blood Flow
Low-caffeine alternatives, like decaf, do not appear to significantly restrict blood flow and can provide a better alternative to fully caffeinated coffee.
In fact, some studies have gone so far as to recommend any patients with eye issues not consume more than 180mg of caffeine – while decaf was considered ok.
So moderation is definitely the key component between caffeine and blood flow restriction and optimal health.
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