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Caffeine Pills

Do caffeine pills really work and are they dangerous?

When you consider that pretty much every soft drink on the market has caffeine; that coffee shops can be found in nearly every neighborhood in America, and chocolate is the number one selling candy in the world you might just find yourself asking this question: Who exactly is taking caffeine pills and why are they taking them?
To which you might also want to add these questions: Do they really do any good and is there any real danger in taking them?

First off, we’ll look at who is taking caffeine pills. The answer, as you might expect, includes college students and shift workers who need to be alert through the night. Most college students could probably get by without the need for energy boosting medication if they would just get their schoolwork done before partying, but, well, priorities are priorities, after all. Seriously, though, many students are carrying heavy class loads along with jobs to help them pay for their education. Those all-night cram sessions and last-minute research papers can be very tiring, so it’s probably not surprising they turn to caffeine. Better caffeine than other amphetamines. And those working graveyard shifts and other long hours use pills to keep them going.

So why get caffeine in pill form instead of drinking some coffee or a soda? That’s a more difficult question and the answer can vary. When it comes to late shift workers, often they don’t have access to beverages except during breaks. For college students working desperately to beat a deadline, even that few minute it takes to make a cup of coffee or go down the hall to the vending machine may be too much of a risk. Far more likely as an explanation for the popularity of caffeine pills is that they are easily accessible, relatively cheap and don’t require brewing time or refrigeration. It is also possible that users of caffeine tablets think they work faster and stronger than caffeine diffused in liquid. There is no evidence to support that belief, however.

Do caffeine pills work? It depends on what you mean. One tablet of a typical caffeine pill is usually the equivalent of anywhere from one to 4 cups of coffee to 6 cups of coffee. If four cups of coffee gives you trouble sleeping, then you would probably benefit if you need to stay up and get something done. On the other hand, if four cups of coffee and they don‘t you, then the pills will probably go in and out of your system hardly even noticed. Yes, they do work. But no more so than their beverage-based equivalent (soda, or the all mighty energy drink).

Are they bad for you? Yes, but only if you overdo it; just as drinking a pot of coffee or a six pack of 20oz soda could be bad for you (you’d be crazy for doing it) . Among the side effects you could possibly experience are nervousness, anxiety, or restlessness; stomach cramps, increased heart rate, or chest pain; headache, light headed, or even seizures.

There is one medical problem specific to caffeine pills that aren’t normally a problem with caffeine consumption through other means. Caffeine overdose can be fatal, but in order for that to happen by drinking coffee, a person would literally have to drink over 150 cups within a short period of time. While that is technically feasible, it’s almost impossible to actually do. On the other hand, swallowing the equivalent amount in pill form is very possible and has, unfortunately, has been done.

Caffeine is not a good substitute for sleep, no matter what form it comes in. While using caffeine pills to grant you a few extra hours of alertness is certainly not a major problem, depending on these pills for energy can be. Like any other drug, caffeine’s positive effects work best when used in moderation. The temptation with caffeine pills is to pop them at the first sign of tiredness. That route will only lead to an increased need. An you might over do it.

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  1. Another reason for caffine in pill form,I HATE the taste of coffe,but I really need the boost. I get up between 4 and 4;30 AM.I take half a tablet with water,watch a little news while it kicks in and I’m good to go.
    And yep, there really is news on at 4;30 in the morning!

  2. I second Sharon above–I cannot get myself to like coffee, and the coffee drinks I do like cost a ton at coffee shops and are full of sugar, as is iced tea. The alternative is diet soda, but I’d rather not ingest a bunch of artificial sweetener. Cheers.

  3. I started using caffeine pills at 18, when i got a nightjob. I used to hate the taste of coffee. Now at 32 with a dayjob, i find i still need the caffeine pills, but i drink very strong brewed coffee. Oh, and i add a couple spoonfuls of instant to my the brewed. God help me, I’m a caffeine junkie!

  4. I do not like the taste of coffee so I take caffeine pills. I had been taking 2 pills/day for several years (400mg). I didn’t think much about this, until I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). I have low blood pressure and am non-diabetic, do not drink or smoke — all the leading causes of CKD. I also have no family history of kidney disease, so the nephrologist feels that the extended use of caffeine pills has permanently damaged my kidneys. I have decreased my use down to 1/4 tablet a day (50mg). Certainly if I had any idea that caffeine pills could be so damaging, I’d have stopped taking them long ago.

  5. Re: Joan

    There’s absolutely no way that 400mg of caffeine a day for years has caused CKD. That’s about two large (i.e. venti) cups of coffee/ 24 hours. If everyone who consumed that much caffeine had CKD, it’d be the leading killer of adults in America.

    I find the only real downside to caffeine pills is that the placebo effect is much lower than with coffee. But on the other hand, you don’t have to go to the bathroom every hour.

  6. People keep saying that “one caffeine pill (200mg) is the same as x” but, despite the fact I have drank a lot of coffee in my life, I get an extremely strong kick from a caffeine pill, and even if I have an extremely strong large cup of coffee it doesn’t even compare to the effects of just one pill. I get a weird stomach (doesn’t happen when I drink coffee, no matter how much – within reason), and it can really interfere with my sleep if I take it too close to my sleep (something that has never happened with coffee that it has to the great extent with caffeine pills).

  7. I wish our bodies were like light switches. Turn them on when you need to stay awake, and turn them off when you need to sleep.
    If god really does listen to our prayers, i surely hope he likes reading forums aswell. lol.

  8. Caffeine pills are good for avoiding the rotting teeth and bad breath … and the sugar.

  9. I’m a 33 year old mom of 3, and I have had to take caffeine for years just to function, because I have extremely low blood pressure. My consistent average is in the 90s over the high 50s/low 60s. Other than that, I’m in great health, so, on my doctor’s advice, I started taking just a little caffeine (25 mg or 1/2 of a 50 mg pill,) each morning, and that works wonders for me. Some days I take the other 1/2 of the pill in the afternoon, but try not to make it a habit. Just that little bit of caffeine makes an amazing difference. I also hate the sugar, etc. that is in caffeinated beverages & I find that I am less light headed when I exercise if that little bit of caffeine is in me to boost my blood pressure.

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  1. From raspberry Ketone Max on May 20, 2014
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