Caffeine

Caffeine - John Darcy Dr. Richards BIOL 3110 11/15/05...

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John Darcy Dr. Richards BIOL 3110 11/15/05 Caffeine Caffeine or trimethylxanthine, which is its chemical name, is the world’s most popular drug. This somewhat unnoticed chemical is consumed daily by about ninety percent of Americans (Brian). Found in coffee, it is used to start many people’s day, and it stays present throughout their day in soda, chocolate, and tea among others. Caffeine is a stimulant and provides heightened alertness. It achieves this by infiltrating the central nervous system. However, as a stimulant, caffeine does carry with it a high possibility of addiction. People who feel that they cannot function or concentrate without it are probably addicted to the drug. Caffeine does carry concerns with over consumption. With scientific research spanning more than a century, caffeine is the most study drug in the world. Through studying the chemical makeup of caffeine and its effects on the human body, caffeine’s health risks if any will be made known. Located in tea leaves, caffeine is a residue of coffee decaffeination, and is “produced by methylating the organic compounds theophylline or theobromine, or synthesizing from dimethylurea and malonic acid” (Weinberg 216). The chemical formula of caffeine is C 8 H 10 N 4 O 2 (as seen in the picture to the right) (Wikipedia) . These four elements, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen, are some of the most common elements found on earth. Caffeine sublimes, which is it changes from a solid directly to a gas state, at a temperature 458 o F. It appears as a white fleecy powder and is odorless and slightly bitter. Caffeine has three chemical variations, theophylline, theobromine, and paraxanthine, which are primary products of caffeine
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metabolism in humans. After being consumed caffeine’s molecular structure binds to all the cells in the body blocking adenosine receptors. Adenosine is important in energy transfer, and when it is bound to nerve cells it slows down the nerve cell’s activity usually during sleep. Since the caffeine molecule closely resembles adenosine; caffeine binds to the receptors and blocks the adenosine (Wikipedia). As a stimulant, there has been much research tracing the cycle in which caffeine
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Caffeine - John Darcy Dr. Richards BIOL 3110 11/15/05...

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