Participants: Margot Marshall (Host), Dr. Eddie Ramirez
Series Code: HL
Program Code: HL000017A
00:14 Welcome to "Healthy Living!"
00:16 I'm your host Margot Marshall.
00:18 Today we are talking about caffeine.
00:21 Does it really help with alertness?
00:23 You might be surprised!
00:26 Are there major problems associated with its consumption?
00:29 And, are there therapies to deal with withdrawal?
00:33 Stay tuned for the answers.
01:12 Caffeine's claim to fame is its purported ability
01:15 to increase alertness.
01:17 Some people say they need caffeine
01:19 just to function properly.
01:21 Let's see what my guest, Dr. Eddie Ramirez,
01:24 has to say about that.
01:26 Welcome Eddie! Thank you.
01:28 And what do you have to say about the claim of
01:31 caffeine actually increasing alertness,
01:34 is that a good claim?
01:35 You know, there was a very good, well-designed study
01:38 from "Bristol University" in the United Kingdom,
01:42 in which they had almost 400 participants and what they did,
01:47 they started to measure their levels of alertness and the
01:53 different effects that caffeine was having in them,
01:57 and what they found was shocking!
01:58 They found out that these people actually created
02:04 a tolerance to the effects of caffeine.
02:07 So the researchers reported in the research paper
02:11 that caffeine drinkers, they're drinking the caffeine
02:16 not because it makes them alert, but because it makes them
02:21 feel normal.
02:23 See, as the effects of the caffeine withdrawal during
02:28 the day, you can see here on the screen how the people
02:34 that were feeling normal - that were not drinking caffeine
02:39 continued to feel normal the whole day.
02:42 The caffeine drinker at the beginning that you see on
02:44 the left side of your graphic, you see that they did not feel
02:49 good and not until they drank coffee they felt alert
02:53 and "normal."
02:56 So this study teaches us that you don't need to
03:01 drink caffeine to feel alert.
03:04 And this is another interesting point - the researchers
03:07 in the publication reported that the withdrawal symptoms
03:12 of caffeine were similar to having chemotherapy
03:17 in your body. That sounds terrible!
03:21 So the reason why you are drinking coffee and you think,
03:25 "Well, I need it for the morning," you know
03:29 unconsciously that if you don't drink that coffee,
03:32 you're going to have those severe side effects
03:34 inside of you - that's why you drink coffee and not
03:38 because it makes you alert.
03:39 It just makes you feel normal.
03:41 Well if you didn't drink it, you would be normal
03:44 all the time.
03:46 So what you're saying is normal people are normal all the time,
03:51 (That's right) coffee drinkers are only
03:52 at that level of alertness when they drink the coffee
03:57 and they didn't know it but if they didn't
03:59 drink it, they would feel at that high level all day.
04:03 I don't know if that's going to be good news
04:06 to all the people because I think it's fairly
04:08 addictive as well, isn't it?
04:09 Yes, and you know, in the world I move in, in the medical world,
04:15 you go to the hospital and you will see many doctors
04:19 with their cup of coffee. I don't drink coffee.
04:23 And you know, I remember years ago when I was in medical
04:26 school - I was in the inhumane duties of 36 hours continuously
04:32 in the hospital and I can tell you, I would do those
04:36 36 hours without a single drop of coffee.
04:41 I did not need that because I knew the side effects of it,
04:45 And you know, as I tell my patients, I don't want to be
04:51 a hypocrite - if I'm telling you something, it's because
04:54 I'm putting that in my life.
04:57 Where would the conviction come from if I was not doing that.
05:02 When I tell my patient - "You do exercise," it's because
05:05 I do exercise.
05:06 And look, I was very impressed this morning, very early,
05:10 there you were out in the weather and doing your running,
05:13 so that was very good.
05:15 You are a very good example of what you tell us to do.
05:20 And you know, there are many sources today of caffeine.
05:27 Yes, it seems to be just popping up everywhere!
05:30 And many people may not be aware of their intake of the caffeine.
05:34 Yes, I mean things that don't ordinarily or it's just not
05:38 there in the drink to start with - it's actually added.
05:40 Is that to make it an addictive drink?
05:43 Absolutely! Caffeine is one of the most addictive things
05:47 that you can find.
05:49 You can see on the screen some of the common sources
05:51 such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate
05:55 and even some pain relievers may have some caffeine.
06:00 Alright, so soft drinks didn't always - some of them did,
06:04 but some soft drinks didn't always have caffeine,
06:07 did they, or not as much.
06:09 That's right and it also depends.
06:11 Some people think, "Well, only the black ones have caffeine."
06:16 Not necessarily, there are some clear ones that have caffeine.
06:21 So I encourage my patients, "Go ahead and read labels."
06:26 When you read the label, then you will see
06:29 if it has caffeine.
06:30 Another very common source is the famous "energy drinks"
06:36 that they call them.
06:38 See, I have seen even people going to the E.R.
06:42 from drinking these types of drinks.
06:45 They have so much caffeine.
06:47 The E.R. is the emergency department - yes,
06:50 at the hospital.
06:53 So these things are not only bad for their mind,
06:59 but actually can be dangerous literally.
07:03 What else? What other bad effects are there?
07:06 There was a very interesting study done by "Loma Linda
07:10 University" a few years ago.
07:13 What they did - they had a spider and this poor spider
07:18 received a dose-adjusted level of what you would drink
07:24 of two cups of caffeine, of coffee - that amount of
07:29 coffee of course adjusted to the weight of the spider.
07:32 And you know, they put this spider to do its normal
07:36 web - it couldn't do it.
07:37 It just made a mess on that web.
07:40 It took 96 hours for the caffeine to go out of the
07:47 system and then the spider was able to make its proper web.
07:53 Now you may be saying, "Well, but I'm not a spider."
07:57 Yes, I know you're not a spider, but in the same way that
08:01 you have a nervous system, spiders have a nervous system,
08:05 and the way that caffeine interferes with your nervous
08:09 system, it also interferes with the nervous
08:12 system of the spider.
08:14 I'm just trying to do the mental arithmetic - that must be
08:16 around about four days, is that right? That's right!
08:19 To be able to function normally and that's not
08:23 something that I think any of us want to see happen.
08:25 I want to be able to function well, yes!
08:29 And you know, we have something that would be
08:31 equivalent to the brakes.
08:34 When you are talking to somebody and you shouldn't
08:38 be saying something - there's some brakes in your brain
08:41 that says, "Wait, wait, don't say that."
08:43 Well, there is research actually that shows that if
08:48 you have caffeine on board, you have higher risk of
08:54 gossiping - I don't know if you guys have that
08:55 problem here in Australia, of gossiping?
08:57 Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Laughter.
09:00 You're actually at higher risk of gossiping,
09:05 of saying something you should not say or you're not part of
09:09 that solution.
09:11 Wow, so how does that work?
09:14 The reason why that happens is because the brakes
09:19 in your head - when you are under the effects of caffeine,
09:23 you are moving the brakes. Let me ask you...
09:27 Oh, like the brakes in a car.
09:28 Would you get in the car without brakes? Okay.
09:31 Many people - that's the first thing they do as they
09:36 wake up - they take away their brakes!
09:39 You wouldn't drive a car without brakes. No.
09:42 There are many people that remove the brakes
09:45 from their head first thing.
09:47 And something that is confusing to many people
09:50 is that there is research that may show certain benefits
09:55 from caffeine. Okay.
09:57 And you know, you need to be careful - sometimes certain
10:03 research, I do lots of research, and sometimes
10:05 certain research has an agenda.
10:08 And whenever I read a scientific paper,
10:11 I always like to see who is sponsoring this. Yes.
10:16 And you will see that many of these good news about
10:20 caffeine type of studies are sponsored by the
10:26 industries that have links to coffee or soft drinks
10:31 or so forth industries.
10:33 So people like to hear good news about their bad habits!
10:40 That's the reason why something comes up,
10:43 man - you're going to read it in the newspaper; on the internet;
10:46 you're gonna see it on the television.
10:48 Yet I've seen, because I read a lot of research,
10:51 that sometimes another paper came at the same time
10:56 talking about the negative effects of caffeine and
10:59 so forth, you don't hear absolutely anything about it.
11:03 That's really bad, isn't it? Really, really bad!
11:06 I remember, going back some years, it was in the country
11:10 in West Australia living there and I went to Sydney
11:14 for a conference and I thought, "Oh, on the way back I'll just
11:18 I'll get a mammogram," so I booked in on short notice,
11:20 and then I was preparing to do that - they said, "Oh, you're
11:25 not supposed to have had coffee for 48 hours
11:28 before having a mammogram.
11:29 And I said, "Oh not a problem, I haven't had any for 48 years
11:32 cause I was 48 at the time, but I was puzzled about that.
11:37 And so when it was all over, I said, "Look, I'm just curious,
11:40 what's the connection between drinking coffee
11:43 and having a mammogram?"
11:44 And they said, "Oh well, a lot of women experience
11:47 breast pain routinely and when they pull that clamp down
11:55 that could make it a lot worse."
11:56 And so I was just intrigued about that but what they
12:00 said was that a lot of women, when they go off caffeine or
12:04 coffee, whatever it is they're using for the 48 hours,
12:08 the breast pain that they've been having for years
12:10 isn't there anymore.
12:11 My own wife, she used to
12:16 drink a lot of soda pop, the black type,
12:23 with cola and she had this tremendous pain in her breast,
12:30 and not only that, little cysts started to come about.
12:34 She goes to the doctor, the doctor identifies
12:37 some of those cysts and she asked her about her habits,
12:40 this was before we got married, and she said the amount of
12:46 soda that she was drinking, more than 12 cans per week,
12:51 (Okay) the doctor said you have to stop drinking that soda.
12:55 She stopped - the pain went away.
12:59 Who wants to live with pain?
13:00 I mean, that's a good thing to know.
13:03 I hope it's going to be helping some people out there.
13:05 I know when you really love something, it's hard to think
13:08 about not having it but I guess you weigh up.
13:11 So also it affects many systems and people don't realize that.
13:17 For example, the stomach is something that suffers
13:20 very much every time you drink caffeine.
13:23 When you are drinking caffeine, you are actually creating
13:28 problems with some little doors.
13:32 You have some little doors that are called "sphincters"
13:34 in your stomach and those little doors are supposed
13:40 to close when there's food so digestion can take place
13:44 properly, but see when you are drinking caffeine, any source
13:50 of caffeine, those little doors start to malfunction - so they
13:56 may open and when you're doing digestion it's like a little
14:01 washing machine, you know, it moves quite a bit
14:04 the food and so forth.
14:05 So as it's doing that mechanical work, the acid from the
14:10 stomach starts coming up and things like heartburn and
14:15 these types of problems, the person stops drinking
14:20 caffeine and many people get beneficial effects from it.
14:25 Not only the little doors problem but also ulcers.
14:30 We know very well, you are at higher risk of having
14:33 a stomach ulcer if you are a regular caffeine drinker.
14:41 And also the brain - if you want to see this with your
14:45 own eyes, visit my page: dreddieramirez.com
14:50 There, I have a video that shows how just drinking one cup of
14:57 caffeine will decrease your blood flow in 40%
15:02 in your brain. Forty percent?
15:04 Forty percent! This is measured with a functional MRI,
15:10 so you have the before and the after.
15:12 You can go and see it with your own eyes.
15:15 This is a clip from the news.
15:18 And this is not good - see, for the health of your brain,
15:25 you want to have as much blood flow as possible,
15:28 not decrease the blood flow.
15:31 That's a very, very powerful finding.
15:33 I'm just pretty shocked actually because that's almost
15:35 half of the oxygen that's meant to be,
15:37 you know, it's half the blood.
15:39 Absolutely! That's the reason why when you are under the
15:42 effects of caffeine, you may do things maybe a little bit
15:45 faster but you commit the double-errors.
15:49 So especially if you are like a university student,
15:53 high school student, that's the last thing you want
15:56 in your system before your test because why would you
16:00 want to decrease the blood flow to your brain and especially
16:03 the frontal lobe.
16:05 The frontal lobe is when you evaluate if something
16:09 is correct or not correct.
16:11 Here you are on a test asking you a question, multiple
16:15 answers - they're trying to trick you and you don't know
16:19 which one you're going to choose and then you
16:21 decrease the blood flow - it's even worse, you know,
16:25 and you are going to be at high
16:26 risk of choosing the wrong answer.
16:28 And it's not just students and not just people being
16:31 tested, it's just our everyday life - we need to
16:34 have everything going for us to be able to make good
16:36 decisions and function well. That's right!
16:38 Another problem also is with females
16:40 and especially bone health.
16:44 This is something very well published, very well researched.
16:48 We know that when you are drinking caffeine, you are
16:52 actually throwing away the calcium from your bones.
16:56 And you know, here in Australia, osteoporosis is a huge
17:01 problem. Yes, it is.
17:02 And why put more gasoline on the fire - stop it, you know,
17:09 don't damage your bones.
17:12 So when you are drinking coffee, there are even
17:15 studies that show that young girls, when they drink coffee,
17:19 the risk of fracture increases even at a young age.
17:24 Even at the young age - that's really bad because
17:26 normally your bones are strengthening
17:28 while you are young.
17:29 That's exactly what you're supposed to be doing
17:32 before you get to menopause, you want to make sure
17:35 you have the strongest bones possible - very good point!
17:39 Well I just hope this is going down well with our people
17:42 tuning in because there must be some ways that we can
17:47 deal with this or I mean, I guess people get withdrawals
17:50 if they do...
17:51 Let me give you the plan I share with my patients.
17:55 but let me just mention two more things.
17:57 Coffee will also throw away your vitamin B6
18:03 and iron in your body.
18:06 I tell them that this is the contradictory drug.
18:10 I have people that come for consultations and they ask
18:13 me - "Doctor can I get a supplement of vitamin B6?
18:16 Can I get some iron? Can I get some calcium?"
18:20 And then I ask them, "Do you drink coffee?" "Well, yes."
18:23 Here they are drinking something they are going to throw away.
18:28 There is no need for this to happen.
18:33 So what strategy are we going to use to conquer
18:37 the problem of caffeine?
18:39 Well what do you tell your patients?
18:41 Well, #1 I tell them that they would benefit from some
18:45 simple hydrotherapy and hydrotherapy is
18:49 the use of water in a wise way.
18:53 So what I want you to do if you want to conquer
18:57 caffeine usage, you make sure that you are starting
19:01 your day with a nice hot shower, 3 minutes, followed by
19:07 1 minute cold.
19:11 Three minutes hot, 1 minute cold and you're going to
19:15 do this two or three times.
19:16 How cold are we talking about?
19:18 The younger you are, the higher the contrast.
19:22 So please use common sense, if you are a little bit more
19:26 advanced in age, that contrast shouldn't be that much.
19:31 What you're doing with this, I call this
19:33 "the vegetarian coffee!" It will wake you up!
19:37 You don't need a coffee to make yourself alert!
19:42 So instead of grabbing your coffee, you start your day
19:46 with this tip - that hot shower followed by cold.
19:50 If you're having some troubles with nervousness and so forth,
19:56 I'm going to give you two strategies.
19:58 You can see them on the screen.
19:59 You can go into a neutral temperature bathtub.
20:03 It's not hot, it's not cold, it's about the temperature
20:07 of your body that relaxes the nerves or #2.
20:12 You want to put some ice in the back of your head
20:17 and that actually helps relieve many of the
20:20 headache problems, okay? Okay.
20:23 So, hydrotherapy.
20:25 #2. What you can do is you can eat a good, healthy
20:32 Many people eat too much in the evening, and you know,
20:37 the stomach is tired - it's been working the whole night,
20:44 so the morning comes and it says, "You know, forget it,
20:47 no more food." So you're not hungry
20:50 because your stomach has been working hard the whole night.
20:55 This is a big problem is a big problem in Australia.
20:58 A lot of people skip breakfast, children skip breakfast,
21:01 many, many people and, of course, then what happens
21:03 is as the day wears into the midmorning,
21:06 they're hungry and they eat, but it's not usually
21:10 something that you would eat at a meal. That's right!
21:13 You might talk about what it is, it's not healthy.
21:15 It's as if you're starting to drive
21:17 towards Brisbane, what do you do?
21:18 The first thing you do, you fill in the gasoline tank,
21:21 then you go with the proper amount of petrol.
21:25 But, you're starting the day, why not put some good high
21:30 octane type of quality of food.
21:33 So a good plant-based diet with whole grains, maybe some
21:41 legumes and something that tastes good that fills you up.
21:47 It should be the biggest meal of the day.
21:50 Do you know, whenever I ask groups and say,
21:52 "What's the most important meal of the day?"
21:54 and you get a chorus, "Breakfast!" They know!
21:57 Everybody knows, but I don't know the figure, but it could be
22:02 somewhere around a third of Australians, somewhere
22:04 there, I think, who don't actually eat it.
22:07 We KNOW, but we don't do it, and you just really
22:10 put your finger on why that is because of that BIG
22:14 evening meal and your poor stomach, by morning,
22:17 it's feeling like "It's my turn for a rest, you know,
22:19 I've been working all night while you've been sleeping,"
22:21 and so that's where you have to start, is it?
22:24 And it's not only a bad habit,
22:26 it's actually bad for your health.
22:29 You actually can end up with something like reflux
22:34 in your stomach every night because as you lay down
22:37 with the stomach full, when you lay down,
22:39 you push the upper door that I was mentioning,
22:42 the acid comes up, it burns there and you can
22:45 actually get yourself a cancer in the esophagus
22:50 if you burn night after night, after night that.
22:54 So what you need to do is 3 hours before going to bed,
22:59 should be your last meal.
23:01 Another point, avoid tobacco!
23:06 You can even see it in their name - -
23:08 "caf-fe-ine, ni-co-tine," they are actually
23:12 close cousins those two substances,
23:16 and one calls for the other one.
23:20 So, if you are drinking coffee,
23:26 you may be calling for that nicotine.
23:28 So what I recommend to my patients is - let's tackle
23:31 both at the same time.
23:33 So both of them, they need to go away.
23:37 There's a program that has been offered here in Australia,
23:43 "Breathe Freely," it's called. Yes.
23:45 Yes, I've seen some of that. Excellent! Excellent!
23:48 It's an excellent program.
23:49 I would recommend it to anybody that wants to quit smoking.
23:53 Just Google where in your close location is that
23:58 program being offered.
23:59 And also, make sure that you are drinking enough water!
24:04 This is a huge problem, we could just talk about
24:07 this for a long time.
24:09 But let me tell you this, when a patient comes to the
24:13 hospital, we have to measure their liquids and so forth,
24:22 and nurses do some mathematics to make sure
24:25 that the patient is having enough liquids
24:27 in them and so forth.
24:29 And I can tell you, many people don't have
24:34 enough liquids on board.
24:37 They drink all kinds of things except water!
24:39 So when you are going to start doing higher water intake,
24:44 the water is going to help cleanse the system.
24:47 How do you know you have enough water on board?
24:49 Watch your urine - it needs to be clear and without smell.
24:54 Oh yes and it's interesting, I think caffeine,
24:58 coffee and so on, they actually dehydrate,
25:00 don't they? Absolutely!
25:01 You take away more water than what you put.
25:05 So some people say, "Well okay, you're taking away my coffee,
25:08 what am I gonna do?"
25:09 Well, why don't you switch that
25:12 for a herbal tea without caffeine.
25:17 We don't have the time but there are some major issues
25:21 both with black tea and green tea.
25:25 I know this is an inheritance that the British gave you here.
25:29 It is tradition and so forth, but the caffeine content
25:34 is not good for you.
25:36 The green tea, I've seen that with my own eyes in Africa.
25:42 Before you harvest green tea, you hit the plant with a stick.
25:46 The reason why you do that is you want to make the plant
25:49 "angry" - it releases all kinds of toxic substances
25:53 and then you harvest.
25:55 See, if you hit that plant and you bring a goat,
25:58 the goat wouldn't eat that plant because when it tastes
26:01 it, he says, "This is bad, I don't want this."
26:02 Yet what do we do as humans?
26:04 We pick it up and make a tea out of it.
26:08 Do not do that! You are consuming very toxic substances.
26:13 Yes, there are a few antioxidants there, but that
26:16 does not justify the negative affects that people have.
26:20 They talk about goats being silly, that seems like
26:23 in that case, we're sillier than the goat. That's right!
26:27 The next thing I want you to do, I want you to do exercise.
26:31 See, substitute the coffee habit with a good morning walk!
26:38 That morning, invigorating walk will help you start the day
26:44 on with the right leg.
26:48 And when you are doing your exercise, I want you to be
26:53 thankful; I want you to think of positive things;
26:56 I want you to start the day in the proper way,
27:01 and it will give you that energy, it will open your
27:04 appetite so you can come home and eat your good breakfast,
27:07 then you go to the activity of the day.
27:10 Yes, all that sounds like a really good lineup
27:13 of things to do and that's been really very helpful.
27:16 One last one - I want to give you a Bible promise!
27:21 And that Bible promise is found in Jeremiah 32:27.
27:27 It says - "I am the God of all flesh, is there anything
27:32 too hard for Me?"
27:34 For God, there are no impossibles.
27:37 That's beautiful and it's really important I think.
27:41 Whenever - I mean change is really a challenging thing.
27:44 And it's very useful to tap into spiritual resources when we're
27:47 going to make any changes.
27:49 There are two laws of change; one is "change is inevitable,"
27:53 and "change will be resisted." That's right!
27:56 So I don't know how people out there are feeling about
27:58 what we've been hearing.
27:59 Certainly you've given us a lot of good reasons
28:02 to avoid caffeine.
28:04 You've given us a lot of good strategies
28:06 on how to deal with that and the side effects.
28:11 So I hope that's been very helpful for you and you can
28:15 watch our programs on demand if you want to visit our website at
28:22 and just click on the watch button.
28:24 We hope you'll join us next time
28:26 as we discuss more secrets of healthy living.