Alkaloids

 

1.     Secondary compound: not directly related to a plantís survival or metabolism, as are the primary compounds like sugars, proteins, nucleic acids, etc.

2.     Mainly produced by plants

3.     Nitrogenous

4.     Usually alkaline (basic)

5.     Bitter tasting

6.     Has a pronounced effect on the physiology of the central nervous system

 

Caffeine

 

1.       Belongs to a class of chemicals or secondary compounds called alkaloids.

a.       mainly produced by plants

b.       nitrogenous compounds

c.       usually alkaline (basic) and bitter tasting

d.       have a pronounced effect on the physiology of the central nervous system.

e.       called secondary compounds (or plant products) because they are not directly related to a plantís survival or metabolism, as are the primary compounds, such as sugars, proteins, nucleic acids, etc.

 

2.       Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system.

a.       it is known to speed the heart beat, increase blood pressure, stimulate respiration, and constrict blood vessels.

            1.because many headaches are caused by dilated blood vessels, caffeine may alleviate headaches by constricting the blood vessels.

2.       it is therefore found in many over-the-counter and prescription drugs; it enhances the pain-relieving (analgesic) effects of aspirin

3.       combined with ergotamine in several drugs, caffeine is used for early preventive treatment of migraine.

b.       caffeine has long been used to alleviate drowsiness and fatigue, promoting alertness and endurance.

c.       caffeine also improves  short-term athletic performance by drawing on fat reserves for energy and by increasing motor skills of conditioned reflexes.

d.       caffeine acts as an appetite suppressant and is included in many diet pills for this reason.

e.       caffeine acts as a mild diuretic

 

3.       Caffeine and negative effects

a.       caffeine may cause insomnia in some people.

b.       it may cause nervousness, irritability, and rapid heartbeat.

       c.     there may be a link between caffeine and birth defects (pregnant women shd restrict their intake of caffeine)

       d.      there may be  a link between caffeine and infertility in women

       e.      caffeine is addictive and may cause withdrawal symptoms

 

4.     Caffeine is found in many soft drinks, also

a.            as such, there is concern about caffeine consumption of children who drink large quantities of soft drinks. Two cans of many soft drinks contain the equivalent amount of caffeine found in a cup of coffee.

5.     Over 2 million lbs. of caffeine is produced from the decaffeination of tea and coffee each year in the U.S.  Another 2 million lbs. are imported each year. About three-fourths of this caffeine is used as an additive in soft drinks; the rest is added to headache and cold medicines.