It’s been widely speculated that caffeine may have an inverse effect on chronic stress, and a new study may have finally figured out why.
A group of scientists from Brazil and Portugal and the U.S. set out to further understand the effects caffeine has on cognitive function and how those effects correlate to stress-induced situations.
The scientists used mice to conduct their study. For three weeks, one group of mice was given caffeine in their drinking water, while the other group was given regular water.
After the three weeks elapsed, the groups of mice were exposed to a series of stressful situations. The scientists observed the mice as they dealt with environments like damp bedding, shared living space, deprivation of food and water, cold baths, and tilted cages at 45-degree angles.
The results were conclusive. The mice who did not receive caffeine in their drinking water showed stress-induced changes in their brains and behavior. The mice who drank caffeine did not and remained stress-free.
The scientists explain that there is a good chance that the results involved the caffeine blocking certain adenosine receptors from causing a stress response, meaning that the caffeine operated as mental blocker against stress signals, similar to the way acetaminophen blocks pain receptors.
For a long time, scientists have suspected that caffeine boosts mood, and several studies have already found a link between caffeine and reduced levels of depression.
Due to the fact that this study was conducted on mice and not humans, it is difficult to say definitively that caffeine can minimize or eliminate stress.
However, the results were impressive enough to, at the very least, add to the growing collection of evidence suggesting that caffeine is a beneficial asset for cognitive function.