U.S. National Public Radio published a February 2016 story titled "Caffeine for Sale: The Hidden Trade of the World's Favorite Stimulant" about how caffeine is removed from coffee beans and then where it goes after the decaf coffee is made.
Now there is a huge, worldwide trade in caffeine extracted from coffee beans. It is used in soda, energy drinks, medications and candies that have no natural caffeine content. And people wonder if synthetic caffeine is more dangerous than caffeine from natural sources. Scientists say there is no difference between the two.
Anhydrous caffeine is derived from coffee beans, guarana berries and tea leaves and other natural plant sources. It is prepared in a lab and is reduced to white crystals. Anhydrous caffeine dissolves in water and mixes easily with other substances. But this powder is powerful in minute doses. It is best to allow experts who make approved products, guided by people who know the chemistry and how much to administer in, say, a caffeine pill or mint.
There are many articles and blogs on the World Wide Web touting caffeine as a supplement for enhancing athletic performance and increasing gain from weightlifting and other types of workouts
It seems caffeine may enhance memory and learning, but not if it is taken before the lesson is to be learned. Research from a few years ago says caffeine should be taken after that important business meeting, crucial college lecture or other knowledge-imparting event you need to recall.
Some studies show a benefit from caffeine on memory, some show none. Same with alcohol. But it seems scientists find with few exceptions that good diets promote healthy minds and bodies.
A 2015 study of more than 1.2 million people found that folks who drink 3 to 5 cups of black coffee a day have fewer heart problems than those who drink none. People who drink 5 or more cups don’t have any more problems than anyone else.
Two other studies, meta-analyses that collated data from 11 other research articles, found that drinking 2 to 6 cups a day results in a lower risk of stroke disease. One of those meta-studies included data from more than 500,000 participants.
The writer, Dan Charles, bought a 4-ounce bag of caffeine and said it had as much caffeine as 1,000 tall Starbucks lattes. He said this caffeine was created in coffee beans on a hillside in the tropics. “Slowly and quietly, driven by the energy of sunlight, it formed inside coffee beans hanging on thousands of trees, most likely in Brazil or Vietnam,” Charles wrote.
“Those beans were harvested, loaded on ships bound for the port of Houston, Texas, and ended up at a factory within sight of downtown Houston: Atlantic Coffee Solutions. It’s owned by one of the world’s largest coffee traders, ECOM Agroindustrial Corp., which is based in Switzerland.”
Sages and philosophers from various world traditions have counseled “Everything in moderation,” and, stated another way, “Nothing in excess.” These aphorisms apply to caffeine, too, because too much of this otherwise beneficial chemical can cause insomnia, nervousness, muscle tremors and stomach upset.