How Coffee Can Help You Control Pain
By Joan Kent, PhD
Obviously, it's not necessary to know how caffeine works to be able to use it. It can be helpful in boosting pain relief from other pain-relievers or by itself. It's especially good for muscle pain relief – great news if you work out hard.
Scientists speculate that caffeine's pain-relieving power comes from 3 mechanisms:
• It blocks release of adenosine.
Adenosine is a brain chemical that carries pain signals to the brain.
• It activates adrenalin pathways in the brain.
Those pathways include the body's own pain-killing mechanism.
• It stimulates the central nervous system in a way that changes the processing of pain signals.
Of the 3, I like the first one best. The other 2 don't actually explain clearly (at least to me), but the first does. Here's why.
Adenosine prevents the release of 2 brain chemicals – norepinephrine and dopamine – presumably so the amounts available at a given time are kept within control.
When we consume caffeine, the caffeine blocks adenosine. It occupies the adenosine receptors and prevents adenosine from "getting in." As a result, dopamine and norepinephrine are released in larger amounts. That's why coffee or tea makes us feel alert.
But norepinephrine also has analgesic power, so it offers a bonus – it wakes us up and helps to relieve pain.
Norepinephrine is made when we eat protein foods: fish, eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, turkey, shrimp, crab, yogurt (with 18-22 g of protein per serving).
For non-animal protein, use high-quality vegan protein powders from peas, hemp or other vegetable sources. (You may like kale and other vegetables, but they don't provide much protein.)
Be sure to eat protein foods regularly, so your norepinephrine stores are adequate when you want to release them by consuming caffeine.
For additional tips like these – or for help with health issues – just visit www.FoodAddictionSolutions.com/Coaching and request your free Eating Empowerment Consult. Find out how easy it can be to get your nutrition and your health back on track.