Caffeine

Caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine) is probably the most frequently ingested pharmacologically active substance in the entire world [ 85] . It is found in common beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks), in products containing cocoa and medications, including headache or pain medicines and over-the-counter stimulants [ 85, 86] . Because of the wide consumption at different levels by most segments of the population, the public and the scientific community have expressed interest in the potential for caffeine to produce adverse effects on human health [85-87] .

Coffee is considered a nutritional and pharmaceutical drink, it is richer in minerals than isotonic drinks, and also contains niacin (vitamin B). In addition, coffee contains natural antioxidants called chlorogenic acids [88]. An average intake of three cups a day provides calcium, vitamins, and other basic nutrients for human health without causing obesity. Recent cumulative scientific evidence have helped to demystify the idea that coffee is a psychotropic plant (due to the presence of caffeine) and to characterize it as a product with nutritional and medicinal (or pharmaceutical) properties, which can prove to be highly beneficial to human health [85, 89-91],

In fact, the alkaloid caffeine and its catabolic products theobromine and xanthine exhibit antioxidant properties [86-93] . Further, all three compounds proved to be capable of binding and reducing Cu(II) to Cu(I), leading to the generation of oxygen radicals. However, such an activity requires a relatively high concentration of the compounds and copper ions. Although ingested caffeine is capable of crossing the blood-testis barrier, caffeine consumption as a factor could alter male reproduction function has not been investigated extensively. Data from in vitro studies suggested that caffeine has variable, dose-related effects on human sperm motility, number, and structure [93]. Also, Jensen et al. [94] found no association between caffeine intake and semen quality in men exposed to caffeine for an extended period at dose levels as high as >700 mg/day. However, in a different center, Pasqualotto et al. [92] demonstrated that no differences are detected in sperm concentration, motility, and sperm motion characteristics in mild, moderate, heavy, and nonconsumers of coffee.

Therefore, several recreational drugs and environmental factors may increase ROS production, leading to DNA damage and further male infertility.

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