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Author Topic: Can you reset your tolerance to caffeine?  (Read 17780 times)

Offline thedoc

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Can you reset your tolerance to caffeine?
« on: 23/11/2012 11:02:02 »
Hello Naked Scientists!

My name is Ari and I'm a plant pathology student in Helsinki University, Finland. My boring summer job has allowed me to listen to your splendid podcasts and I usually listen to three shows per day.

My question concerns caffeine tolerance. When you drink loads of coffee on a daily basis, eventually you become tolerant to caffeine and you need more coffee to stay alert at lectures or seminars. At least according to my experience. Just as curiosity, do you think it would be possible to switch off or reset the acquired tolerance by some feat of biochemistry in the brain? Personally I would refrain to dope my head with too much stimulants and take a break from coffee for a few days - if possible that is.

Love to hear your thoughts on this! Thank you for a great show and inspiring my scientific thinking.

Yours

Ari Huttunen

Asked by Ari Huttunen


                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

 ...or Listen to the Answer or [download as MP3]

« Last Edit: 23/11/2012 11:02:02 by _system »


 

Online chris

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Re: Can I reset my tolerance for caffeine?
« Reply #1 on: 02/08/2012 08:14:51 »
Hi Ari

I need to look into this, not least from personal interest!

I'll poke about and see what I can find; meanwhile, maybe someone else can make some suggestions...

Chris
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can I reset my tolerance for caffeine?
« Reply #2 on: 02/08/2012 09:06:27 »
I don't know about any meds.  But, it is easy enough to "reset" by stopping drinking coffee, or going to decaf.

Keep in mind that "decaf coffee" is not truly caffeine free.  Usually when I am not drinking coffee, I also avoid other caffeine sources such as caffeinated soft drinks or black tea.

I've quit, and resumed drinking coffee on numerous occasions.  Right now it has been over a month since my last drink of decaf, and perhaps a year or so since having "regular".

On the occasions that I've "quit", I've noticed that the first couple of days I feel extremely drowsy.  However, after a few days, I actually have a rebound period where my alertness may be better than it was with the coffee.  Then, over time, the alertness settles down.

When I've quit coffee in my 20's, I used to get headaches, but haven't noticed them more recently.

After having quit, drinking coffee, taking a Thermos of coffee for a "road trip" can increase one's alertness considerably.

Last year I did some experiments with coffee substitutes.
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=40478.0

Dandelion (Catsear) coffee was extremely bitter. 
Pea Coffee was a bit sweeter. 
I found a 50/50 mix between dandelion and pea coffee made a reasonably tolerable mix.
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: Can I reset my tolerance for caffeine?
« Reply #3 on: 02/08/2012 16:36:53 »
The easiest way to reset your caffeine tolerance is just to taper down the amount of caffeine you drink over a week or two. If you do it slowly enough you won't notice any bad effects.

I doubt that there's any non toxic chemical you could take to do this; AFAIK the brain responds to the caffeine by changing the number of neuroreceptors.

The only thing I could think of is if you could find another stimulant that has similar effects but doesn't build tolerance, and then you could switch over to that until your caffeine tolerance subsided. But if that type of chemical even exists I would guess it's probably a class-A drug!
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can I reset my tolerance for caffeine?
« Reply #4 on: 02/08/2012 19:37:55 »
The only thing I could think of is if you could find another stimulant that has similar effects but doesn't build tolerance, and then you could switch over to that until your caffeine tolerance subsided. But if that type of chemical even exists I would guess it's probably a class-A drug!
Not everything is a Class A drug.

Perhaps Theobromine from chocolate.

There seem to be notes of variants of caffeine, Mateine & Theine, but other literature seems to indicate that these are in fact caffeine. 

Anyway, you could get a mild stimulant effect from drinking hot chocolate, or other sources of chocolate, without the caffeine.  There is a theoretical risk of Theobromine toxicity from consuming large amounts of chocolate.

I don't know if there are any studies whether substituting theobromine from chocolate for caffeine from coffee would in fact reduce the dependency on caffeine.  Since the molecules are virtually identical, my guess is that the activity would be similar between the two, and there would be no significant benefit of the change.
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: Can I reset my tolerance for caffeine?
« Reply #5 on: 02/08/2012 22:19:50 »
The only thing I could think of is if you could find another stimulant that has similar effects but doesn't build tolerance, and then you could switch over to that until your caffeine tolerance subsided. But if that type of chemical even exists I would guess it's probably a class-A drug!
Not everything is a Class A drug.
Sure, but if it was an unregulated stimulant like that, chances are it would be extremely habit forming.
 

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« Reply #6 on: 28/02/2014 19:32:33 »
DM-235, although a research compound NOT currently labeled for human consumption, has shown to reset caffeine tolerance after single administrations.
 

PHIL SORIA

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« Reply #7 on: 03/10/2016 06:19:39 »
I used to take 3 cups min straight for more than a year. Then I stopped abruptly one day. I had fever, severe migraine, pain around the eyes, muscle cramps that I felt even when I was half awake. When I got better I didn't regain the nerve to take a sip until after another week (almost a month no caffeine in total). Now I drink coffee only 3x a week. The rush is back but honestly it wasn't like the very first time.    
 

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« Reply #7 on: 03/10/2016 06:19:39 »

 

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