CAFFEINE - (58-08-2)

Introduction

Name: caffeine; 1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione; 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine
* IUPAC
CAS Number: 58-08-2
Chemical Formula: C8H10N4O2
Molar Mass: 194.1906 g
Mass Percent: C 49.480 %; H 5.1904 %; N 28.851 %; O 16.478 % 

Classification

• organic • aromatic

Uses/Function

• "Nerve stimulant...A number of mechanisms have been proposed for caffeine's stimulatory effects. Perhaps the most straightforward mechanism is tha caffeine facilitates the release of norepinephrine into synaptic clefts. Caffeine also exerts many other effects on the body, such as dilation of arteries, relaxation of bronchial and gastrointestinal muscles, diuretic action on the kidneys, and stimulation of stomach-acid secretion." 1

• "More than one cup [of coffee] a day can increase the time it takes to conceive by up to 50% and in pregnancy, caffeine has been linked to increased rates of miscarriage and low birthweight. Pharmacologically caffeine belongs in the same category of stimulant drugs as cocaine and amphetamines.

Caffeine stimulates the body to produce cortisol, which acts as a stimulant to raise stress levels and competes with receptor sites of progesterone causing a deficiency of this essential hormone. It can also limit the absorption of iron and magnesium, which are needed for conception." 2

• "This strong, fast-acting stimulant increases the heart rate and gets the blood flowing to all the right places." 3

• "Caffeine is used in food and drinks and for medical purposes. Its primary action is to stimulate the central nervous system. People drink coffee, tea, or cola drinks to stay awake and alert because caffeine creates a feeling of added energy. It does this by increasing heart rate, improving blood flow to the muscles, opening airways to aid breathing, and releasing stored energy from the liver to provide added fuel for the body. In large quantities, caffeine can also cause nervousness, insomnia, and heart problems. The effects of caffeine can linger in the body for more than six hours. In medical applications, caffeine is sometimes used as a heart stimulant for patients in shock, to treat apnea (loss of breathing) in newborn babies, to counteract depressed breathing levels as a result of drug overdoses, and as a diuretic.

Caffeine stimulates the brain in two ways. First, because it has a chemical structure similar to that of adenosine, it attaches to adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a substance that normally attaches to those receptors, slowing brain activity and causing drowsiness. By blocking those receptors, caffeine increases electrical activity in the brain, creating a feeling of alertness. Caffeine also works in the brain like drugs such as heroin or cocaine, although in a much milder way. Like those drugs, caffeine increases dopamine levels. Dopamine is a chemical present in the brain that inceases the body's feeling of pleasure.

Studies have shown that caffeine can become addictive. People who use the compound eventually need to take more and more of it to get the same effect. When some people try to stop using caffeine, they may suffer from headache, fatigue, and depression, though these symptoms can be controlled by gradually reducing the amount of caffeine consumed. Either way, withdrawal symptoms end after about a week." 4

Bonding

Double Bonds: 4
Triple Bonds: 0
Sigma Bonds: 25
Pi Bonds: 4
Total: 29
Carboxyl Groups: 0
Hydroxyl Groups: 0

For More Information

Sources

(1) - Suchocki, John. Conceptual Chemistry: Understanding Our World of Atoms and Molecules; Addison Wesley: San Francisco, California, 2001; pp 438, 462.
(2) - Beer, Alan E. Is Your Body Baby Friendly?; AJR Publishing: Hialeah, Florida, 2009; p 258.
(3) - Strange but True Science; Publications International, Ltd.: Lincolnwood, IL, 2014; p 92.
(4) - Schlager, Neil, Weisblatt, Jayne, Newton, David E., and Montney, Charles B. Chemical Compounds Vol. 1; Thomson-Gale: Detroit, MI, 2006; pp 140-1.