It was early morning and my eyes could barely stay open as I trudged to the kitchen to turn on my trusty red coffee maker. I expected to hear the machine steam and bubble, the smell of my favorite vanilla macadamia nut coffee filling the kitchen. But instead, there was silence.
I filled my water bottle, still waiting to hear and smell my morning routine, but there was nothing. No java goodness was brewing in my poor little red coffee maker.
Over 68 million Americans would panic in this situation. And that’s just the coffee drinkers. In the US, more than 90% of adults consume caffeine on a regular basis .
Most of us know caffeine can be addictive, but there are some other random facts about the drug you should know.
1. Caffeine is produced naturally by plants – as a pesticide
Why does caffeine exist? To kill bugs, of course! Plants make the chemical to paralyze and kill predators that try to eat them. It can kill us too. Luckily we are a lot bigger than most bugs. It takes about 5 grams, or well over 30 cups of coffee, to kill an average human. Sadly, there are documented deaths from too much caffeine [1,2,3].
2. Some people are unaffected by caffeine
My mom can drink a cuppa joe at 9:30 PM, then settle in for a long winter’s nap. While most coffee drinkers can understand building a tolerance to the effects, about 10% of people are just not very sensitive to it. Either the liver metabolizes the caffeine too quickly, or it can’t bind to the right receptors (how it keeps you awake) .
I did not get those genes from my mom. Which is good I guess, or I never would have made it through college #allnighters
3. Caffeine does not stunt your growth.
I was always told as a kid that drinking coffee would stunt my growth. There is absolutely no evidence that caffeine stunts growth in adolescents. In the early 1900’s C.W. Post (of Post cereal fame) developed a powdered drink called Postum as a non-caffeinated coffee alternative. The company used a negative add campaign against coffee and one of the attacks was that it kept kids from growing correctly . So your great-grandmother wouldn’t let your grandmother drink coffee, your grandmother wouldn’t let your mother drink coffee, and your mother wouldn’t let you drink coffee, all because of false advertising. Now parents give their kids caffeine on purpose.
4. Some parents use caffeine as a non-prescription treatment for ADHD
ADHD can be treated with stimulants, and some parents swear caffeine turns their kid into the student of the month. Caffeine has been researched as an effective treatment for ADHD, but other drugs are more effective (and more profitable?) As mentioned above, about 10% of people don’t respond to the drug, so the treatment won’t work for every kid. If it works for yours, though, awesome! 
5. If caffeine was a regulated drug, coffee commercials would be 2 minutes long
Imagine a commercial, some good looking 20-somethings enjoying a laugh over a latte at a trendy coffee shop. At the end, like the prescription drug ads, the deep voice comes over –
Well, thank goodness coffee is a drug that doesn’t require a prescription. I met my dealer (Starbucks) to get my fix then headed to Target to get a new coffee maker. I hope this one lasts. They just don’t make them like they used to.