Ratha (papertygre) wrote,
Ratha
papertygre

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Caffeine delivery methods; migraines

So a few days ago, I received a book from Amazon on caffeine. I'd become quite an avid coffee drinker, so I was intrigued at the description of this book, The Caffeine Advantage. The book describes research results and points out that in many cases, for reasons not entirely explainable with our current knowledge, straight caffeine is better than coffee or tea for enhancing athletic performance, energy, and mood. Apparently, coffee has polyphenols and other mysterious chemicals, some of which have downer effects that counteract the lift of the caffeine. This meshes with my experience, because until reading that I had no explanation for why sometimes after a cup of coffee, I can feel a sudden narcoleptic hit of drowsiness. (Usually fixed with another cup or a walk around the house though.)

So, I bought some Walgreens brand Awake caffeine pills and the next morning, took one instead of making coffee. It provided a very clean and helpful boost, much like when I used to take Ritalin. But that night, I had a severe migraine with aura, the kind I hadn't had in months. Then, the next day, I was still jittery from the previous day, so I cut the pill in half and took 100 mg in the morning and again in the afternoon. This proved to be *still* too much, so today I am on 50mg (a quarter pill, the pieces get kind of mashed up if you split a pill four times so it's an inexact measurement) and it seems to be about right, even perhaps still a bit much. It seems quite clear to me that there are a *lot* of other chemicals and things going on in coffee and tea. 50mg represents less than a tenth of what I was supposedly getting in my former three or four cups of diluted espresso a day.

This morning, I was websearching (unsuccessfully) for a place to buy 50mg caffeine pills, and found this link about Caffeine and Migraine. The theory seems a little over the top, claiming as it does that ALL migraines and primary headaches are caused by caffeine withdrawal. But his claim is falsifiable, and it does seem to have some potential truth for me. Fact: I had my first migraine late in the summer during which I had first begun to drink tea regularly. Fact: I have associated migraines with going vegetarian, but in fact I probably have also cut down or eliminated caffeine whenever I've done that, as a unified attempt to get "healthier." Fact: when I regularly drink coffee and don't skip meals, I don't get headaches.

The recommendation of the guy who wrote the above site about caffeine and migraines is that abstinence is hard, and that "maintenance" is probably easier and more practical. I am warming to the efficiency of the idea of taking caffeine in pill form, and reserving coffee for outings or special occasions, when I can actually enjoy it. Besides, making coffee is messy, smelly, and time consuming, and you have to apply a lot of skill and care to do it well. I'd be happy leaving it to the professionals. One thing that I'm starting to like is leaving the cut pills by the side of the bed with water and taking one as soon as the alarm goes off in the morning. Then I can lie back and indulge the urge to keep snoozing, without worrying that I will go back to sleep. Seems too easy, though, seems like cheating. There has to be something bad about it. (Note to self: Must find out if these things can cause stomach distress when taken alone on an empty stomach over a period of time.)

Anyway, wanted to record that for future reference. Must get back to working.
Tags: caffeine
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