Drinking coffee helps many people stay awake and regain concentration at a time of fatigue or drowsiness.

As explained by Professor Carlo Selmi, Head of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at Humanitas, this is caused by caffeine, a natural substance present in coffee, tea and cocoa, which stimulates the central nervous system.


Caffeine action

Caffeine also acts on the immune system as an immuno-modulator, by modulating the innate immune response with anti-inflammatory effects that are difficult to define. According to a review published in 2006 from Pharmacology & Therapeutics developed by the National University of Ireland, caffeine would suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha, as well as the production of antibodies, potentially playing a positive effect in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis or psoriasis.

According to some studies, the espresso coffee would protect a person from the risk of developing gout. Its consumption has been associated with a reduction in uric acid levels, while hyperuricemia is identified as the primary cause of arthritis in gout.


Why you should not overdo it

Excessive consumption of caffeine would not only cause effects on heart rhythm and blood pressure, but would also cause an increase in levels of cortisol, the so-called stress hormone, which could contribute to the depressive effect of lymphocyte activity, the cells involved in the acquired immune function.