Letter: Caffeine withdrawal symptoms: experience tells

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The Independent Online
Sir: The link between caffeine consumption and coronary heart disease is challenged ('A cup that really cheers') in the light of recent findings. However, to write that it is a myth that headache and nausea are caffeine-withdrawal symptoms is simply incorrect. Headache is the most frequently reported symptom following caffeine abstinence in regular caffeine consumers.

The Institute of Food Research has clear evidence that people who consume coffee and tea on a regular basis (at least two cups per day) do experience lowered mood states (eg headache, drowsiness) when they are deprived of dietary caffeine, and we have also found a relationship between these withdrawal symptoms and drink preference. This suggests that one factor contributing to the widespread consumption of coffee and tea is a direct result of their potency in the alleviation of the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

Yours sincerely,

N. RICHARDSON

Research Psychologist

Institute of Food Research

Agricultural and Food Research Council

Reading,

Berkshire

22 July

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