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What is caffeine?

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Caffeine is a bitter white crystalline xanthine that acts as a psychoactive stimulant drug and a mild diuretic (speeds up urine production) in humans and other animals. Caffeine was discovered by a German chemist, Friedrich Ferdinand Runge, in 1819. He coined the term "kaffein", a chemical compound in coffee, which in English became caffeine. Caffeine is also called guaranine when found in guarana, mateine when found in mate, and theine when found in tea; all of these names are synonyms for the same chemical compound.
Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the beans, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the beans of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush, as well as from various foods and drinks containing products derived from the kola nut. Other sources include yerba mate, guarana berries, and the Yaupon Holly.
In humans, caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, having the effect of temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. Beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks enjoy great popularity. Caffeine is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance, but unlike most others, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all jurisdictions. In North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists caffeine as a "Multiple Purpose Generally Recognized as Safe Food Substance.One 2008 study suggested that women consuming 200 milligrams or more of caffeine per day had about twice the miscarriage risk as women who had none, while another 2008 study found no link between miscarriage and caffeine consumption.

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Caffeine is a naturally occurring white bitter alkaloid found in the seeds and other parts of plants, particularly coffee. It acts as a natural insecticide for the plants, helping to control and even kill some of the insects that would feed on the plants, and and the same time it acts as a reward mechanism for insects that pollinate the plants. In humans it acts as central nervous system (CNS) stimulant.
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