Excerpt from 'ABC's of Asthma, Allergies and Lupus' by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj
Naturally, the quality of drinking water is most important to health. Water should be water and not just any drink. Asthmatics should observe this instruction to the letter. Water should be free of chemicals, particularly caffeine and alcohol. Please bear in mind that caffeine and alcohol are toxic chemicals addictive drugs as far as the cells of the human body are concerned. It is true that the manufacturers of these agents have unrestricted permission to contaminate good drinking water with these toxic chemicals and to sell them to the public, but, sooner or later, their detrimental impact on society will also become the focus of attention like the tobacco industry presently is.
It is my sincere belief that many of our society's problems of ill health can be blamed on the marketing tactics and unceasing pushes of the beverage industry. They tend to cultivate the palates of younger people toward the selection and use of their products in preference to the water that young bodies need to develop naturally and normally. Once teenagers - the target of the industry became addicted to caffeine, the industry has converted them to cash machines for the rest of their shortened lives! The unfortunate outcome of addiction to caffeine is the 'Upgraded' effect that forces some children to experiment with harder drugs.
Caffeine is a natural diuretic. It forces more water out of the body than is contained in the caffeinated beverage. Caffeine also acts directly on the brain cells and forces them to use some of their critical energy reserves on trivial actions and whims. It lowers the threshold for triggering an action from cells that would otherwise remain quiet until a more serious engagement is deemed necessary. The effect of caffeine on the brain is energy depletion. Caffeine, if taken repeatedly, eventually exhausts the brain. When the brain needs energy reserves to cope with a crisis, it will be far less effective because it is energy-depleted and depressed. The energy-reserve-depleting effect of caffeine on the brain is one of the primary causes of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Caffeine has another detrimental effect on the brain that should be considered as the second main impact that pushes the brain in the direction of reaching an ADD status. The brain maintains its energy reserves to use for new confrontations, experiences, dangers, and exciting, fresh ideas. This is how it learns selectively and from new experiences. Caffeine not only depletes the stored energy pools in the brain, it also inhibits the enzyme system initiated by PD (phospho-diesterase). PD activity is a vital step in "memory making" by the brain cells.
All seeds that are designed to create the next generation of a plant contain in their covering shell one or other chemical to deter food scavengers, such as ants and beetles, from eating the protein-rich seeds before they sprout. If this were not so, these plants would become extinct. Legumes such as lentils, peas and green beans possess a chemical called CCK (chol-e-cysto-kinin), a digestive enzyme inhibitor that causes a form of indigestion in the systems of critters that eat the seeds. It causes gas formation in humans who eat lentils without soaking them well and discarding the skin, or boiling them briefly first, washing them well, and then boiling them a second time until cooked. This is the way to "de-gas" legumes that would normally produce indigestion. Get rid of the CCK.
Caffeine is naturally designed to produce stupefaction of the brain. Caffeine is used by a number of plants as a nerve warfare chemical against their predators. The coffee plant produces caffeine in its seeds to defend itself. Caffeine inhibits the nervous system and the memory mechanisms in its "food-chain" predators in such a way that they lose their "wit" and their art of camouflage. They become less alert and less reactive, and thus less able to protect themselves. They become much easier prey for their predators.
This is why the coffee plant is plagued by fewer bugs than most other plants during its growth period. Bugs know better than to eat it. But we humans take the caffeine-containing coffee beans, brew them to our desired concentration, and consume the plants chemical poison as a pleasure-inducing beverage. High soda consumption, in my opinion, is the reason so many kids in American school have reading and learning problems. Despite all the money that is spent on their education, their average standard is far below children in less- privileged societies, whose access to caffeine-containing beverages is much more limited.
The beverage industry grows and thrives on the addictive properties of caffeine. A report published in the magazine, The Nation, April 27, 1998, states: "The most conservative estimates have children and teens guzzling more than sixty-four gallons of soda a year an amount that has tripled for teens since 1998, doubled for the 6-11 set and increased by a quarter for under-5 tots (from a 1994 survey by the Agriculture Department)."
This finding confirms what I published several years ago in my book, Your Body's Many Cries for Water, on pages 104-113. It is also interesting to note that the increased consumption of sodas by infants under five years is most probably why the rate of asthma occurrence in that age group tripled in the years between 1980 and 1994.
The beverage industry's recent name selection of new brands Surge, Zapped, Full Speed, Outburst, Josta, laced with caffeine and the pick-me-up herb guarana, that hypes 'raw primal power' is designed to attract children and teenagers to consume more and more sodas. The 12-oz cans of soda that contains high amounts of caffeine include Jolt with 72 mg., XTC with 70 mg., and Pepsi-Cola's Surge with 51 mg. And you get near double dose when you buy the 20-oz bottles.
At schools, the kids often take sodas in place of milk and the schools profit from the sale of these addictive beverages. They serve the regular 12-oz cans of soda, with Mountain Dew containing 55 mg. Of caffeine per can, Coke containing 45 mg., Sunkist with 40 mg., and Pepsi with 37 mg.
Grown-ups consume so much coffee that coffee bars are growing like mushrooms. It is said that a regular 12-oz cup of regular Starbucks coffee contains 190 mg. of caffeine.
In my professional opinion that caffeine by itself has all the detrimental effects on the brain cells to produce the type of brain physiology that dislocates the brain from stimuli received from outside. In addition, the dehydration caused by extensive caffeine intake produces different health problems, devastatingly and early. Among the symptoms are asthma and allergies. Thus, my protocol for the treatment of asthma excludes any form of caffeine-containing beverage until the body has recovered from caffeine's unhealthy side effects, particularly on the brain and its nervous system. After that, wisdom will have to take over.