(Please note that the ending to this post is better than its beginning. It get’s better the further you read. Good luck!.)
Why? Why does caffeine hate me? I mean, it does give me the ability to read minds and all, which is cool, but I don’t like the forlorn doom effect it has on my psyche.
Chai tea contains 40mg of caffeine compared to the 120mg’s found in your average cup of Joe (which drives me down to crazy town).
The effects are almost instantaneous. I take one sip and beads of sweat dapple my forehead.
Chai isn’t as bad as coffee, but I can hear it whispering and laughing at me in the distance.
Chai – “Ha ha look at her! Is she freaking out?”
Chai #2 – “A little. Let’s keep quiet. Maybe she won’t notice us.”
I’m nuts. Clearly nuts.
What amazes me, I mean truly amazes me, is how it messes with my whole thought process. This is NOT me. But if I’m not my thoughts or my actions, what am I?
Rational Brain – “We went over this – it’s your intentions, remember?”
Oh right….so confusing….I still don’t fully get it but I’ll save it for another post.
So anyway, to dig deeper into the mystery of why caffeine makes me crazy, I googled it and didn’t find a straight answer but what I did find was cytochrome (CYP1A2), the enzyme that breaks down and processes the caffeine molecule in the liver. The liver! Of course. That makes sense.
It also synthesizes cholesterol which means I should get my levels checked.
But does this mean I have too much CYP1A2? Or not enough?
Not enough (I think).
People who smoke have higher levels of CYP1A2 which means they can process drugs and caffeine easier than if they flat-out quit. When they quit, the drugs they take (prescribed meds) can have adverse side-effects.
I’m sorry, am I boring you? I don’t care!
Scattered notes I found across the net (to be patched together later by me):
- CYP1A2 takes up about 15% of our liver.
- Smoking (from the polycyclic hydrocarbons found in the smoke) and drinking caffeine increases CYP1A2 levels.
- Smoking increases cholesterol.
- Cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli are known to increase levels of CYP1A2.
- Lower activity of CYP1A2 in South Asians appears to be due to cooking these vegetables in curries using ingredients such as cumin and turmeric, ingredients known to inhibit the enzyme.
- South Asians have a very low cancer risk.
- Alcohol induces CYP1A2
- If you smoke, your body clears caffeine from your system faster than if you didn’t smoke.
- If you drink coffee while on prescribed meds, the molecules in the coffee and in the meds compete for the CYP1A2 enzyme in order to break them down, therefore caffeine takes longer to clear from the body while taking meds (because less enzymes are available).
- Caffeine has a powerful anti-depressant effect (unrelated but interesting).
- Alcohol decreases the speed it takes to clear caffeine from your system because they both compete for CYP1A2.
- CYP1A2 is responsible for the metabolism of estrogens.
- Increased CYP1A2 function may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
- Woman who smoke have lower levels of urinary estrogen.
- Chinese woman with slow NAT2 and rapid CYP1A2 activity were at greater risk for lung cancer
- Cooking meat over an open flame such as charbroiling produces heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in cigarette smoke (the stuff that increases CYP1A2 levels).
- Polycyclic hydrocarbons (HCA’s) are mutagenic, meaning, they can cause mutations in the DNA resulting in cancer.
- HCA’s and PAH’s are formed when the fat and juice in the raw meat drips down into the open flame and that same flame is used to cook the meat.
- Humans started evolving shortly after learning to cook meat by showing rapid growth in brain size and smaller jaws.
- Cooked food contains more calories than raw food.
- The more calories we consume, the more proficient our brain works.
- Eating raw vegetables can decrease the risk of cancer.
- It is possible (not 100% proven) that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli reduce the risk of cancer depending on how long it takes the body to metabolize the protective isothiocyanate found in them. Meaning, some people keep cancer fighting agents in their body longer than others.
(I got a little off topic.)
Scattered notes from personal thoughts / experience / assumptions:
- I’m very responsive to aspirin and acetainophen (they last a long time in my system).
- One beer makes me happy.
- Caffeine gives me insomnia (it lasts a long time).
- Maybe South Asians are sensitive to alcohol because they have low levels of CYP1A2?
- Maybe caffeine can enhance and prolong the effects of alcohol?
- Maybe humans evolved quickly as a result of cooking meat due to the PAH’s and HCA’s creating mutations in our DNA.
- Cooking food evolved us into the humans we are today.
- By cooking cruciferous vegetable in turmeric and cumin, slows the activity of CYP1A2, therefore keeping the cancer fighting protective isothiocyanates longer in your body.
One bullet point that stands out is why woman who smoke have lower levels of urinary estrogen. Is it because the increase level of CYP1A2 metabolizes the estrogen too fast? Thereby sending estrogen into the bloodstream to accumulate in the uterus and breast tissue causing breast density to rise due to the fact that estrogen causes breast cells to divide and multiply? Never to escape?
All these bullet points were taken from researching nearly indecipherable medical jargon. I’m sure that somewhere in the jargon describes perfectly well why smokers have lowered estrogen levels in their urine, but to me it doesn’t add up. I don’t get it. There is literally no clear answer. What little I could decipher, I wrote as a clear bullet point.
My brother rented the movie Bird Man and I’m going to watch it. I spent waaaaay too much time on this. I did however, eat a bunch of cabbage just now to increase my CYP1A2 levels so I can flush out that damn latte I had earlier.
It turns out that there’s more than one type of CYP1A2. It depends on your genes. It varies like blood type. I self-diagnosed myself with the slow metabolizing CYP1A2 type – the type that decreases your chances of getting certain cancers, but increases my risk of heart attack (this is my theory, no one else’s).
So I guess it’s safe to conclude that I have low CYP1A2 levels of the slow type of CYP1A2. I need to start charbroiling my food and eating raw broccoli.
Maybe it’s also related to stress? Damn it now I want to google CYP1A2 and stress. When will this be over? Are you kidding me brain?
Well, according to one guy “….stress alone results in increases in the abundance of proteins responsive to oxidative stress, along with Phase I and II metabolizing enzymes.”
My new bullet point under assumptions (not facts):
- Stress may cause rapid metabolic function which results in low absorption of cancer fighting agents found in cruciferous veggies.
These enzymes increase in order to rid the body of carcinogens. And since there’s a strong link between our physical and mental state, these enzymes can’t tell one from the other so mental stress can in turn, cause them to increase. And upon the increase, all metabolic processes also increase resulting in cell division and abnormal DNA mutations.
I have a crazy whacked out theory that psychological stress is the pre-curser to evolution.
Think about it.
Evolution occurs when our desires don’t match up with our current circumstances (this causes stress). And according to my recent study, stress causes mutations in our DNA (proven with lab rats). Thereby allowing me to presume that thought (stress) alone created the way our body looks and operates today. It’s like our evolution had direction. Do you know what I mean? Like our mutations were conscious choices.
And my theory that we fall in love with people who have traits that we desire but lack, our collective desired traits are passed down from generation to generation, creating mutations and in our eyes, a more attractive species. We are the culmination of our (inherited) desires.
Which brings me back to the belief that WE created US. God didn’t create us, we did. We are it. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s still a God.
If we thought tails were sexy, we’d still have them. But having a tail means less blood flow to the brain and extremities resulting in lower intelligence and stamina – in other words, we didn’t need them. Evolution also means to let go of things you’ve out-grown. Like pants.
Rational Brain – “What about the whole “survival of the fittest” rational? Black bears living in the South Pole didn’t last long because their little black cubs were easily spotted and snatched up. So only the white polar bear survived. Are you saying that polar bears “desired” to mate with white bears and it had nothing to do with the black cubs vulnerability?”
I really wanted to watch Bird Man.
But think about it, seriously. Stress causes mutations in our DNA – mutations can lead to cancer or it can lead us to an evolutionary leap. Maybe cancer has to exist in order for us to evolve? If we stop all abnormal mutations and start growing humans like soy beans with GMO’s and what-not’s, we’d all be the same apple tree for as long as time lasts.
Rational Brain – “Don’t ignore me. I made a really good argument.”
Oh god I hope I don’t get cancer for writing this.
And cancer is genetic because our bodies are trying to evolve, but not quite getting it right so each generation has to cope with their inherited cancer risk until they hit a generation that surpasses the threat by owning a new mutated gene that wasn’t present in their ancestors. Like reading minds for instance. Reading minds would be cool trait.
Rational Brain – “Melanie, stop. Please just stop.”
One latte! All this from one latte!
And yeah, I know I sound crazy.
So much went down today. I want to fire one of my employee’s and I didn’t even broach the subject. That was my original intension for writing this post – to tell you the story of how I want to fire one of my employee’s.
OMG brain….you distracted little pissant. You hath no focus. Or do you have too much focus?
I think I need to eat more cabbage.
Oh and get this! Don’t you find it strange that the same time we start cooking food is the same time our evolution speeds up? It’s like having those fatty juices falling into the open flame helped speed up the process. It’s like evolution never would have occurred without the use of fire. I mean, homo sapiens never would’ve occurred. Something else? Maybe.
Shamans believe that fire heals and acts as the gateway between worlds.
The last time I did ayahuasca with them, I understood more deeply the healing aspects of fire but I never got the chance to write about it because I was working non-stop at the time.
In essence, the fire (in my case), represented my thoughts. They burned, engulfed me, consumed me – but it was the smoke that felt healing. It’s hard to describe, but it was like watching my thoughts burn and then release. Burning, then releasing. But I also understood that the healing smoke wouldn’t be produced without the burning fire, so both needed to exist which makes them equally important to the healing process.
While I’m on the subject, another thing I got out of my last ayahuasca experience was the impenetrable loneliness I felt from the idea that I’m the only one inhabiting my mind. I’m the only one in here. It’s just me. And if our perception of the world is responsible for the world we are given, it felt as though I was the only person living in my world, do you understand? It’s just me living in my own little world. Isolated, completely cut-off.
This sent me into the dreaded ayahuasca world of fear. A lot of people go through it. It’s basically a panic attack. And I swear if it were anyone else besides me who experienced this particular fear, this dreadful thought, it would’ve resulted in an outburst – a verbal cry of hysterical panic.
But I knew what was happening because shit like that happened to me before, without the help of aya. I taken several deep breaths over and over while staring into the fire and remembering what the shaman told me – “the fire will eat your demons so long as you stare into it. When the demons come, the fire will cleanse them.”
And so I stared, I breathed, I remembered his words and then I saw it. I saw my thoughts in the fire being swallowed up and turning to smoke. Letting go of them was like watching myself float away with its ashes.
My panic lasted for maybe 5 minutes before slowly vanishing.
“Are you almost done leaving me yet? Nope, still there. Almost out of me now? Almost….almost. The smoke, watch the smoke. My thoughts are drifting away with the smoke.”
And then it was gone.
A post or two (or three) ago, I wrote that somehow my emotional sensitivity made me a stronger person. Two days ago while I was giving a massage, I understood why this is. It was a pristine explanation with no holes.
Allowing myself to feel without distraction or the self-inflated shallowness of ego or “rightness” (which too, is a distraction), I’m able to connect with the selfless side of me. One who suffers for (with) others.
Okay okay, I know how I sound right now and trust me – I do NOT think myself a wondrous sparkly saint sporting a halo. I’m NOT trying to make myself sound grand – that is not my intention.
Eh hem…aya told me I was a martyr….eh hem….
But I understood how my weakness is strength.
Rational Brain – “Go to bed. It’s too late for Bird Man.”
Let me just finish this thought.
A coward is someone who’s selfish. Someone who care’s nothing for anyone but themselves and so they focus on survival and distractions, feeling big and powerful. But those who are affected deeply by the human plight, and not try to escape from it, care for others besides themselves.
It’s common sense, but when you look at it from the eschewed angle of experience, it tends to make even more common sense. Does that make sense?
When you care for others, that’s where you’ll find courage. In fact, it might be the only place to find courage. That’s why ayahuasca made it abundantly clear that giving is everything and strength is beauty. You give out of piety, not pity. Your strength comes from weakness, not power.
My strength, my “weakness”, is the stress put upon my shoulders that evolves me. It can either eat me as a cancer, or evolve me into something greater. Stay in the fire, or release me to the heavens. According to ayahuasca, I get to choose.
Rational Brain – “I’m speechless. Tonight, for once, being rational is not the beautiful thing to be.”
You’re wrong. Being rational accentuates my philosophy. I’m the flame and you’re the smoke – the exquisite aftermath.
And according to ayahuasca, you can only gain understanding with experience. And according to me, experience occurs when you have an emotional reaction. So in theory, the more you emotionally connect with an experience, the more likely you are to understand it. My emotional vulnerability (not to be confused with instability), connects more freely with others, hence I can understand them. And shit man, sometimes I wish I didn’t.
Rational Brain – “The cabbage didn’t help get rid of the caffeine, did it.”
I’m not anxious anymore, just awake. Awake at 2am.
Damn, I just remembered about the employee I want to fire. That post will be at least 1500 words. I can’t believe how I didn’t write about it at ALL. I can’t believe I didn’t write about Thailand!
I have so much stuff to write about. The things I do, the people in my life, my everyday shenanigans….none of it takes precedence while I’m “in the moment”. While being consumed by the flames.
It’s like none of it’s important to me but than again, it’s my life! It’s my actual life that I’m not writing about – the purpose of my blog is to record and chronicle my life but instead, some other part takes the reigns. A part that I have no control over. Which makes me believe that my writing serves a purpose greater than my personal desires.
Rational Brain – “Again with the big head. You write shit online and get carried away with it.”
Oh shut up and go to bed.
Rational Brain – “You first.”
2,801 words later……I need help.