Caffeine pills help patient give up coffee

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Health & Fitness

November 09, 2003|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,King Features Syndicate

Giving up coffee for better health was a real challenge for me. I can't tolerate decaf, so substituting was out. But stopping caffeine gave me migraines. Irritability and the threat of migraines gave me the perfect excuse to drink coffee (which is really what I wanted to do).

Here's my solution: I quit drinking coffee and bought a bottle of caffeine tablets. I cut them into quarters, with each one equal to about a half-cup of coffee.

Whenever I got a withdrawal twinge, I took a half-cup dose. Not only did all physical symptoms disappear instantly, but the "fix" lasted far longer than I expected.

The first day, I ingested only a fraction of the caffeine I'd been getting from my usual coffee habit. The time between symptoms grew longer and longer each day, and I was caffeine-free in about a week. Maybe this approach will help someone else.

Thanks for the tip. For some people, caffeine withdrawal causes a range of symptoms, such as fatigue, irritability and headaches. Cutting a 200-milligram caffeine pill in quarters yields about 50 milligrams in each chunk. Gradual tapering is a classic approach for phasing off many compounds that cause dependency.

A friend of mine has had persistent psoriasis for about 25 years. After reading your column, I bought her a bottle of turmeric, and her skin cleared up completely.

When the bottle ran out, the scales started coming back, in just a couple of days, but cleared once more when she started taking turmeric again.

She can't stand the taste, so she mixes it with strong foods that she likes. If nothing like that is handy, she skips the turmeric, and the psoriasis returns. I'm going to pick up some empty gelatin capsules for her so she can take it without tasting it.

Turmeric is the yellow spice that gives curry powder its distinctive flavor and color. We have heard from several readers that regular use of this spice seems to help control the itchy, scaly skin associated with psoriasis.

Many scientists are studying the effects of curcumin, a component of turmeric, on cancer cells in tissue culture. Scientists have recently published research that helps explain how curcumin acts against psoriasis (British Journal of Dermatology, November 2000; In Vitro Cellular Development Biology-Animal, January 2003).

Because turmeric is so widely used in cooking, it seems safe. Using the gelatin capsules to hide the flavor might solve the taste problem.

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