Nutrition Myths
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Adenosine

Adenosine is a molecule that plays an important role in various parts of the body. It is naturally occurring in the body’s nucleoside. The usual level of adenosine in the plasma is 0.04-0.2 micromoles. Adenosine has the following roles in the body: (1, 2)

  • Cellular energy: energy transfers and signaling within the body cells. It forms molecules involved in energy production and facilitates transfers such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP).
  • Cardiovascular action: causes vasodilation – widens the blood vessels, allowing better blood circulation and blood distribution to the heart and rest of the body. It decreases the heart rate and has anticoagulation properties.
  • Kidneys: reduces blood flow and renin production in the kidneys.
  • Lungs: causes constriction of airways in the lungs.
  • Liver: helps in converting the liver energy storage from glycogen to glucose, and causes constriction of blood vessels.
  • Central nervous system: in the brain, adenosine promotes sleep, suppresses arousal and acts as a depressant. It acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

Adenosine and caffeine

Adenosine competes with caffeine for the adenosine receptors in the brain, which has an impact on those individuals who drink coffee or stop drinking coffee after a period of regular drinking and experience caffeine withdrawal.

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