The Effects of Caffeine on Vocal Cords

Over the years, you've surely heard of the troublesome effects that caffeine can have on one's vocal cords, but is it really as extreme as many make it out to be? Will just one cup of early morning joe put a serious damper on the rest of the day's vocal quality? Time to brew up some ideas!

What is caffeine anyway? We know that it’s found in some soda, coffee and others. MedicineNet fills us in “Caffeine is a stimulant obtained from over 60 different types of plants worldwide. The scientific name for caffeine is 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine. Caffeine is considered to be the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world. Coffee, soda, and tea are the most common sources of caffeine in the American diet.”

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Many of us are familiar with the addictive qualities of caffeine. If you’re an athlete, musician or are just simply interested in maintaining optimum health, depending on who you’re listening to, it’s often advisable to keep caffeine to a minimum. We must simultaneously acknowledge the fact that there are also many coffee connoisseurs who will come up to bat for the health benefits that coffee seems to have. While we are not doctors by any means, so we cannot truly speak on the health aspects of the combination of caffeine and a regular intake, but we can stand behind how it can really kick start your day. 

A majorly compelling reason to question your caffeine intake is its dehydrating factors. Sometimes dehydration is not taken seriously, but it can actually lead to a coma if severe enough. The more mild symptoms include headaches, production of a general feeling of being tired, and particularly concerning for a vocalist, it can stop mucus production which puts a severe limit on the vocal cords reactivity and tonal quality. 

One aspect that is often overlooked when it comes to caffeine for the musician are the physical and mental effects of its stimulation. Be sure to know your body’s reaction to a particular caffeine dosage before performing. While it can have an effect on the actual vocal folds, it also can send your anxiety into overdrive and give a shaking hand. No musician needs this, especially when ty[ical recording and performing scenarios give us so much stress without the caffeine turning the volume all the way up. We understand that it’s easy to rely on caffeine to keep you working your day job while you’re working on your next masterpiece, but consider the negative effects it may be having. To each their own, however we suggest you do your research, your own experiments and see what the day to day reflection of your lifestyle changes are. 

So, what if we decide to give up caffeine altogether? Depending on your sensitivity to these chemical compounds, you may have an easier or more difficult time. Prepare yourself for a few solid days of downtime when you’re detoxing from your caffeine habit. You may find a good time to do this is when you’ve got a light schedule or a few extra lazy days to sleep in where not much high-alert level thinking will be expected of you. Common symptoms may include headaches, lethargy, anxiety, depressed mood and more. Give yourself time to adjust and you’ll still be able to be the best version of yourself, just without putting your system into overdrive. If you decide to keep your casual coffee, be sure to make up for it by drinking lots of water to replace its dehydrating effects.