Class And Chemical Structure

Caffeine is an ALKALOID that is often classified as a central nervous system stimulant. Caffeine is structurally related to xanthine, a purine molecule with two oxygen atoms (see Figure 1). Several important compounds, including caffeine, consist of the xanthine molecule with methyl groups attached. A methyl group consists of a carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms. These methylated xanthines, called methylxanthines, are differentiated by the number and location of methyl groups at-

Figure 1

The Caffeine Molecule

Figure 1

The Caffeine Molecule tached to the xanthine molecule. Caffeine is a 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine. The "tri" refers to the fact that caffeine has three methyl groups. The "1,3, 7'' refers to the position of the methyl groups on the purine molecule. Other important methylxanthines include theophylline, theobromine, and paraxanthine. All these methylxanthines are metabolites of caffeine. In addition, theophylline and theobromine are ingested directly in some foods and medications.

Coping with Asthma

Coping with Asthma

If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.

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