The effect of caffeine on the voice and natural alternatives for mental clarity and energy
There are many different opinions on the use of caffeine by the voice professional. One camp argues that caffeine helps them to feel more energy, stimulates them mentally and quells the appetite. Another camp responds by saying that caffeine should not be used because it dries out the vocal cords, dehydrates the body and can negatively affect the nervous system. So the question is, should voice professionals ingest caffeine at all?
In a study done by the Journal of Laryngogly and Otology by the Cambridge University Press from December 1998, the Journal came to the conclusion that “Caffeine is considered to be a dehydrating agent with detrimental effects on the quality of voice of persons ingesting it. This has led medical personnel dealing with voice disorders, especially in the case of professional voice users, to give advice against the use of caffeine.”
The article did not go into the “detrimental” effects specifically, however, further in the article it claimed “Analysing the irregularities of frequencies in a) free speech b) a reading passage and c) singing ‘Happy Birthday’, substantial changes were seen to authenticate the fact that caffeine does produce alterations in voice quality but these alterations have considerable intrasubject variability. A full study with wider parameters is to be performed on this subject as we consider it to be of importance in the management of voice disorders.”
So what can we eat or drink to give us more energy and help us focus that will not have a negative effect on our voice?
In my past posts ” Quick and easy energy drink before auditions or performances”, ” You sing what you eat”, “Energy and the need for vitamin B12”, and “McDonalds and focus in the brain”, along with endless sources online, you have more than enough choices for excellent foods and supplements that can give you energy, stimulate the nervous system in healthy and balanced ways, providing you with the mental clarity needed to sing at the top of your game.
If you are consuming a lot of caffeine on a regular basis before you sing, try and slowly wean yourself off of it. In the beginning it may seem more difficult to get the sound you have been producing but sooner than later you will begin to feel better, sing more efficiently and your entire mind body and spirit will adjust allowing you to access more of your natural life energy. Thus enabling you to become stronger and have a more balanced and powerful voice.
Good luck and as always I wish you the best on your quest for Superior Vocal Health.
David Aaron Katz