Abuja — Dr Dades Obed, an Abuja-based Consultant General Surgeon, on Tuesday advised Nigerians against excessive intake of kola nut because of its health implications.
Obed told journalists in Abuja that kola nut should be taken occasionally, especially during ceremonies, to avoid health implications of excessive intake.
"Kola nut is a fruit of the kola tree, which is native to Africa; it has social, cultural and religious significance.
"It could be used religiously; it is also socially used for naming ceremonies and weddings, " he said.
He said that in some parts of the country, people commonly used it to entertain guests.
"It contains a lot of caffeine; we know that caffeine is a stimulant, so kola nut can be said to be a stimulant."
He said the nut was also known to have other components like theobromine, a molecule similar to caffeine and riboflavin, niacin, both types of B vitamin.
Obed explained that kola nut had its positive uses, including aiding digestion, because it increased acid secretion.
He said it was found to have caffeine, medically known as a bronchodilator, which opened up the air ways.
"So people with asthma and other diseases that lead to constitution of the air ways might benefit from intake of kola nut, to help in opening up the air ways.
"Kola nut is also an important flavouring agent for soft drinks such as coca cola but not used anymore, artificial flavours are being used now," he said.
He said that kola nut was also partly a performance enhancer because of its stimulating effect; as such, labourers used it as a source of energy to keep working.
"Kola nut is also known to suppress hunger and takes care of hunger pranks.
"It is not without its implications anyway, it enhances or increases acid secretion in the stomach, " he said.
Obed said that patients with duodenal or peptic ulcer disease should avoid kola nut because of the acidic effect on the stomach, which could worsen the symptoms of ulcer.