How do I know I am drinking too much caffeine in a day?
Is caffeine good for health, or is it just another ingredient in our favourite foods and drinks that leads to a life less well-lived? That all depends on how you consume it, and how much of it you consume …
If you enjoy your caffeine, you are not alone: Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Caffeine is considered a drug because the effects thereof can change the way you act and feel. And like other drugs, you can also get addicted to it and have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it.
Caffeine wakes up your brain and makes you feel more alert. It also can boost your energy level and keep you from feeling tired for a while. Coffee and tea are associated with the prevention of certain cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.
In addition, research shows a strong association between caffeine intake and weight loss.
Negative side effects
Coffee can also cause negative side effects depending on the dose. The side effects at higher doses include restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Withdrawal symptoms from high doses of caffeine can include headache and fatigue.
Too much coffee can cause your heart to beat faster, and can increase your blood pressure.
How much is too much?
Most people do not have to worry about cutting back on caffeine as long as they are staying under about 500 milligrams. That’s about four cups of coffee a day.
Most experts agree that getting more than 600 milligrams per day is too much. But if you are sensitive to caffeine, even one or two cups of coffee could cause side effects. Children may be very sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
For pregnant women, the safe limit is only 200 milligrams. You may need to be extra careful if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, or acid reflux disease.
At high enough doses, caffeine can be deadly for anyone. A lethal dose is about 10 grams, which would be about 100 cups of coffee.
Symptoms of too much caffeine
Consuming too much may give you that jumpy and slightly alarmed feeling known as the jitters. Larger amounts of caffeine may make you irritable, sleepless, and possibly trigger anxiety, cause diarrhea, and prevent the absorption of calcium in your body. Other side effects include:
- Frequent urination
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Heart palpitations or fast heartbeat
- Muscle spasms
- Upset stomach
If you’re wondering whether you should curb your caffeine intake, if you’re feeling jittery, anxious, or having trouble sleeping it might be a good idea to cut back.
Tips for reducing your daily intake
Kicking the habit cold turkey isn’t recommended as it can lead to symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, which will eventually pass. It’s recommended that you take a few weeks to gradually reduce your caffeine intake and dependency. Try these tips to start cutting back on your consumption:
- Swap coffee with tea
- Switch to decaf
- Alternate between decaf and regular
- Quit caffeinated soda and energy drinks
- Keep a log of daily consumption
While children under 12 should avoid caffeine and adolescents should limit their consumption, other groups should be cautious as well. Those with medical conditions including heart problems or nervous system disorders should limit their consumption. It can also affect the absorption of certain medications and may lead to dangerous drug interactions.
It’s all in moderation
If you’re finding it hard to quantify your intake, measure your consumption against the way it makes you feel. As long as caffeine isn’t giving you the shakes or causing you to lose sleep and you’re staying within the four cup per day limit, you’re probably making the most of caffeine’s notable health benefits.
Be sure to visit to visit your nearest The Local Choice Pharmacy for trusted healthcare advice.
Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It does not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.