How Much Coffee is Too Much Coffee?

July 18, 2017

Millions of people rely on coffee to enhance focus, reduce fatigue, and increase wakefulness. While generally considered safe, caffeine can become problematic when ingested in high amounts. If you use coffee or energy drinks to get you going, learn about the potential health effects of excessive caffeine consumption.
What Is a Safe Amount?
Studies suggest that adults can safely tolerate up to 400 milligrams of caffeine in one day. This equates to four cups of coffee, two energy beverages, or ten cans of soda. Caffeine is not recommended for children, and adolescents should limit their consumption.
How Much Is Too Much?
While most people can tolerate 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, some people are more sensitive to its effects. When someone ingests too much caffeine they may experience a several unwanted symptoms, including:

  • Migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Frequent urination
  • Muscle tremors

Certain herbal supplements and medications can also negatively interact with caffeine. Some examples include ephedrine, theophylline, and Echinacea. In some instances the combination of caffeine and these drugs or herbs can increase a person's risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and seizures.
Curbing Your Caffeine Use
For many people, caffeine can become an addiction, complete with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue, irritability, headaches, and difficulty focusing. You can reduce these symptoms by gradually decreasing your caffeine consumption over a period of time.
Do I Really Need to Cut Back?
If you're like most Americans, caffeine is a big part of your daily routine. That said, there are some benefits to curtailing your consumption. Because it has a very long half-life, caffeine tends to disrupt sleep. This can be especially problematic since inadequate sleep has been linked to all sorts of health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and, depression. What's more, because they tend to develop tolerances to caffeine, many people need to increase their consumption to attain the desired effects.
For these reasons, it's a good idea to reduce your caffeine consumption, especially if you are taking other medications that might interact.

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