Most types of tea and coffee contain caffeine, a substance that may boost mental performance and metabolism. Nowadays, though, there is an assortment of caffeinated beverages that people drink at all hours of the day. Although studies confirm that caffeine is safe for most people in low-to-moderate amounts, consuming high doses of caffeine can have unpleasant or dangerous side effects.
As is with most good things in life, too much caffeine can be very problematic. You may not experience caffeine poisoning, but there have been some instances where caffeine was the sole cause of death. These cases were common among psychiatric patients, infants, and athletes in the general population. Death by way of caffeine is very rare, and we don’t want to focus on that. This article aims to highlight symptoms of excess caffeine consumption.
How Much Is Too Much?
Current guidelines suggest that consuming up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day is safe for healthy adults. That equates to about four to five eight-ounce cups of coffee, an amount that can definitely cause people to lie awake at night. According to research from 2019, the upper limit for safe coffee consumption is six cups per day. More than that can be quite dangerous. It should also be noted that many nutritionists don’t advise consuming that much caffeine. The reality is that one to four cups per day is fairly standard for the average adult coffee consumer.
What is too much caffeine for one person may be fine for someone else. Caffeine does have certain health benefits, but if you experience the following signs, you may need to reevaluate your caffeine consumption.
A lot of people enjoy the fact that a cup of coffee helps to promote a bowel movement. Coffee does have a laxative affect, which researchers attribute to the release of gastrin, a hormone that the stomach produces to accelerate colon activity. Decaffeinated coffee demonstrates a similar response in the body. Caffeine also stimulates bowel movements by increasing peristalsis, the contractions that move food through the digestive tract. Drinking too much coffee may cause stomach ulcers or worsen symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease in some people. This is because caffeine can relax the muscle that keeps stomach contents from moving up into the esophagus.
You Have A Pounding Headache
A day or two without caffeine for some people can cause serious headaches. Interestingly enough, too much caffeine in the system can result in skull-crushing headaches. Too much caffeine can contribute to the onset of migraines in certain people. Consuming 200 mg of caffeine per day is fine for the majority of people, but people who experience frequent headaches may benefit from reducing caffeine consumption.
The Afternoon Slump
Food manufacturers tend to pump caffeine into various foods and beverages to make people feel like energetic superheroes. That means that you can counteract fatigue by chugging caffeine. Too much caffeine, however, can have the opposite effect after the body metabolizes it. When caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, the body can release the sleep-inducing chemical. Dozing off or losing motivation at 3 p.m. at work may be attributed to drinking too much caffeine earlier in the day.
You Feel Anxious
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people who suffer from anxiety should avoid caffeine at all costs. Too much caffeine can actually worsen the effects of anxiety. It’s possible that caffeine can rob you of proper sleep or trigger the body’s fight or flight response. Drinking too much caffeine can also cause caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, which is one of several caffeine-related syndromes. Exceeding 1,000 mg of caffeine per day increases jitteriness, anxiety, nervousness, and other similar symptoms. If you notice that you feel nervous or jittery after drinking caffeine, consider other ways to boost energy levels, like exercise.
You Can’t Tame Your Sweet Tooth
Can’t seem to stop craving donuts or cookies? Well, consuming a lot of caffeine can temporarily affect your taste buds, making food and drink seem less sweet. A 2017 study confirmed that this makes you crave more sugar to get your fix. If you find that you have a hankering for sweets or unhealthy foods close to the time you consume caffeine, it may be time to cut back. Reducing your caffeine intake may help you rebalance your taste perception so that you make healthier food choices.