by Selmir Omic
Have you ever wondered how much caffeine is too much? Some thrill-seekers would say "The sky is the limit!"
The fact is, the sky is clearly not the limit when it comes to caffeine consumption. Caffeine can pose a serious health risk if abused.
That said, on the bright side, caffeine does get rid of fatigue, improves your concentration, and increases wakefulness, so its easy to see why people like it or even require it to get through the day.
Caffeine itself is not the villain here. Even drinking too much water can cause harm to your body. However, if you feel that caffeine is your trusted ally when it comes to getting you through the day, there is definitely a specific limit to the amount of caffeine any one person can consume before it becomes very unhealthy for them.
If you are a healthy adult, you may be able to consume up to 400 milligrams and still be in the safe zone when it comes to caffeine, so says the Daily Mail in 2015. If we break that specific amount down into beverage amounts, that's four cups of coffee or two energy drinks, or around ten cans of cola.
The Mayo Clinic has released their reports in 2014 for the amounts of caffeine which can be found in various beverages, such as soft drinks, coffee, tea, energy drinks, and other products. For instance, with today's most popular soft drinks, you'll be consuming somewhere between 10 and 50 milligrams per 12 oz. serving. That means in order to reach that 400 milligram limit, you would need to drink, yes, a whole lot of pop to start tweaking out on caffeine.
With coffee, the stats are different, as one might expect. Four cups of coffee seems to be the limit there. So, four cups of caffeinated coffee still not enough for you? Feel like you need more than 10 cans of pop per day? Well, continuing on in this direction might pose a problem for you not far down the road.
While the average adult can handle 400 milligrams of coffee per day, its a totally different story for children, who should only take in a maximum of 100 milligrams of caffeine per day. One might ask, do children really even need any caffeine at all? Soft drinks are a popular choice for all ages, and this is where much of the caffeine consumption comes from for children.
Adults who are on medication or are overly sensitive to certain stimuli may want to rethink consuming more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, as the side effects can be unpleasant to say the least. If you find that you are consuming more caffeine than that, such as in the 500-600 mg neighborhood, here's some of the things you might come to expect:
To all of the sensitive souls out there, it is you that might be the first to experience such effects from caffeine. In fact, if you're overly susceptible to stimulation from caffeine, even just a small amount, such as one cup of coffee or tea, might bring on a few waves of feeling less than zen. Panic attacks from too much caffeine are not uncommon these days if it doesn't take much to put you on edge, and sleeping soundly that night? Forget about it!
If you're someone who doesn't regularly consume caffeine in whatever form it comes in, there's a good chance that you'll be feeling the negative effects before long. Of course, the way caffeine effects a person will depend on their age, their size, and other health conditions including anxiety disorders. Medications, as we mentioned, will play a part in how the caffeine affects you as well. Research has also shown that men are more susceptible to the effects of caffeine than women, so guys, take note!
If caffeine is something you use to get you out of bed, and keep you motoring through the day, this may lead to an unpleasant cycle which increases your dependency on things like coffee and energy drinks. This, in turn, can lead to cumulative sleep loss, which means that at some point its going to catch up with you. People usually need their 8 hours of sleep to function properly, and if you find you're running on less and less hours of sleep at night, caffeine intake might just be the culprit.
If you take certain forms of medication, just be aware that there are a few in particular that don't jive so well with caffeine. These medications include:
Antibacterial medications such as Noroxin and Cipro can wreak havoc with caffeine once its in your system, causing it to not break down properly, which prolongs its effects. In other cases, these medications have been known to increase the potency of caffeine in your system, which can also lead to undesirable situations.
Echinacea is a herbal supplement which is a great way to battle colds or fight against infections, but it also interacts with caffeine in a way that amplifies its effects, which is something to take into consideration.
Theophylline has the effect of relaxing the muscles which control your air passages and give your bronchial airways a chance to open up. When taking this medication alongside caffeine, its like a double dose, which can cause increased heart rate, not to mention nausea and vomiting in some cases.
If you are taking medications of any kind, speak to your physician about how those medications might interact with caffeine, in order that you can avoid any ill-effects.
If coffee, tea, or energy drinks are something you enjoy a little too much perhaps on a daily basis, you may need to cut back at some point, which can be a challenge.
People often report withdrawal symptoms from simply cutting caffeine out of their day, leading to all sorts of problems such as the desire to go ballistic in one form or another, or you might just crash. Like any type of dependence, this uncomfortable feeling can wear off after a few days as you start to return to normal, but the cravings for it can sometimes lead to involuntary getting into drive-thru lines and placing huge, unnecessary orders.
If you're craving some coffee right now as you're reading this, this may come across as a bit of a lecture, but it isn't intended to sound that way. Its just advice that we all need from time to time.
Everyone hates hearing this little tidbit of advice - "just do it." If it was that easy, wouldn't you already be doing it? Friends, its all about baby steps. If five cups of coffee a day is your norm, try to make it four and see what happens. You might be rewarded with a more restful sleep that, which is a great thing, and may encourage you to repeat the process.
Once again, this requires a bit of work. Checking exactly what goes into your system in terms of milligrams of caffeine can help you become more aware of your daily intake, and maybe even help you cut back on caffeine easier. Caffeine can be hiding in some surprising places, so always check to see what you are consuming and maybe even keep a journal. Hey, its an option.
This might seem to defeat the purpose behind things like coffee, tea, or energy drinks, but if you can manage to substitute one of your several daily doses of caffeine for a lot less caffeine, it might be worth a try. Of course, a lot of these tips only really come into play when you feel there's a problem. If you have a bit of a reliance on caffeine, it might be worth trying one or more of these methods for cutting back.
There is a reason companies are making so many flavors of tea these days, and one reason is because its a great way to avoid too much caffeine. Some tea shops literally have hundreds of different teas you can try. Surely one of them might strike your fancy.
If we are rushing around all day, sometimes we can let our coffee brew too long, and it can be over-caffeinated. If you reduce your brew time just a little bit, it can make a big difference overall.
Some pain relievers do contain caffeine - sometimes as much as 130 milligrams, so that can really add up if you're combining that with things like coffee and Red Bull. Just be sure to read the bottle on those to see if they do contain caffeine and how much.
Caffeine has been said to be somewhat addictive, depending on the person. Don't let yourself go overboard with caffeine, as it can be dangerous. Try to moderate your intake as best you can and try to avoid situations that are going to require you to go, go, go all the time. Of course we all love our coffee around here, so don't think we're saying its time to cut it off. We are just saying, take care of yourself first!
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About Selmir Omic
Selmir Omic is KYG's cannabis lifestyle writer. He currently resides in San Francisco and can often be found enjoying design-forward cannabis accessories, candles and seltzer simultaneously. When he's not writing about pot or waxing poetic about vape pens, Selmir can be counted on to offer sage advice about the best strains for anxiety or how to make cannabutter without a stovetop.