How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can boost your energy, mood, and mental performance. Many people enjoy caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks on a daily basis. But how much caffeine is too much? And what are the potential risks of consuming too much caffeine?
How Much Caffeine Is Safe?
According to the FDA, healthy adults can safely consume up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day². That's roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola, or two energy shot drinks². However, this amount may vary depending on your body weight, sensitivity, metabolism, and other factors³. Some people may experience negative effects from much less caffeine, while others may tolerate more without any problems.
Children and teenagers should limit their caffeine intake to no more than 2.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram (kg) of body weight³. For example, a 50 kg (110 lb) teenager should not have more than 125 mg of caffeine per day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also limit their caffeine intake to no more than 200 mg per day².
What Are the Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine?
Consuming too much caffeine can cause unpleasant and potentially harmful side effects, such as:
- Increased blood pressure
In rare cases, very high doses of caffeine can cause more serious complications, such as seizures, hallucinations, arrhythmias, and even death². The lethal dose of caffeine is estimated to be around 10 grams (10,000 mg), which is equivalent to about 100 cups of coffee². However, this amount can vary depending on individual factors and the source of caffeine.
How to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
If you want to cut back on your caffeine intake, here are some tips to help you:
- Gradually reduce your consumption over time to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and mood swings².
- Choose decaffeinated or low-caffeine alternatives such as herbal teas, fruit juices, or water².
- Read the labels of foods and beverages that may contain caffeine, such as chocolate, energy bars, supplements, and medications².
- Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages to the morning or early afternoon to avoid disrupting your sleep quality².
- Monitor your symptoms and how you feel after consuming caffeine. If you experience any negative effects, reduce your intake or avoid it altogether³.
Caffeine can have positive effects on your energy, mood, and cognition when consumed in moderation. However, too much caffeine can cause unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects. The safe amount of caffeine for you may depend on your individual factors and preferences. If you want to reduce your caffeine intake, do it gradually and choose decaffeinated or low-caffeine alternatives.
(1) Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678.
(2) Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much? | FDA. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/spilling-beans-how-much-caffeine-too-much.
(3) 5 Ways to Recover From Being Overcaffeinated | Right as Rain. https://rightasrain.uwmedicine.org/body/food/too-much-caffeine.
(4) How Much Caffeine Is Too Much? Side Effects and Risks - Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/too-much-caffeine-5207200.
(5) How Much Caffeine Is Too Much? | Moriondo. https://moriondocoffee.com/blogs/news/how-much-caffeine-too-much.