How Likely Is A Caffeine Overdose
A person might find consuming too much caffeine and experiencing side effects to be easy. However, a life-threatening overdose is rare, and a caffeine overdose as a cause of death even rarer.
In a 2018 review of scientific journal articles, researchers identified 92 reported deaths from caffeine overdose. This review included all journals since online databases began. The researchers believe that around one-third of these deaths are likely to be suicide.
In general, caffeine will begin to affect the body if there are more than 15 milligrams per liter in the blood. A concentration of 80 to 100 mg/L can be fatal.
Caffeine overdose is most likely to result from taking a dietary supplement or caffeine tablets rather than from drinking coffee, especially when people combine these products with energy drinks, sodas, or coffee. Supplements increase the risk due to having higher levels of caffeine than foods and drinks.
Unlike drinking coffee, or even taking supplements containing caffeine, using purified caffeine powder is highly dangerous and much more likely to cause an overdose.
The United States Food and Drug Administration warns that a teaspoon of powdered caffeine can be equivalent to 28 cups of coffee. It stresses that pure and highly concentrated caffeine products can have serious health consequences.
How Can I Cut Back On Caffeine Without Causing Unpleasant Side Effects
If youre used to drinking caffeine-containing beverages every day, and want to cut back, its best to do so gradually. Stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, and nervousness. Unlike opioid or alcohol withdrawal, caffeine withdrawal is not considered dangerous, but it can be unpleasant. You may want to talk to your health care provider about how to cut back.
Should Teens Consume Energy Drinks
The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken a clear position on energy drinksthey have no place in the diets of children and adolescents.
A single energy drink could contain as much as 500 mg of caffeine, which is the equivalent of 14 cans of soda.
Despite the warning, approximately 50% of adolescents consume energy drinks and 31% consume caffeine on a regular basis. Some parents confuse energy drinks with sports drinks and many teens mistakenly believe energy drinks are healthy alternatives to soda.
Plus, energy drink companies create packaging and labels that appeal to a younger audience and frequently sponsor events that are likely to appeal to teens.
Energy drinks contain other substances that can be unhealthy for teens, including guarana, which is derived from a plant found in South America. Although it contains caffeine, its often not included in the caffeine tally.
Energy drinks can also contain amino acids, vitamins, and additives. The effects of these substances are largely unknown.
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Spilling The Beans: How Much Caffeine Is Too Much
According to scientists at the FDA, caffeine can be part of a healthy diet for most people, but too much caffeine may pose a danger to your health.
Do you drink just one cup of coffee or tea first thing in the morning, hoping the caffeine in it will jump-start your day? Do you follow it up with a caffeinated beverage or two and then drink several more cups of coffee throughout the day?
Does it matter?
According to scientists at the FDA, caffeine can be part of a healthy diet for most people, but too much caffeine may pose a danger to your health. Depending on factors such as body weight, medications you may take, and individual sensitivity, too much can vary from person to person.
Learn more about caffeine in the following questions and answers.
Potential Side Effects Of Caffeine
Caffeine is a natural substance that is derived from coffee beans, cocoa beans and tea leaves, but it can also be produced synthetically. The FDA reports that it may have beneficial effects, such as increased alertness and energy, when consumed in moderation.
After you ingest caffeine, you will feel the peak effects within 30 to 60 minutes, states the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The stimulant has a half-life of three to five hours. This is the time it takes for your body to get rid of half the drug. For example, if you drink one cup of coffee with 80 milligrams of caffeine, you may still have 40 milligrams of this substance left in your system after five hours or so.
That’s why it’s recommended not to drink caffeine for at least six hours before bedtime. There are several variables, such as your weight and metabolism, that affect how long the caffeine stays in your system. According to the FDA, common caffeine side effects may include:
- Fast heart rate
- Nausea or upset stomach
The National Poison Control Center reports that serious side effects, which may result from a caffeine overdose, often include vomiting, heart palpitations and high blood pressure. Overdosing on caffeine is unlikely to happen, but it may lead to seizures and even death. If you experience severe adverse reactions, seek medical attention immediately.
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Circulatory And Respiratory Systems
Caffeine is absorbed from your stomach. It reaches its highest levels in your bloodstream within an hour or two.
Caffeine can make your blood pressure go up for a short time. This effect is thought to be attributed to either an increase in adrenaline or a temporary block on the hormones that naturally widen your arteries. In most people, there is no long-term effect on blood pressure, but if you have irregular heart rhythms, caffeine may make your heart work harder. If you have high blood pressure or heart-related problems, ask your doctor if caffeine is safe for you to consume.
An overdose of caffeine may cause rapid or irregular heartbeat and breathing trouble. In rare cases, caffeine overdose can result in death due to convulsions or irregular heartbeat.
Caffeine in large amounts may interfere with absorption and metabolism of calcium. This can contribute to bone thinning .If you consume too much, caffeine may cause also your muscles to twitch.
If experiencing caffeine withdrawal, a symptom may include achy muscles.
What Are Caffeine’s Effects On The Body
Caffeine has many effects on your body’s metabolism. It
- Stimulates your central nervous system, which can make you feel more awake and give you a boost of energy
- Is a diuretic, meaning that it helps your body get rid of extra salt and water by urinating more
- Increases the release of acid in your stomach, sometimes leading to an upset stomach or heartburn
- May interfere with the absorption of calcium in the body
- Increases your blood pressure
Within one hour of eating or drinking caffeine, it reaches its peak level in your blood. You may continue to feel the effects of caffeine for four to six hours.
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What Coffee Has The Highest Caffeine
Black Label by Devil Mountain Coffee Company has the highest amount of caffeine which has 1500mg in a 12-ounce cup of coffee.
A trend in 2013 started by Death Wish Coffee became a race among brands to brew the most caffeinated coffee.
There are thousands of coffee brands that are in a race to develop different caffeine levels. Some commonly known brands like the Black Label, Tim Hortons, Nestle, and Starbucks make incredibly tasty pre-packed coffee.
However, when it comes to the most caffeinated brewed coffee, Black Label has won the race.
I wrote a separate article listing the strongest coffees ever and you can check it out if youre interested, but here are some of the few that I have listed.
Frequent Urination And Urgency
Increased urination is a common side effect of high caffeine intake due to the compounds stimulatory effects on the bladder.
You may have noticed that you need to urinate frequently when you drink more coffee or tea than usual.
Most research looking at the compounds effects on urinary frequency has focused on older people and those with overactive bladders or incontinence .
In one study, 12 young to middle-aged people with overactive bladders who consumed 2 mg of caffeine per pound of body weight daily experienced significant increases in urinary frequency and urgency .
For someone weighing 150 pounds , this would equate to about 300 mg of caffeine per day.
In addition, high intake may increase the likelihood of developing incontinence in people with healthy bladders.
One large study looked at the effects of high caffeine intake on incontinence in more than 65,000 women without incontinence.
Those who consumed more than 450 mg daily had a significantly increased risk of incontinence, compared to those who consumed less than 150 mg per day .
If you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages and feel that your urination is more frequent or urgent than it should be, it may be a good idea to cut back on your intake to see if your symptoms improve.
Summary: High caffeine
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Amounts Of Caffeine In Food And Drinks
Coffee may be the most common source of caffeine, but there are a lot of other sources. Cup for cup, tea has about half as much caffeine as coffee. Other sources include colas, energy drinks, over-the-counter medicines, chocolate, gum, and some snack foods.
When it comes to the amount of caffeine in drinks, don’t try to guess how much by the size of your beverage. “The amount of caffeine in coffee and tea depends on how they are brewed. Different brands can have different caffeine levels. One small energy drink could have the same amount of caffeine as a huge cup of coffee. You need to read labels,” says Everett.
Here are some examples of how much caffeine is in some typical foods and drinks:
- 20 ounces Dunkin’ Donuts with Turbo Shot: 436
- 20 ounces Starbucks coffee: 415
- 23.5 ounces Jolt energy drink: 280
- One caplet of NoDoz: 200
- 16 ounces McDonald’s coffee: 133
- Two Excedrin Migraine tablets: 130
- 8.4 ounces Red Bull: 80
- 8 ounces brewed black tea: up to 80
- 16 ounces Snapple lemon tea: 62
- 8 ounces brewed green tea: up to 60
- 12 ounces Pepsi MAX: 69
- 12 ounces Coca-Cola: 35
- One piece of Jolt gum: 45
- 4 ounces of Dannon coffee yogurt: 30
- One Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate bar : 20
- One Hershey’s Kiss: 1
You can get the complete list of caffeine amounts in food, drinks, and drugs at the website for the Center for Science in the Public Interest: http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm.
So How Long Does It Take To Process Caffeine
Did you know that caffeine stays in your blood from 1.5 hours to 9.5 hours? Accordingly, this means that it can take from 1.5 hours to 9.5 hours for caffeine levels in your blood to fall to half its original amount. Due to this wide time range, its difficult to know the exact amount of caffeine that can cause an overdose.
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How Long Symptoms Last
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, caffeines half-life is up to 5 hours. Half-life is the amount of time it takes for a quantity of a substance to be reduced to half the original amount.
So if youve consumed 10 milligrams of caffeine, after 5 hours, youll still have 5 mg of caffeine in your body.
The effects from caffeine reach peak levels within 30 to 60 minutes of consumption. This is the time youre most likely to experience the jittery effects of caffeine.
You might also urinate more due to the liquid volume being ingested and caffeines mild diuretic effect.
The other half of caffeine that you consume can last much longer than 5 hours.
People with caffeine sensitivities might feel symptoms for several hours or even a few days after consumption.
Due to the long-term effects of caffeine, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that you dont consume it at least six hours before bedtime. So if you go to bed at 10:00 p.m., you should have your last round of caffeine no later than 4:00 p.m.
You May Be Drinking Too Much Caffeine If Your Skin Begins To Prematurely Age
In a world where nearly everyone is yearning for a more youthful appearance, giving up caffeine could be the greatest solution. Yes, it turns out that your coffee could be at least partially to blame for prematurely aged skin.
While you regularly depend on caffeine to keep you alert and energized, drinking too much of this stuff can have the opposite effect on your appearance. As soon as you start drinking it, caffeine begins cutting down on your skin’s production of collagen. “Collagen gives the skin tightness and elasticity that is responsible for keeping its youthful and vibrant appearance,” registered dietitian Trista Best explained to Health Digest.
When you have less collagen, you get more wrinkles. Obviously, this is expected as we age, but not when we’re simply relying on caffeine to keep us going. While you may not be ready to give up your lattes just yet, you may want to consider reducing your consumption. “Cutting back on coffee is one way to prevent this decrease in collagen and improve skin’s appearance,” Best said.
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Medications For Diabetes Interacts With Caffeine
Caffeine might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. Taking some medications for diabetes along with caffeine might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride , glyburide , insulin, pioglitazone , rosiglitazone , chlorpropamide , glipizide , tolbutamide , and others.
How To Cut Back On Caffeine Without Withdrawal Headaches
Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. If youre swallowing less than 400 mg per day and arent bothered by side effects, you may not need to give up your morning latte or your afternoon soda fix.
But what if you wish your cold brew habit had less control over you? Step one is to recognize how much caffeine youre consuming. The stimulant is found in many food and non-food sources, including:
- Weight loss supplements.
- Over-the-counter medications, including some pain relievers.
Once you know where your caffeine is coming from, make a plan to cut back, Czerwony says. To avoid a headache or other withdrawal symptoms, cut caffeine down gradually over several weeks. Czerwony recommends swapping your usual coffee for half decaf. Or try replacing every other can of soda with fizzy water or herbal tea.
With some trial and error, youll find a balance that leaves you alert and energized, but without the unpleasant side effects. There are benefits to caffeine, but it can really get away from you, Czerwony says. Too much of a good thing is still too much.
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How To Get Help
If you use a lot of caffeinedrinking the equivalent of more than three cups of tea or coffee per dayit may be negatively affecting your health, so lowering your intake is worth considering.
The best approach is to gradually taper your caffeine consumption. Doing this lowers your dependence gradually while minimizing the negative effects of withdrawal.
It is important to be aware of all of the different sources of your intake, including foods, energy drinks, caffeine, tea, and soft drinks. Try eliminating these sources progressively by replacing them with lower-caffeine or caffeine-free alternatives.
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your caffeine use, or contact SAMSHA at 1-800-662-4357 to find mental health services in your area.
Drinking Too Much Caffeine Can Cause You To Have Heart Palpitations
We all know of the oh-so romantic notion that your heart will skip a beat when you see something you love cough, coffee, cough but your excessive cups of caffeine could literally be causing your heart to beat differently. “Caffeine causes your brain to release compounds like adrenaline, which can increase your heart rate,” Dr. Andrea Paul, physician and medical advisor to Illuminate Labs, revealed in an exclusive interview with Health Digest. This effect can cause you to have an inconsistent heartbeat or even palpitations if you choose to pick up an additional cuppa.
However, just like how our hearts all have their own rhythms, everyone reacts differently to caffeine. “Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others,” Dr. Paul added. So, when it comes to these irregularities with your heart, you should be aware that “it really depends on the individual.”
Fortunately for us caffeinated drink enthusiasts, it’s rare for palpitations to lead to long-term heart problems. Still, if your off-beat heart is bothersome, you can look to give up caffeine entirely .
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You’re Drinking Too Much Caffeine If This Happens To Your Body
For some, caffeine is everything. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a busy businessperson, the kick it gives probably keeps you going. “Basically, caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, making you feel more awake and alert,” Dr. Esteban Kosak, medical advisor and physician, told Health Digest. It’s no wonder so many of us depend on it to get through the day.
However, too much of this good thing can actually be a bad thing. The FDA recommends keeping our caffeine intake under 400 milligrams each day, though there some people should put down their cup even sooner. This is because our bodies all respond to caffeine differently. How much coffee you should have on any given day depends on the medications you take, foods you eat, and even your metabolism. “People should keep in mind that caffeine is a drug and can have consequences on multiple levels if overused,” Dr.Thomas Pitts, board-certified neurologist, cautioned in an interview with Health Digest.
Before you decide to pick up a second cup of joe or third or fourth or fifth there may be a few signs telling you to stop. Here’s a look at what happens to your body if you’re drinking too much caffeine.