How much caffeine is too much?
By Dr Mike Edgley - Docklands Health
Every caffeine drinking Docklander will tell themselves that there is no such thing as “too much caffeine.” But that’s probably the addict talking, because caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world with some fairly unpleasant side effects of consuming too much – some of them are mild, others can be dangerous.
How does caffeine affect the body?
That delicious cup of coffee in the morning or that effervescent buzz you get when you down an energy drink begins affecting your body almost immediately. Caffeine is a stimulant that affects your central nervous system, making you feel more awake, alert, and focused. It’s mostly consumed through food and drinks such as:
- Coffee and tea
- Guarana-based energy drinks
What are some of the side effects of too much caffeine?
Some side effects of an over-consumption of caffeine can be mild and often mistaken for other causes. Some of the milder ways your body may tell you it’s had too much include:
Caffeine can trigger the release of adrenaline, putting your nervous system in a state of “fight-or-flight,” increasing your heart rate and heightening your senses. For some people, this state can cause anxiety and panic.
Caffeine is often used as morning trigger to stimulate the bowel and get things moving. Too much caffeine can in turn cause an over stimulation of the bowels and result in diarrhoea. It can also cause issues in the opposite direction with people experiencing heartburn and reflux after consuming larger quantities.
What goes up must come down and the same is true for your energy levels. Caffeine triggers a spike in energy, but as it begins to wear off, it can cause your levels to plummet and make you feel tired and exhausted, which some people attempt to remedy by consuming more caffeine – and a vicious cycle begins.
More trips to the toilet
Increased urination is one of those annoying side effects of consuming lots of caffeine. Since caffeine is a stimulant, your bladder is also in the firing line meaning you may be making frequent trips to the toilet.
How much caffeine is okay to consume daily?
There are a lot of factors at play when determining how much caffeine is acceptable to consume daily such as your body mass index (BMI), metabolism, tolerance, and other existing conditions. Current studies suggest that on a general level, around 400mg of caffeine per day is acceptable (around one to three coffees). Luckily, there are plenty of natural ways to get an energy boost without relying on caffeine! •