How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Are Dependent Upon Caffeine?

I drink a lot of coffee. A few cups in the morning. Then more in the afternoon. I confess that I probably depend on caffeine more than I should. But in today’s fast-paced society, it feels … justified, right?

Are You Consuming Too Much Caffeine?

“How much caffeine is too much?” – As a doctor, I hear this all the time.

Put another way, “How much caffeine is safe?” The answer is somewhere around 400 mg per day, or the amount in about 4 cups of brewed coffee. The lethal dose of caffeine on the other hand is around 1 gram (for adults), or the equivalent of 100 cups of coffee.  Somewhere between 4 and 100 though, you will definitely feel some undesirable side effects – nausea, irritability, and feeling jittery.

Dangers of Energy Drinks

Energy drinks may contain as much as 300mg of caffeine. These should be approached with caution, as you can see that even one will get you close to your daily limit.

What about the pure forms of caffeine powder being sold online? Well, those are just flat out dangerous. Just 1/16th of a teaspoon contains 200mg, and virtually nobody has the appropriate scale at home to measure that kind of dosage.  That is why the FDA issued a stern warning to companies selling both powdered and liquid forms of pure caffeine this week. One 16 ounce package contains multiple lethal doses.

Here’s a few other scenarios to consider as it relates to excess caffeine consumption:

  • If you take stimulants for ADD. The combination can elevate your blood pressure, so talk to your doctor about the appropriate caffeine intake for you.
  • Taking Sudafed® or other OTC meds containing pseudoephedrine.  The combination of this and caffeine can elevate your blood pressure.
  • Echinacea can increase the concentration of caffeine in your bloodstream.

Sleep May Be Interrupted By Caffeine

Having trouble sleeping?  You could be drinking too much caffeine.

Or maybe you just want to limit what you’re spending at Starbucks.  Either way, if your consumption is getting up over 400 mg per day, think about gradually cutting back.  And always be sure to limit caffeinated beverages with kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids and adolescents should never consume energy drinks (like Monster® and the like).

If you have questions about your caffeine consumption, especially if it relates to one of the above scenarios or another medicine taken regularly, feel free to chat with us online or book a quick video visit.