Some forms of beverages contain caffeine, a drug that can boost your mood, mental and physical efficiency and metabolism. Studies have also shown that intake in low-to-moderate quantities is healthy for most people. There may be uncomfortable and even dangerous side effects of consuming too much caffeine. Research has shown that the genes are having a major impact on your sensitivity.
Many people can consume much more caffeine than others without having negative effects. After consuming what we typically consider a moderate dose, individuals who are not used to caffeine may experience symptoms. Here are 8 side effects of consuming too much caffeine.
One of its most valuable attributes is the power of caffeine to help people stay awake. It can be hard to get enough restorative sleep while consuming too much caffeine. Studies have found that higher doses of caffeine seem to increase the time to fall asleep. It may also reduce total sleep time, for elderly people (1).
An energy shot, for example, can contain up to 350 mg of caffeine, while some energy drinks provide as much as 500 mg per can. It depends on your genes and other factors of how much caffeine you can drink without disrupting your sleep (3).
Caffeine ingested in the evening can interfere with sleep because it may take several hours to wear off its effects. Research has shown that although caffeine stays in your body for an average of five hours, depending on the individual, the time could vary from one hour and a half to nine hours (4).
One research examined how sleep is influenced by the timing of caffeine intake. Researchers gave 400 mg of caffeine to 12 healthy adults either six hours before bedtime, three hours before bedtime or just before bedtime. All three participants struggled to fall asleep and the time they spent awake at night increased (5).
These results suggest that to optimize your sleep, it is important to pay attention to the timing of consuming caffeine.
2. Muscle Breakdown
Rhabdomyolysis is a very serious condition that reaches the bloodstream with weakened muscle fibers, leading to kidney failure and other complications. Some cases of rhabdomyolysis have been reported because of excessive consumption of caffeine, although this is rare (6).
In one instance, after drinking 32 ounces of coffee containing around 565 mg of caffeine, a woman experienced nausea, diarrhea, and dark urine. After being provided with drugs and fluids, she recovered (7).
This is a large dose of caffeine that can be absorbed in a short time, for someone who is not used to it or who is sensitive to its effects. To reduce the risk of rhabdomyolysis, it is best to limit your consumption to 250 mg of caffeine per day.
3. High Blood Pressure
In most cases, caffeine does not appear to increase the risk of heart disease or stroke. Because of its stimulating effect on the nervous system, however, it has been shown to increase blood pressure in several studies (8).
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke because, over time, it can damage the arteries, reducing blood flow to your heart and brain. The effect of caffeine on blood pressure is temporary.
For healthy people and in those with elevated blood pressure, a high intake of caffeine has also been shown to increase blood pressure during exercise. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the dosage and timing of caffeine, if you have high blood pressure already (9).
4. Frequent Urination
Greater urination because of the stimulating effects of the compound on the bladder is a common side effect of high intake of caffeine. You may have noticed that when you drink more coffee or tea than usual, you need to urinate frequently. Some research has concentrated on older people and those with overactive bladders or incontinence to investigate the impact of the compound on urinary frequency (10).
This would be about 300 mg of caffeine per day for anyone weighs 150 pounds. High intake can increase the likelihood that people with healthy bladders may develop incontinence.
In over 65,000 women without incontinence, one large study investigated the effects of high consumption of caffeine on incontinence. Those who consumed over 450 mg a day had a higher risk of incontinence relative to those who consumed less than 150 mg a day (12).
When you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages and find your urination is more frequent or urgent than you should be, cutting back on your intake may be a good idea to see if your symptoms are decreasing.
We understand that caffeine improves alertness. This works by blocking adenosine’s influence, brain chemistry that makes you feel tired. Adrenaline, the hormone associated with increased energy, is released (13).
Such symptoms, however, may become more pronounced at higher doses, resulting in anxiety and nervousness. In addition, anxiety disorder caused by caffeine is one of the caffeine-related syndromes listed.
A daily intakes of 1,000 mg and more per day in most people have been documented to cause nervousness, jitteriness and similar symptoms, whereas even low intakes may lead to similar effects in individuals sensitive to caffeine (14).
The levels of stress are comparable between daily and less frequent users of caffeine, showing that the compound may have the same impact on stress levels regardless of whether you drink it (16).
Such findings, however, are unofficial. The caffeine content in coffee is variable. A big cup of coffee contains around 300 mg of caffeine for comparison. It may be a good idea to look at your consumption of caffeine and cut it back if you find that you often feel nervous.
6. Digestive Issues
A morning cup of coffee makes many people move their bowels. They attributed the laxative effect of coffee to gastrin release. The stomach produces this hormone to speed up activity in the colon.
Through the peristalsis, the contractions that pass food through your digestive tract, caffeine itself also induces bowel movements. It is not surprising, given this effect, that in some people large doses of caffeine can lead to loose stools or even diarrhea (17).
While they thought coffee to cause stomach ulcers for many years, there was no correlation between the two found in a large study of over 8,000 people (18).
Because coffee can have major effects on digestive function, if you have any complications, you may want to cut back on how much you drink or change to tea.
We understand that coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages raise energy levels. These may also have the opposite effect, however, by causing exhaustion to rebound after the caffeine leaves the body.
A study found that while caffeinated energy drinks increased alertness and improved mood for several hours, the following day participants were often more tired than usual (19).
You can stop the rebound effect if you continue to drink plenty of caffeine throughout the day. That can affect your sleeping capacity. Use it in the medium rather than high doses to maximize the benefits of caffeine on energy and prevent rebound fatigue.
For all the health benefits of caffeine, it can become habit-forming. A detailed review shows that while caffeine activates some brain chemicals similar to cocaine and amphetamines. It does not induce classic dependence in the manner in which these substances do (20).
It may, however, lead to psychological or physical dependency, at high doses. Medium or no caffeine took part in a word test. Even high consumers of caffeine preferred words related to caffeine and heavy cravings for caffeine (21).
In another report, after 16 hours without drinking it, 213 consumers of caffeine completed questionnaires. Regular caffeine consumers had higher rates of headaches, exhaustion, and other signs of withdrawal than non-regular users (22).
While the compound does not seem to cause true dependence if you drink a lot of coffee daily. There is a very good chance that you may become dependent on its effects.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural alkaloid that people have been consuming because of its stimulating effects for centuries. It occurs among other items in coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans. It is also added to various foods such as baking products ice cream, cookies, cola drinks, and energy drinks.
What kind of desired and undesired effects does caffeine have?
Caffeine activates the cardiovascular and central nervous systems, improving both physical performance and cognitive alertness in moderate doses.
Adverse effects such as increased nervousness, sleeplessness, panic attacks, and palpitations can occur with a high intake of caffeine. However, the frequency of adverse effects depends on individual caffeine exposure and the ingested dosage.
Excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure over a longer period. For pregnant women, increased consumption of caffeine over a longer period can cause reduced growth of the fetus.
How fast does the body absorb caffeine?
Caffeine is absorbed by the body very quickly. Caffeine’s stimulating effects can occur 15 to 30 minutes and last for several hours. It metabolizes caffeine in the liver and then excreted through the kidneys.
How much caffeine is safe?
Up to 200 mg as a single dose does not raise concerns in many people. For healthy adults, intake of up to 400 mg of caffeine is considered safe throughout the day.
What are the main sources of caffeine intake?
Through coffee, chocolate, and tea, adolescents ingest caffeine. The study conducted by the EFSA in 2012 10 percent of the total intake of caffeine comes from energy drinks. However, consumption habits can be very different.
How much caffeine energy drinks contain?
There is 320 mg of caffeine per liter in conventional energy drinks. This means how much caffeine is ingested compared to energy drinks with other beverages containing caffeine.
The Bottom Line
Moderate consumption of caffeine provides many people with remarkable health benefits. On the other hand, high dosages may cause side effects. This can interfere with everyday life and may even cause serious health problems.
Although responses differ from person to person, high intake results suggest that more is not better. To get the benefits of caffeine without side effects, consume it 300 mg per day.