The Dangers of Too Much Caffeine

When people think of caffeine they think of coffee and soda, but caffeine is also in medicine, tea, energy drinks and more. Many people rely on caffeine to give them a boost of energy through the day, but consuming too much caffeine can have negative health consequences. Caffeine can even be dangerous to your health and sometimes death.

Once the body relies on caffeine to get going, it becomes an addictive substance. There are millions of people who can’t get through the day without a cup of coffee, soda or an energy drink. The boosting of energy happens in about 30 minutes, but decreases quickly. This is known as an energy crash.

Art by Valinor

This crash includes symptoms of fatigue and headache. They are eased when the person has another dose of caffeine. Consuming too much caffeine can make a person dependent on it in order to function on a daily basis.

Moderate consumption of caffeine is generally considered safe. This is a very small amount at 250 milligrams, which is equal to three cups of coffee per day. Even this, however, can be misleading. Many people are sensitive to caffeine without realizing it, and this small amount can produce negative effects, and lead to withdrawal symptoms when consumption is stopped.

Children should not consume caffeine. It is taxing on their body as it expends energy for growth, brain development and bone development. Caffeine disrupts this process, and produces side-effects mentioned below. These side-effects are often worse in children than in adults.

Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine

The very reason many people consume caffeine is for the energy boost, but this boost is caused by the causing a chemical reaction in the adrenal gland that controls the fight or flight response of the body. Too much caffeine can cause adrenal fatigue because it keeps the body in fight or flight mode indefinitely.

This can lead to severe fatigue that even caffeine can not help.

Anxiety is another side effect of drinking more caffeine than you should. Those sensitive to caffeine will experience anxiety with minimal doses.

The risk of osteoporosis increases with high doses of caffeine. The body’s ability to absorb calcium is reduced leading to a decrease in bone mass density.

The over consumption of caffeine can cause difficulty sleeping. This is because caffeine is a stimulant, and using too much does not allow the body to get the signals that it should rest.

While a small amount of caffeine may help a headache, too much can cause one. It’s true that caffeine is the active ingredient in many pain medicines, but the dosage in those medicines is low. Taking a medication with caffeine on top of drinking or eating foods with caffeine can produce the opposite effect.

The pain from fibrocystic breast disease is increased with the use of caffeine.

Caffeine is passed through the placenta to the baby of a pregnant mother. When the mother’s heart rate and metabolism increase, the baby is negatively impacted.

Caffeine causes more frequent urination, and when used in excess can cause dehydration.

Understanding Caffeine Withdrawal

When someone decides they want to cut caffeine from their diet after habitually over consuming, they are immediately hit with withdrawal symptoms such as headache, fatigue, irritability and depression. This is because the chemical response that the body has relied on is no longer provided.

Withdrawal can last anywhere from two to nine days, and begin anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after cutting caffeine from the diet.

The best method to take caffeine from the diet is to go slowly by reducing intake over a period of time.

Withdrawal symptoms are still likely, but the severity will be reduced if this method is used.

4 thoughts on “The Dangers of Too Much Caffeine

  1. me

    coffee is called the devil’s cup. if i don’t have coffee within the first hour of waking up, i’ll have a severe migraine and even vomiting. easy to understand why it’s called the devil’s cup.

  2. BelvaM

    It is extremely unfortunate that caffeine — from all sources, as you mentioned, including energy drinks — is so prevalent and that by and large people are not fully informed of the damaging effects upon the body. The link to osteoporosis, for example, I’m sure is not widely known, and yet it should be.

    And caffeine is absolutely an addiction. I can vouch for that. Years ago when I did office temp work I got hooked on the morning cup of coffee. Knowing of the dangers of caffeine, I finally decided that I had to quit once and for all. I quit cold turkey and the withdrawal was difficult — several days of severe headaches — but well worth it, once I got over those days of misery. Yes, in retrospect, the gradual approach you suggest would have been a lot easier!

  3. tastefuldeath

    I used to be able to take in much caffeine during my college days but I noticed the side effects so I stopped it as early as I can. People should be wary of energy drinks as some can have much more than what coffee contains. At one point, a friend complained that she was feeling her heart palpitate very noticeably when she was on energy drinks. To stay away, I just slapped myself silly and eat apples which I heard also helps people stay awake without caffeine’s side effects.

  4. NatureSun

    Wow, me being in college pretty much live on college. I was not aware of these risks at all.

    Might have to cut my caffeine intake from now on. Though as you mentioned it would be very tough since I’m so used to it now.


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