Caffeine: How much is too much?

Caffeine: How much is too much?

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If you rely on caffeine to wake you up and keep you going, you aren’t alone. Caffeine is used daily by millions of people to increase wakefulness, alleviate fatigue, and improve concentration and focus.

Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two “energy shot” drinks. Even among adults, heavy caffeine use can cause unpleasant side effects.

You may want to cut back if you’re drinking more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day (or the equivalent) and you’re experiencing side effects such as:

  • Migraine headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Frequent urination or inability to control urination
  • Stomach upset
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors

 

 

To change your caffeine habit, try these tips:

  1. Start paying attention to how much caffeine you’re getting from foods and beverages, including energy drinks.
  2. Cut back gradually.For example, drink one fewer can of soda or drink a smaller cup of coffee each day. Or avoid drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day. This will help your body get used to the lower levels of caffeine and lessen potential withdrawal effects.
  3. Choose herbal teas, which don’t have caffeine.

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