9 Harmful Effects of Too Much Caffeine

Did you know that the delicious, aromatic, and flavorful cup of coffee you enjoy every day can have adverse side effects on your health? Yes, consuming too much caffeine can cause health problems. Unfortunately, the side effects are sometimes not talked about on the internet than the positive effects.

In this article, we are going to share with you multiple side effects of too much caffeine, backed by science. Well, don’t worry, coffee and tea are two healthy beverages, but you need to consume with moderation.

The two beverages contain caffeine, a healthy substance that can reduce anxiety, boost your physical and mental performance, etc.

But excessive caffeine consumption can be dangerous to your health. Some people take too much of it without experiencing adverse effects, but if you start feeling anxious, depressed, headache, low energy, tremors, etc. after drinking coffee, then find ways to reduce your caffeine intake.

We will also share some helpful tips on how to reduce your caffeine intake.

Keep reading to learn more.

Caffeine as a drug

If you can’t go a day without caffeine, don’t worry because you are not alone. A study suggests that caffeine is used as a drug all around the world. In fact, more than 90% of the people in the U.S. consume approximately 200 mg of caffeine per day on average.

But the effects of caffeine can change your actions and feelings. Besides, it’s also considered addictive so you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you cut back your caffeine intake.

So, yes, caffeine is a drug since it stimulates the central nervous system hence making you alert, and energized. Caffeine is not regulated worldwide and is contained in colas, chocolate, coffee, tea, and other many soft drinks.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the adverse effects of consuming too much caffeine.

1. Stomach Upset or Digestive Problems

Although many coffee drinkers prefer to kick start their morning with a cup of coffee to get their bowels moving, a study suggests that, when consumed on an empty stomach, caffeinated beverages may cause digestive issues.

Coffee is believed to have a purging effect that is believed to speed up the release of gastrin a hormone manufactured in the stomach to speed up the digestion of food. Caffeine also increases peristalsis (the contraction and relaxation of bowels to facilitate the movement of food down the digestive system.

Consuming too much caffeine may aggravate gastroesophageal reflux disease as well. It is, therefore, important to reduce your coffee intake in case you experience stomach problems after consuming this worldwide loved drink.

In short, although moderate caffeine consumption can improve gut motility, too much of the substance can worsen GERD. It’s better to cut back your intake or opt for coffee alternatives.

2. Anxiety

Although caffeine is said to make you alert, too much caffeine consumption is believed to increase anxiety and depression.

To increase your alertness, caffeine inhibits the production of adenosine in the brain so you don’t feel fatigued. This means that too much of it can elevate these symptoms hence making you feel anxious and nervous.  A report published by the American Psychiatric Association lists anxiety related to the consumption of too much caffeine in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Also, even consuming caffeine moderately is said to cause nervousness and jitteriness. Besides, taking caffeine with moderation is believed to increasing stress levels especially when you drink it while in a relaxed state.

If you experience nervousness or jitteriness when you take caffeine, it’s worth reconsidering your intake, or even stop taking it at all.

Although taking caffeine in smaller quantities can make you stay alert, drinking too much of it can cause anxiety and nervousness. Keep track of how you feel when you consume caffeinated drinks so you can know when it’s time to moderate or stop drinking them.

3. Too Much Caffeine May Increase Blood Pressure

This is especially true for those who are already suffering from high blood pressure and those who aren’t caffeine enthusiasts.

In a study, people with high blood pressure were asked to drink 250 mg of caffeine and their blood sugar levels were said to go up for about 3 hours after consuming caffeine.

In another study, by The Mayo Clinic, people with hypertension were given 160 mg of caffeine and their blood pressure is reported to have gone up. In fact, those who were suffering from hypertension and weren’t caffeine enthusiasts were said to experience the highest rise in blood sugar levels.

Not all people who drink caffeine risk suffering from heart disease or stroke though. Nevertheless, since caffeine is considered a stimulant of the nervous system, it can increase blood sugar.

An extreme increase in blood pressure can cause heart attack and stroke as it will cause the rupturing of the tubes that transport blood to the heart and brain.

Moreover, caffeine consumption is said to increase blood pressure in healthy people when they engage in exercise.

It’s important to observe the quantity of caffeine you consume as well as the time of consuming it, particularly if you suffer from high blood pressure.

In simple terms, when consumed in larger quantities or during exercise (especially for healthy people and for those who aren’t used to it), caffeine may increase blood pressure. Be sure to monitor how your body responds when you drink caffeinated drinks.

4. Impairs Sleep Quality

For all-nighters, caffeine is a helpful substance for keeping them awake. Nevertheless, taking large doses of the substance can hinder one from sleeping.

Researchers have found that taking too much caffeine especially at bedtime can deny one from falling asleep fast. For older people, it can lead to decreased sleep time.

On the other hand, drinking caffeinated drinks with moderation doesn’t seem to have adverse effects on the sleep quality of people said to be good sleepers or even to those who are said to suffer from insomnia.

Don’t make a mistake to think that coffee and tea are the only beverage that contains too much caffeine though. The substance can be found on energy drinks, soda, cocoa and many other types of medication.

For instance, some energy drinks are said to contain as much caffeine up to 500 mg per can.

Note that several factors such as your genetics can determine how caffeine can impair your sleep.

It’s also important to note that since caffeine effects can be experienced for several hours (studies suggest that caffeine effects can be experienced for an average of 5 hours before it declines), even taking it later in the day can interfere with your sleep.

In a study, 12 adults were asked to consume 400 mg of caffeine at least six, three or even immediately before going to sleep. The time it took for all the people in both the three groups to fall asleep increased.

It’s therefore, to observe the best time to take caffeine to avoid impairing with your sleep.

As a conclusion, even though caffeine can help you stay alert during the day, it’s not the best beverage to drink during or before bedtime. It’s advisable to avoid consuming caffeine early or late in the evening to avoid interfering with your sleep.

5. It May Become Addictive

Caffeine is a healthy substance but it can become addictive. Well, of course, caffeine stimulates the brain the same way as other drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine but its addiction isn’t as severe as these drugs.

However, when taken in large dosages, it can affect one’s physical and psychological state.

In a study, a group of people who take caffeine, around 213 of them was asked to take part in a survey after staying 16 hours without drinking the substance. Those who consume caffeine reported huge increases in fatigue headaches and caffeine withdrawal symptoms than those who don’t use it daily.

Don’t get it wrong though; the compound doesn’t cause true addiction but when taken in large dosages habitually, it may become habit-forming.

6. Consuming too Much Caffeine Can Cause Tiredness

Tea, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks are consumed to nourish the body with energy. But once the caffeine wears off, you will start to feel fatigued.

In a study, 41 students were asked to consume caffeinated energy drinks. The students reported improved alertness and improved mood for some hours but they felt tired the following day than they usually are when not taken caffeine.

Well, the more you consume caffeine the more you will feel reenergized but once you stop, you will feel fatigued. It’s important to consume caffeine with moderation to reduce rebound fatigue.

7. Increased Heartbeat

Caffeine has stimulating effects and when taken in large dosages, it may increase your heartbeat.

In fact, taking too much caffeine can change the way your heart pumps the blood, especially for young people.

It’s also important to note that not all people who consume caffeine in large doses will experience an increase in speed in the pumping of the blood.

However, if you notice a change in your heart rates after consuming caffeinated drinks, try to moderate your intake of the compound.

8. The Need to Urinate Frequently

Another side effect of taking too much caffeine is the need to urinate frequently which is caused by the stimulation of the bladder.

If you consume caffeine in large doses and feel your urge to urinate is not usual, consider cutting back on your caffeine intake and monitor your response.

9. Could Cause Infertility in Women

Consuming too much caffeine is said to reduce fertility in women by 27% according to a study from The University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Caffeine is a drug similar to cocaine and others. However, its effects vary between people. It’s therefore advisable to monitor one’s response after consuming caffeine.

While there have been plenty of studies about caffeine, many of them focus on the positives of consuming the compound.

To keep yourself safe from these caffeine-related effects, it’s important to be aware of how much caffeine is too much for you- which takes us to the question below:

How much caffeine is too much?

Undeniably, caffeine is a healthy beverage. And that’s why many people can’t go a day without consuming this substance. However, it can be a source of known health issues. As a rule, it’s important to understand how much of it is too much for you so that you can considerably decrease your consumption.

Caffeine is used by millions of people worldwide to boost energy, increase alertness, and boost mood.

But how much of it is too much for you?

For most healthy adults, consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine a day is said to be safe. Studies suggest that 600 mg of caffeine a day is too much. Children are too sensitive to the side effects of caffeine (kids below 4 years should not consume caffeine but those between 4 and 6 years may take not more than 45 mg of caffeine a day) and for pregnant women; 200 mg of caffeine is a good consumption rate.

Generally, caffeine can be a useful substance when taken with moderation.

The recommended amount of caffeine consumption for adults is not more than 400 mg. This means that one should keep their coffee consumption at 4 to 8 ounces of coffee or 5 shots of espresso per day.

How to Reduce Your Caffeine Consumption

If you can’t go a day or two without a cup of joe, then it can be difficult to cut back on your caffeine intake. Health experts recommend consuming caffeine with moderation- at least 400 mg of caffeine or less per day which translates to three cups of strong coffee.

Note that, as mentioned earlier, caffeine is not only found in coffee and tea but is also contained in chocolate, sodas and other beverages so it’s important to understand what amount of caffeine is safe for you to consume per day. After all, taking too much caffeine can produce adverse effects and can be costly in the long run- just imagine spending $1,000 a year on caffeine alone.

Cutting back on your caffeine intake is no easy task though. And many quitters have reported struggling with withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, difficulty in concentrating, and many others.

If you are looking to reduce your caffeine intake, here are some tips to help you do it and avoid the annoying withdrawal symptoms.

Think about all the sources of your caffeine

You can’t say you are limiting too much caffeine in your body by reducing your coffee or team consumption alone- it’s a lie. Many soft drinks and beverages contain caffeine and while other beverages are labeled others you can’t tell how much caffeine they contain.

For instance, some energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine but they aren’t indicated in their labels. Chocolate and gum also contain caffeine but it’s not easy to tell the amount of caffeine in them.

First things first: If you want to reduce your caffeine intake effectively, you should analyze all the sources of your caffeine. How many doses do you take per day and what time of the day do you take it?

Once you understand the sources of your caffeine and the time of the day you consume it, you would be in a better position to cut back on your consumption.

Reduce your consumption slowly

Cutting back on caffeine consumption especially if you’ve become an addict of the substance can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms such as severe headache, inability to concentrate, and fatigue.

Experts recommend cutting back on caffeine consumption slowly. A good rule of thumb is to decaf or increasing the ratio of water vs that of coffee in your coffee brewer while making coffee.

Here, if you are used to consuming 3 cups of strong coffee a day, you could reduce to two or add more water to when brewing.

Opt for other caffeine-related alternatives

Think about other coffee-like beverages like pomegranate, cinnamon, peach blossom, etc. All these beverages contain the richness of coffee though they don’t contain caffeine.

Green tea is also another great coffee-like alternative. The good thing about green tea is that it contains less than 40 mg of caffeine per cup which is way lower compared to the 200 mg or 400 mg of caffeine contained in a cup of coffee

Drink plenty of water

Healthy experts recommend drinking 8 ounces of water a day and this can also apply when you want to decrease your caffeine consumption.

Every time you wake up, drink a few glasses of water instead of coffee or tea. This way, you will cut back on your thirst for less healthy drinks.

Cutting back on caffeine can be challenging, but it can be done. You just need to start by analyzing your caffeine sources, reduce your caffeine consumption slowly, or find coffee-like alternatives, and you will be several steps toward reducing your dependency on caffeine.

Final Thoughts

While it is said to be healthy in our bodies, consuming too much caffeine can cause adverse effects. Well, note all people experience the same effects but drinking caffeine in plenty is unhealthy.

Cutting back on this addictive substance is also not easy. We hope this article helps you to understand how overdoing caffeine can be detrimental to your health and how to reduce your consumption of the substance.

Happy Caffeinating!!

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Sophia Green

Sophia is a long time coffee enthusiast and blogger, so the project started naturally five years ago. You can find useful information about coffee types, plantations, equipment and even tips and tricks or fun facts.

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