Caffeine has its perks, but it can pose problems, too. Find out how much is too much and if you need to curb your consumption.
For most healthy adults, moderate doses of caffeine — 200 to 300 milligrams (mg), or about two to four cups of brewed coffee a day — aren't harmful. But some circumstances may warrant limiting or even ending your caffeine routine. Read on to see if any of these apply to you.
Caffeine is a stimulant and some studies show that small amounts of caffeine may increase your mental response time. Other studies show that the cognitive improvements and mood elevation may not really be due to the beneficial aspects of caffeine as much as ending the withdrawal symptoms we feel when you haven't had your morning "fix" yet.
Consuming more than 300 mg caffeine per day may give you the "caffeine jitters." Larger amounts of caffeine may make you irritable, sleepless and may even trigger anxiety and cause diarrhea. It was assumed for a long time that drinking too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages would cause dehydration because caffeine can act as a diuretic. Howeve, researchers found that your body adjusts to your caffeine intake so drinking caffeinated beverages won't increase your need for water.
Experts agree that moderation and common sense are the keys to safe consumption of caffeine. What is considered a “normal” amount of caffeine depends on an individual’s sensitivity, and can be affected by frequency and amount of intake, body weight, age and a person’s overall health. People with health problems may want to consult their physician regarding their use of caffeine.