How Much Caffeine Is Too Much Caffeine?

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much Caffeine?

Caffeine, in one form or another, is used by 90% of Americans each day. But have you ever wondered if you consume too much?

We've all been there... your energy is dragging and you have a zillion things to do before the day is done. In search of a quick boost, you reach for that extra cup of coffee or energy drink loaded with caffeine. This is all well and good, once in a while. But when pounding caffeine becomes a habit, it can actually have detrimental effects on your health, according to Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, MD and Director of Integrative Health at Mass General Hospital.

Related: 4 Coffee Substitutes That Can Supercharge Your Performance

How to Know If You Develop Caffeine Intoxication

Although death by caffeine sounds unlikely, can it occur? And how much is too much? "First of all, I’ve never known of anyone to die from caffeine overdose," says Dr. Milosavljevic. But you can develop what's called "caffeine intoxication" after consuming around about 400mg of caffeine, she says. That essentially means you experience one or more of the following physical symptoms:

5 Caffeine Overdose Symptoms

  1. Start to sweat
  2. Get clammy hands
  3. Feel heart palpitations
  4. Become irritable, agitated, jittery
  5. In its most severe case, it can cause irregular heartbeat, which can prompt a heart attack

Related: 5 Ways to Reboot Your Tired Brain (Without Caffeine)

Ways to Avoid a Caffeine OD

How do you avoid caffeine overdose symptoms? Know your limits (stick to the 400mg or less!) and be mindful of how too much caffeine makes your body feel. 

Your typical 8 oz cup of black coffee (served straight up without syrup, whipped cream or flavorings) has about 95mg of caffeine. Some will have upwards of 150 depending on the type of bean and how it’s processed. So, it's safe to say three cups coffee puts you near the range for caffeine intoxication.

By comparison, your typical cup of tea (green or black) has anywhere from 30-70mg of caffeine per cup. "In tea, a good portion of the caffeine leaches out in the first 30 seconds of brewing," says Dr. Milosavljevic. "If you want to lower caffeine content, brew for 30 seconds, pour off that first batch and re-steep. If you want that caffeine then don’t."

Just as you're mindful when you drink alcohol or indulge in sugar, so too, should you be careful to not overdo the Joe. Count your milligrams, stay in tune with your body and switch over to water if you feel any of the symptoms of a caffeine overdose. Other than that choose your brew and enjoy!

Related: The Health Benefits of Tea: Beat Stress and Boost Performance

TRY IT: Spartan Energy Capsules

Not really a coffee fan? Give the Spartan Energy Capsules a shot. Pop one of these bad boys and it'll slowly release 75mg of caffeine over 4-5 hours. The capsules contain Whole Green Coffee Powder, combined with Spartan Tea Powder and Suntheanine L-Theanine (which mimics caffeine's natural process in green tea leaves) for a balanced energy boost. Ancient warriors mashed up the green coffee bean into a paste and mixed it with animal fat to help them stay energized in battle. Today, you can add this supplement to your training routine and get your caffeine fix without overdoing it—especially if you hate the gurgle of coffee in your stomach. AROO.

Listen to the Podcast: How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

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