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What Are the Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine?

By Lana Bandoim

The day begins with a fresh cup of coffee at home after waking up and stumbling to the kitchen. Before leaving for work, you pour a second cup into a favorite thermos and carefully close the cap to avoid spilling a precious drop in the car. While at work, several more cups of coffee are consumed between meetings and emails. It is easy to have too much caffeine during the day. What are the side effects of a coffee addiction?

Too Much Caffeine

In general, healthy adults can tolerate 400 mg of caffeine per day without problems. This is an estimated four cups of coffee per day. However, some people experience problems with smaller amounts of caffeine because their bodies are more sensitive to it. In addition, people who have health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or ulcerative colitis have to avoid caffeine.

It is easy to consume too much caffeine during the day without realizing it. Caffeine is in soda, candy, chocolate and energy drinks. Some types of coffee have more caffeine than others. For example, espresso has more caffeine than light roasted coffee. If you add up all the sources of caffeine in a typical diet, it may surprise some people.  

Side Effects

The side effects of consuming too much caffeine can vary. However, headaches and migraines are a common problem. In addition, people often feel nervous, anxious or irritable after drinking too much coffee. Digestive problems and frequent trips to the bathroom are also common.

Some people experience tremors and a rapid heartbeat. Others may have trouble relaxing or sitting still. Most people have problems sleeping at night if they drink coffee close to bedtime. Insomnia is a common side effect after drinking too many caffeinated beverages.

There is a strong reason why pregnant women are discouraged from drinking caffeine. The caffeine from coffee and other beverages can cross the placenta and affect the baby. Studies show that large amounts may increase the baby’s heartbeat and affect the metabolism. In addition, large amounts of caffeine may raise the risk of miscarriage in some cases.

If you are struggling with a caffeine addiction, talk to a doctor or dietician. They can help by finding healthy alternatives that reduce the dependence on coffee or other beverages with caffeine. It is possible to start the day with tea, water, juice or milk instead of coffee.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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