Saturday, July 14, 2007

Belizegial Health Topic - Caffeine: How Much is Too Much

Hi Friends,

It's been a hectic week on this end. One mostly fueled by sheer determination and several necessary cups of coffee *lol* Which brings to mind. Caffeine: How much is too much? Michelle, if you're visiting today, here is what has to say about this topic.

In less than an hour you start to feel caffeine's effects. You're more alert, energetic and productive. Your mood lifts and that foggy, tired feeling is gone. If you rely on daily doses of caffeine to chase away fatigue and perk up your disposition, you aren't alone. Nine out of 10 Americans consume some type of caffeine regularly, making it the most popular behavior-altering drug.

For most people, moderate doses of caffeine — 200 to 300 milligrams (mg), or about two to three cups of brewed coffee a day — aren't harmful. But some circumstances, such as caffeine sensitivity or use of certain medications, may warrant limiting or even ending your caffeine routine. Find out if you need to decaffeinate your diet and, if so, how you can do it with minimal distress.

When to cut caffeine use - Certain circumstances call for reducing the amount of caffeine you consume. Evaluate your habits. If any of these situations apply, you may need to cut back. You consume unhealthy amounts. Though moderate caffeine intake isn't likely to cause harm, too much can noticeably affect your health. Heavy daily caffeine use — more than 500 to 600 mg a day, or about four to seven cups of coffee — can cause:

Muscle tremors
Nausea, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems
Abnormal heart rhythms
You have caffeine sensitivity if you're susceptible to the caffeine's effects. Just small amounts — even one cup of coffee or tea — may prompt unwanted results, such as anxiety, restlessness and irritability. The more sensitive you are to caffeine, the less you need to consume before feeling its influence.Your sensitivity depends on many factors, including:

Body mass. People with smaller body masses feel the effects of caffeine sooner than those with larger body masses.

History of caffeine use. People who don't regularly consume caffeine tend to be more susceptible to its negative effects than are people who do.

Stress. All types of stress — for example, psychological stress or heat stress — can increase a person's sensitivity to caffeine.

Other factors can contribute to variations in caffeine sensitivity as well, including age, smoking habits, drug or hormone use, and other health conditions, such as anxiety disorders.
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. But caffeine can interfere with this much-needed sleep. Chronically losing sleep — whether it's from work, travel, stress or too much caffeine — results in sleep deprivation. Sleep loss is cumulative, and even small nightly decreases can add up and disturb your daytime function.

Using caffeine to mask sleep deprivation creates an unwelcome cycle. For example, you drink caffeinated beverages because you have trouble staying awake during the day. But the caffeine keeps you from falling asleep at night, shortening the length of time you sleep. Caffeine can also increase the number of times you wake up during the night and can interfere with deep sleep, which makes your night less restful. With less sleep and poor-quality sleep, you're more tired the next day. To battle the fatigue and to feel more energetic, you reach for your morning jolt of Java.

The best way to break this cycle is to limit your caffeine and to add more hours of quality sleep to your day. Also, avoid caffeinated beverages eight hours before your desired bedtime. Your body doesn't store caffeine, but it does take many hours for it to eliminate the stimulant and its effects.

Certain medications and herbal supplements negatively interact with caffeine. The following are some examples - some antibiotics.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and norfloxacin (Noroxin) — types of antibacterial medications — can interfere with the breakdown of caffeine. This may increase the length of time caffeine remains in your body and amplify its unwanted effects.

Theophylline (Theo-24, Uniphyl, others). This medication — which opens up bronchial airways by relaxing the surrounding muscles (a bronchodilator) — tends to have some caffeine-like effects. Taking this drug along with caffeinated foods and beverages may increase the concentration of theophylline in your blood. This can cause ill effects, such as nausea, vomiting and heart palpitations. If you take theophylline, your doctor may advise that you avoid caffeine.

Ephedra (ma-huang). This herbal dietary supplement increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, seizures and death. Combined with caffeine, it becomes especially risky. The Food and Drug Administration has banned ephedra in the marketplace because of health concerns. This ban applies to dietary supplements but not herbal teas, which may still contain the herb. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether caffeine might affect your prescription. He or she can best direct you on whether you need to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet.

Caffeine can be habit-forming, so any attempts to stop or lessen the amount you normally consume can be challenging. An abrupt decrease in caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, irritability and nervousness. These symptoms usually resolve after several days.

To adopt new caffeine habits, try these tips:
Know how much caffeine is in the foods and beverages you consume. You may be consuming more than you think.
Gradually reduce the amount of caffeine you consume. For example, drink one less can of soda or drink a smaller cup of coffee each day. This will help your body get used to the lower levels of caffeine and thereby lessen the withdrawal effects.

Replace caffeinated coffee, tea and soda with their decaffeinated counterparts. Most decaffeinated beverages look and taste the same.
When preparing tea, brew for less time. This cuts down on its caffeine content. Or choose herbal teas, which don't contain this stimulant.

Check the caffeine content in over-the-counter medications that you take. Pain relief or headache medications, such as Excedrin or Anacin, can contain from 65 mg to 130 mg of caffeine in one dose. Switch to caffeine-free versions, if possible.

If you're like most adults, caffeine is a part of your daily routine. And most often it doesn't pose a health problem. But be mindful of those situations in which you need to curtail your caffeine consumption.

© 1998-2006 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," ""


Michelle said...

I am swimming in D'Nile, if you please!
I was just thinking of going to make me some of that dark brew . . . guess now I won't.
But a while ago I did a post on coffee addiction myself . . . I'll repost it now, since it seems SO appropriate!

Miss Emily Sweet said...

I must admit I have been lately suffering from sleeplessness, nausea, and diarrhea. And I am very petite, so perhaps I am feeling the effects of caffeine sooner. But I don't drink coffee or tea. Enid, do you know if there is caffeine in gin?

Meow (aka Connie) said...

Thanks for the info, Enid.
I don't drink tea or coffe, but drink 2 or 3 cans of Diet Pepsi a day ... so I guess I have a bit of a caffeine addiction.
However, I don't suffer from any of the symptoms you listed .... yay!!
Hope you have a great week.
Take care, Meow

Dagoth said...

Hi Enid

One) I do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle without a minimum of two cups of coffee (and more likely most of a pot) and two) I do believe that "coffee = life"...

Josie said...

Wow! What a great post. I love coffee, and I can't even imagine starting my day without it. And then at around 10:00 I have a second cup of coffee, and that's it for the day. I couldn't even think of drinking coffee after noon.

Thanks for sharing the information.


Anonymous said...

i really am not a tea or coffee drinker so i guess i don't have problems with caffeine addiction. but this info is very helpful to some.

HeiressChild said...

hi enid, i left caffeine alone years ago when i had fibroids, which caffeine is not good for. i do drink tea and coffee sometimes, but decaff. i used to be addicted to the caffeine in coca-cola, but i don't drink them anymore. i'd literally get the shakes. thanks for sharing this info. i did click on links on your blog. ka-ching, ka-ching! *lol*

HeiressChild said...



may God continue to bless and prosper you with many, many more.

my4kids said...

I'm a lover of caffeine and a self proffessed addict!


Ian Lidster said...

I found this extremely interesting and informative. As an absolute caffeine nut (mainly good coffee -- dark roast and strong) I also know I have to gauge my consumption or I will indeed get some of the symptoms you suggest. But, I mainly moderate my use because I have no intention of giving it up. Caffeine withdrawal headaches are not pleasant.

PS: And happy birthday to you, dear friend.

Michael Manning said...

A GREAT topic, Enid! I was once a huge coffee drinker. Today two cups of really good Java starts me up in the morning! I've read that there are studies that suggest it's good for you. Others say it is bad. But you have really done your homework! Cheers!!

Carmi said...

I've always been really sensitive to caffeine. So a mug or two of tea would often be all I'd need to make it through the day.

I suspect folks who have 7 cups of coffee every day must have iron stomachs. Thank you for sharing this: wonderful stuff.

Popped by from Michele's tonight.

Happy said...

I think it depends on a person...I used to drink a lot of coffee - more than 6 cups a day, but now it's changed - it's about 1-2 or even none, and I think that now I can get more coffee health benefits, cause it's not an addiction, but just an enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

Caffeine Addiction - Caffeine Effects and Withdrawal part II

Caffeine addiction shows up when a person cannot stop consuming caffeine in high amounts, causing his/her body to demand the substance and react negatively if that no caffeine is intake. Caffeine may not be addictive in the traditional sense, but the body builds up a tolerance over time; some people find it very hard to function well without at least one cup of strong coffee or tea in the morning. The stimulating effects of caffeine are caused by a central nervous reaction, the heart rate increases, blood vessels expand and the brain receives more oxygen. These caffeine effects can last for up to 8 hours, and once they go off then the body feels extremely lazy and slow as a side effect.

Caffeine addiction can even cause death, mainly because the abuse of any stimulant can cause high blood pressure or and heart problems, so if you abuse of it chances are you put yourself at the highest risk of a heart attack.

You need to be careful with caffeine withdrawal because it affects your overall health and therefore, you need to control your consumption of caffeinated products to prevent your body reactions to caffeine withdrawals. If you need more information about caffeine effects and caffeine addiction symptoms or prevention, please investigate a little further on this topics.

You can find more info at:

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