Whether you are a coffee, tea, or energy drink enthusiast or you simply just can’t begin your day without a big mug of something caffeinated, chances are you’ve looked into the dangers of consuming too much caffeine. That being said, how much caffeine is too much?
In this post, we’re spilling the beans to fill you in on everything you need to know about the world’s most popular stimulant. So, grab your cup of java and get comfortable because we’re about to dive in!
But First, What Exactly Is Caffeine?
Ah, caffeine… who doesn’t enjoy the glorious effects that come from the beloved stimulant? Energy, focus, and concentration — what’s not to love?
Well, apparently, a lot of things, especially when you go a little overboard and consume too much. But before we dive into all the details about how much caffeine is too much caffeine, let’s first cover the basics: What exactly is caffeine?
Simply put, caffeine is a drug (yes, a drug) and a central nervous stimulant. It’s a bitter substance that’s naturally occurring in over 60 plants, including:
Coffee beans (for coffee)
Tea leaves (for tea)
Kola nuts (used to flavor soft drinks)
Cacao pods (used to make chocolate)
There’s also man-made caffeine (aka synthetic caffeine) which is added to many different foods, drinks, and even some medicines. For instance, some pain relievers and cold meds contain synthetic caffeine — so do many popular energy drinks and “energy-boosting” supplements.
Hold Up, Synthetic Caffeine?
Yep, you read that right. While there are many plants in the plant kingdom with naturally occurring caffeine, scientists have discovered how to make it in a lab. What’s the difference? Really not too much, actually. In fact, synthetic and natural caffeine are nearly identical; both are chemically identical.
The big difference, however, is that synthetic caffeine is produced from a little compound known as urea and a chemical called chloroacetic acid rather than being extracted from plant products like its natural counterpart. Plus, synthetic caffeine is absorbed into the body much faster than natural caffeine, so it tends to provide a quick spike of much-needed energy followed by a dramatic not-so-wonderful crash.
Here at Proper Wild, we believe in clean ingredients backed by science. That’s why we make our delicious energy shots using organic caffeine from green tea. We don’t use anything artificial or add any sugar, so you can feel good about what you’re putting into your body.
Read: No synthetic caffeine here, ever.
So, How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
We all metabolize caffeine differently because our genetics and tolerance both play a role in how quickly we can process it.
That being said, while the response to caffeine varies from person to person, it’s generally recommended not to exceed 400 milligrams on any given day. That translates to roughly three to five cups of java.
However, the amount of caffeine can vary across roast, brand, and variety, so it might be wise to do a little digging into your favorite sip.
For example, a Venti-sized Starbucks Blonde roast provides around 475 mg of caffeine while their tiny double espresso delivers roughly 150 mg.
<h3> What Are the Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine? </h3>
As mentioned, 400 mg a day is regarded as generally safe for most healthy adults as it’s an amount that’s not generally associated with any negative side effects. However, there’s wide variation in how sensitive folks are to the effects of the popular stimulant and how quickly they metabolize it.
Certain medical conditions can make people a little more sensitive to caffeine, as can some medications.
Additionally, if you’ve got a bun in the oven, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, it’s recommended to talk to your doc about whether you need to limit your caffeine consumption. According to the American Pregnancy Organization, pregnant women should consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day — but again, everyone is different, so it’s best to chat with your healthcare provider specifically.
So, how do you know if you have had too much caffeine?
Here are a few of the symptoms you may experience when you’ve had a little too much:
Fast or irregular heartbeat
Restlessness or shakiness
Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
How Long Does Caffeine Stay In Your System?
The moment you take a sip of your favorite caffeinated beverage, caffeine is instantly absorbed by the tissue in your mouth. However, it can take up to 30 to 60 minutes until you feel its peak effects. The half-life of caffeine (time taken for the body to eliminate one-half of the caffeine) is about five to six hours, but genetics and tolerance can move this number significantly. That’s why some individuals find it helpful to have a rather early caffeine “cutoff time” since it can disrupt good quality sleep.
If you do overdo it, unfortunately, you can’t really flush caffeine out of your system. Drinking lots of H2O may help to make some of the negative symptoms feel a bit better, but the drug has to be metabolized in time.
Here are a few other things you can do that might help you to feel better as the caffeine runs its course:
Don’t consume any more caffeine. OK, so this may seem a bit like a no-brainer, but be sure you don’t absentmindedly chow down on your favorite mid-afternoon chocolate bar by mistake. Caffeine is in so many different foods and drinks — read the label and avoid caffeine until you’re feeling better.
Replace your electrolytes. If you’ve been experiencing some tummy trouble or vomiting due to taking too much caffeine, you’re losing not only water — which can quickly dehydrate you and ultimately make you feel even worse — but you are also losing precious electrolytes. Thankfully, you can easily replace those essential nutrients with an electrolyte drink.
Take a walk or work out. If you feel like you have a whole lot of pent-up energy, try taking a walk or working out. However, if you notice anything unusual happening to your ticker, such as a fluttery heart rate, stop and take a break or stop altogether.
Take deep breaths and meditate. If you’ve had too much caffeine, there’s a pretty good chance you may be feeling a little anxious, which can cause your breathing to become fast and shallow. Deliberately take slow, deep breaths to bring your breathing back to normal. Meditation is also a good idea!
Eat fiber-rich foods. Noshing on healthy foods jam-packed with fiber may help to slow down the release of caffeine absorbing into your bloodstream. Reach for fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, starchy veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Take some L-theanine. An essential amino acid extracted from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis — the fancy-pants name for the common tea plant. When L-theanine is combined with caffeine, there’s an incredible synergistic effect. This means you may experience heightened focus, energy, and alertness as well as reduced tension and improved mental endurance to even higher levels than consuming caffeine all on its own.
How does this help when you’re experiencing the uncomfortable side effects of consuming too much caffeine,? Well, L-theanine can help to relieve some of the tension and jitters caused by taking too much caffeine. Plus, it’s been shown to help promote and manage blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormone levels. Simply put, it can help to ease the symptoms when you go a little overboard on caffeine.
A Final Word
So, how much caffeine is too much?
According to experts, 400 mg per day is generally regarded as safe. Anything more than that, and you risk many uncomfortable side effects such as an irregular heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, and more. The FDA also estimates toxic effects — like seizures — can be observed with quick caffeine intake of around 1,200 mg (or 0.15 tablespoons) of pure caffeine.
While caffeine does have some health benefits, too much of a good thing is never necessarily a “good thing.” When looking for a little pick-me-up, be sure to read the label to make sure you’re consuming a healthy dose of caffeine.
Here at Proper Wild, our mouth-watering energy shots are made with 180 mg of organic caffeine that comes from green tea for clean, long-lasting energy — just the right amount if you wanted one with breakfast and one right before your afternoon workout. We also use 15x more L-theanine than a cup of green tea for focus and productivity, without the jitters or crash, so you can stay focused yet calm.
Ready to see the difference clean ingredients can make? Try Proper Wild today — trust us, you’ll be glad you did!