Can You Drink Too Much Coffee?
We have arrived at another morning. Do you know where your coffee is? If you’re like most, I’m sure your coffee is sitting right beside you. I know mine is.
Because so many of us today drink coffee, the question asked by many is, “how much coffee is too much?” Can you drink too much coffee?
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The fact is that many of us, me included, drink too much coffee in a day. Like almost anything in life, too much of a good thing is often bad for us, and coffee is, unfortunately, no different. So how much should we be drinking and what are the potential side effects of drinking too much coffee?
How Much Coffee Is Too Much?
When we talk about drinking too much coffee, we really mean drinking too much caffeine in a day. According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy adult should only consume about 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. This equates to about four cups of a coffee each day.
Let’s take a moment for you to absorb that little fact. Calm down. Grab a cup of coffee and try to relax. Really when you think about it, four cups of coffee is a pretty fair number. After all, do you really have time to gulp down a twelve cup pot of coffee each day. I highly doubt it.
Of course these figures are an average, and how much you can drink in a day will depend largely on your tolerance to caffeine and your own body chemistry. Some of us out there may only be able to enjoy two cups in a day before feeling the effects of too much coffee, while others may not feel anything until they reach six cups. It’s important to know your own limits and avoid drinking too much to avoid some of the symptoms and negative side effects of caffeine.
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Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine
That’s correct, if you drink too much coffee, thus ingesting more caffeine than you should you could begin to experience several different types of side effects. Some of these are minor and nothing more than an annoyance while others are a little more serious.
Minor Side Effects
First, let’s take a look at a few of the more minor side effects that you could experience if you have too much coffee in a day. I’m sure you have all felt some of these at some point during your coffee journey.
- Trouble Sleeping
- Upset Stomach
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle tremors
As you can see, many of these sound very familiar. We have all had trouble sleeping after having too much coffee or drinking it late at night, and many of us have had to deal with nervousness or jitteriness during the day because we had a little too much caffeine that morning. It happens to us all. Of course, these aren’t the only symptoms or side effects you may experience. There are actually a few side effects that could be considered much more serious.
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Major Side Effects
There are a wide range of more serious side effects that you could experience when you drink too much caffeine. In most cases, these only occur after what they would call “long term exposure,” meaning that you drink too much coffee over a much longer period of time. However, these symptoms could even occur after going over your limit for one or two days at most, meaning it is important to watch your caffeine intake very carefully throughout the day. Let’s take a look at a few major side effects that can be caused by drinking too much coffee.
Anxiety and Psychosis – We already know that drinking too much coffee can make you feel anxious, but for some that anxiety can rise to dangerous levels and even border on psychosis. The effects of caffeine on the brain are quite profound and in some cases, it can even lead you down a road that is often only traveled by those who are mentally ill.
Hearing Things – Hallucinations and delusions are usually only experienced by people who are mentally ill, but drinking too much coffee has been shown to actually make you hear things, much like a schizophrenic hears things. The scary thing is, studies have found that just drinking one extra cup of coffee in a day can cause this to happen, at least in some people.
Muscle Spasms – We have all gotten the jitters from coffee at one time or another. Most of us take that as a sign that it is time to lay off the coffee, at least for a little while. In more extreme cases, the excess caffeine can cause your muscles to spasm. Ever had an unexplained eye twitch for a little while? That could be the caffeine in your body. These uncontrollable spasms can be more than an annoyance in some, with some people reporting trouble controlling their words as a result of the spasms.
Osteoporosis – This bone disease is characterized by a loss of calcium in the bones that causes pores in the bone to become larger resulting in bones actually shrinking and becoming very fragile. This disease affects one in every two women and one in every four men. Many scientists believe one of the causes of this disease is excess caffeine. While definitely the result of long term exposure, if you want to limit your risk for developing the disease, you should cut back on the number of cups of coffee you have in a day.
As you can see, it is possible to drink too much coffee. Yes, how much is too much will vary from person to person, based on each individuals body and tolerance levels as well as how much caffeine you consume on a regular basis, but each person can easily exceed their recommended coffee intake in a day.
When you do, you could experience a variety of symptoms, some more serious than others. So what should you do? It’s simple. I’m sure you have heard the old saying, “Everything in moderation.” So just apply that saying to your coffee drinking habit on a daily basis. Remember, for most healthy adults, you should not drink more than four cups a coffee each day.
Since you are limiting the amount of coffee you drink each day, why not make sure the cups you drink are the best possible coffee you can find? Always drink high quality coffee and brew it carefully so each of those cups are simply the best and you don’t have to worry about going over your daily limit and drinking too much coffee.