What’s a healthy amount of caffeine a day?
This is a great question because about 90% of adults in the world consume caffeine on a daily basis. Risks and benefits exist with the use of caffeine, so awareness of safe amounts of caffeine is important! In healthy adults, up to 400 mg of caffeine per day seems to be safe. In pregnant women, consumption should be less than 200 mg per day. Safe levels in teens have not been established. It is a good idea for you to look up the caffeine content in your favorite beverages so you will know how much you’re getting. You may be consuming more than you realize. For example, one tall brewed coffee at Starbucks has about 260 mg of caffeine. A venti has 415 mg! The good news is caffeine is not all bad! See below for more information:
- Caffeine is addictive. If you are addicted you can have withdrawal from it, which may include headache, fatigue and feeling unwell.
- You can build a tolerance to it. This means you will need more of it to get the desired effect.
- Energy drinks are popular, but they are also high in caffeine. It is not safe to consume energy drinks mixed with alcohol. Also, energy drinks and soft drinks contain chemicals that may be harmful.
- Caffeine may cause headaches including migraines. However, in some people caffeine helps headaches.
- Caffeine may make some psychiatric disorders worse. This is especially true with anxiety disorders, insomnia, and panic attacks.
- Higher consumption of caffeine can lead to heart rhythm problems and palpitations. This can be dangerous.
- Caffeine found in coffee and tea has some antioxidant effects that may help to prevent some types of cancers! More research is needed in this area, but this is exciting news.
- Caffeine helps with short-term alertness and ability to concentrate.
- There may be a reduced risk of some chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease alcoholic cirrhosis, gout, and type 2 diabetes with caffeine use. Again, more research is needed to find out why this is and how much caffeine is helpful.
- Low caffeine intake can help protect against heart attacks.
- Caffeine can help with constipation.
About the Expert:
Dr. Anna Holzer, Family Medicine
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