Overview of Caffeine
is a stimulant found in various foods, drinks, and other products. It’s commonly used to keep you awake and
alert. Caffeine is technically a drug, and some of the most popular beverages
in the United States, such as coffee, tea, and soda, have significant amounts
of caffeine in them.
to Mayo Clinic, the recommended amount of caffeine is usually 400 mg per day
for healthy adults. Caffeine overdose may occur if you ingest more than this
amount. However, a safe amount of caffeine differs for everyone based on age,
weight, and overall health. This makes it difficult to know the exact amount of
caffeine that can lead to overdose. For example, adolescents should limit
themselves to no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day.
The chart below shows how much caffeine is found in a
serving size of some common sources of caffeine, according to the Center for
Science in the Public Interest.
caffeine overdose can be life-threatening in the most severe cases, but many
people only notice some unpleasant symptoms that go away once the caffeine is
excreted from the body.
Check out a visualization of how caffeine affects the body »
Causes and Risk Factors of
caffeine overdose occurs when you take in too much caffeine through drinks,
foods, or medications. However, some people can ingest well above the daily
recommended amount each day without issue. This isn’t recommended because high caffeine
doses can cause major health issues, including irregular heartbeat and
you rarely consume caffeine, your body may be especially sensitive to caffeine,
so avoid ingesting too much at one time. Even if you regularly consume large
amounts of caffeine, you should stop when you feel any unpleasant symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of
types of symptoms occur with this condition. Some symptoms may not immediately
alert you that you have had too much caffeine because they may not seem
serious. For example, you may experience:
- increased thirst
symptoms are more severe and call for immediate medical treatment. These more
serious symptoms of caffeine overdose include:
- trouble breathing
- chest pain
- irregular or fast heartbeat
- uncontrollable muscle movements
can also suffer from caffeine overdose. This can happen when breast milk contains
excessive amounts of caffeine. Some mild symptoms include nausea and muscles
that continually tense and then relax. More serious signs of caffeine overdose
can accompany these symptoms, including vomiting, fast breathing, and shock.
you or a child under your care is experiencing these symptoms, you’re advised to seek a doctor’s help for diagnosis and treatment immediately.
you suspect a caffeine overdose, let your doctor know of any amount of
caffeinated items you consumed prior to having symptoms.
breathing rate, heartbeat, and blood pressure will also likely be monitored.
Your temperature may be taken, and you may be given a urine or blood test to
identify the drugs in your system.
Treatment for Caffeine
is meant to get the caffeine out of your body while managing the symptoms. You
may be given activated charcoal, a common remedy for drug overdose, which often
prevents the caffeine from going into the gastrointestinal tract.
the caffeine has already entered your gastrointestinal tract, you may be
offered a laxative or even a gastric lavage. A gastric lavage involves using a
tube to wash the contents out of your stomach. Your doctor will likely choose
the method that works fastest to get the caffeine out of your body.
this time, your heart will be monitored through an EKG (electrocardiogram). You
may also receive breathing support when necessary.
the symptoms are mild, you may be able to wait until the caffeine is no longer
in your body or treat the overdose yourself. Some home treatments for caffeine
overdose include drinking water, mild exercise, and eating foods high in potassium or
magnesium, such as bananas or dark leafy greens.
treatment may not always accelerate your body's metabolism of the caffeine. If you’re unsure whether or not you need treatment, call Poison
Control at 1-800-222-1222 and describe your symptoms. If your symptoms sound
likely be advised to go to the local hospital for immediate treatment.
the consumption of excessive amounts of caffeine to prevent a caffeine
overdose. In most cases, you shouldn’t
have more than 300 mg of caffeine per day and even less if you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine.
overdose can usually be treated with no long-term health problems, but this
condition can be deadly, especially for younger patients, such as infants and
toddlers. Caffeine overdose can also worsen pre-existing health conditions,
such as anxiety. A review has connected the effects of
excessive caffeine with that of other drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine.
treatment is given too late, there may be irreversible health problems and even
death. You should at least call the American Association of Poison Control
at 1-800-222-1222 if you suspect a caffeine overdose.