19 Side Effects Of Caffeine You Should Be Aware Of May 14, 2017

“Like a raspberry mocha
Or a cafe macchiato
Or a non-fat one-pump vanilla latte with two added shots of espresso.”

This piece from Julian Moon defines our mornings, doesn’t it?

Undoubtedly, caffeine is the most common stimulant drug in today’s time. Whether it is our workplace or home, we all require some amount of caffeine to beat the accumulated stress!

Though enchanting, too much of caffeine in our system can bring irreversible damages to it. How? Read on to find out what are caffeine side effects.

Caffeine—A Brief

Caffeine is well known as an instant energy booster. It helps people fight drowsiness. Yet, it is a subject of prolonged controversy when it comes to its dosage and effectivity.

So what is the truth? Does caffeine deserve all the love?

That, we’ll find out in a bit.

First, let’s learn a bit about this nervous system activator.

Caffeine, scientifically known as methyl theobromine, is an alkaloid in nature. This natural substance is found in many plants, including coffee beans, tea, kola nuts, and cacao pods. This alkaloid is an important part of the commercial platform, and its man-made form is widely used in the production of pharmacy drugs, drinks, chocolates, and coffee infusions.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 90 percent of the world population consumes caffeine in some form or the other. Whoa, that’s a big chunk! No wonder we are here, searching for caffeine side effects.

How does caffeine affect our body?

Being water-soluble, caffeine is readily absorbed in our system. This way it reaches our bloodstream in no time, starting from the stomach to the brain.

Then, do we expect any ill-effects? Read on to know.

Why You Should Restrict Caffeine Intake

  1. Induces Anxiety Attacks
  2. Stomach Disorders
  3. May Cause Insomnia
  4. Miscarriage
  5. Increased Blood Pressure
  6. May Induce Menstrual Problems
  7. May Increase The Risk Of Urinary Incontinence
  8. Obesity
  9. May Cause Hallucinations
  10. Increases The Chances Of Osteoporosis
  11. May Interfere With Estrogen Production
  12. Increased Risk Of Gout Attack
  13. Increases The Chance Of Breast Tissue Cysts
  14. Is Not Good For Type 2 Diabetes
  15. May Cause Allergies
  16. Inhibits Collagen Production In The Skin
  17. May Impair Hearing Loss Recovery
  18. Dehydration And Dry Mouth
  19. Triggers Acne

Caffeine Side Effects

Its addictive nature makes caffeine a big risk, especially amongst teenagers and adults. The widely experienced side effects of caffeine include dehydration, excessive production of urine leading to dehydration, stomach disorders, nausea, increased blood pressure, depression, restlessness, increased heart rate leading to death, obesity, Increased body weight, fever and the list continues.

Okay, that was just the summary. Read on to get the detailed picture of caffeine side effects:

1. Induces Anxiety Attacks

Excessive intake of caffeine can lead to a serious case of anxiety (1). A person with anxiety is known to face an ultimate degree of nervousness and restlessness, even under normal conditions. Caffeine worsens such conditions (2). Therefore one should be very cautious if they encounter these symptoms.

Prevention Method

People with an anxiety disorder should consult their physicians before opting caffeine. This would rule out the chances of drug interaction.

[ Read: Effective Yoga Poses To Cure Anxiety ]

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2. Stomach Disorders

The acids present in caffeine stimulates the stomach to produce more acid which is quite harmful. Thus, too much caffeine may lead to stomach disorders like nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and bloating (3).

Prevention Method

If you have a weak stomach, then it’s best for you to restrict your daily dose of caffeine to two cups (maximum).

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3. May Cause Insomnia

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Insomnia is basically a withdrawal symptom which is combined with other physical problems such as increased fatigue and headache. This is a common sign among caffeine addicts. Basically, a heavy user is faced with the troubles of sleeplessness and irritability if he were to withdraw from caffeine (4).

Prevention Method

The easiest way to tackle insomnia is by avoiding caffeine just before sleeping. Cutting down on the number of cups per day can also help.

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4. Miscarriage

Pregnant women should be extra cautious with caffeine as excessive intake of this addictive drug may lead to miscarriage and other pre-delivery complications (5), (6).

Water-soluble in nature, caffeine easily crosses the placenta through the bloodstream. Being a stimulant it directly contributes to the rapid increase in heart rate and metabolism in the fetus. Side effects of too much caffeine includes delayed fetal growth.

Breastfeeding mothers should not consume more than 2 cups of coffee per day as it affects the baby directly by causing physical irritability.

Prevention Method

The best advice would be to consult your family physician before you decide to take caffeine regularly. Under any circumstance, would-be mothers should not take more than 200 mg of caffeine in a day.

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5. Increased Blood Pressure

People who suffer from hypertension should be cautious about the amount of caffeine they consume on a daily basis.

This drug is known to spike your blood pressure for a short time (7). While there are no long term effects of caffeine, it may worsen the condition in people with irregular heart rhythms.

Caffeine is also associated with heart attack in young adults. According to a study, young adults with mild hypertension who consume more than four cups of coffee in a day are four times more vulnerable to heart attack than those who consume two cups or less.

Prevention Method

If you have hypertension or cardiovascular problems, it’s better for you to seek a medical opinion before including caffeine in your daily routine.

[ Read: Diet Tips To Keep High Blood Pressure In Control ]

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6. May Induce Menstrual Problems

While a hot cup of coffee feels great during those days, excessive intake of caffeine can meddle with your menstrual cycle. It can cause period delays, excessive flow, and prolonged cramps.

Caffeine also increases the chance of vasomotor in menopausal women.

According to a study published in the The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, menopausal women who are dependent on caffeine have a greater chance of displaying vasomotor symptoms.

Prevention Method

Quantity is the key. You should always measure what you consume, caffeine or not. Consulting a doctor is also an important step, especially if you have faced menstrual problems before.

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7. May Increase The Risk Of Urinary Incontinence

Caffeine increases the chances of urinary incontinence in women (8). It is an embarrassing bladder disorder in which the person loses her control of the bladder. It results in the sudden leakage of urine whenever the woman laughs, coughs or sneezes.

Prevention Method

Avoid consuming more than two cups of caffeine in a day.

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8. Obesity

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Obesity is also directly linked to caffeine. Contrary to popular belief, this addictive drug brings up the levels of stress hormones which results in increased hunger pangs.

Prevention Method

Coffee is great! But making it a habit can add extra kilos to your body. So make it a point to have no more than two-three cups of caffeine in a day, and that includes coffee, cola, chocolate, and tea.

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9. May Cause Hallucinations

It is true that caffeine can make you high! And if you go overboard with this addictive drug, you might experience confusion and hallucination too (9). In some cases, this has even led to death due to convulsions.

Prevention Method

If you feel you are getting addicted to caffeine, it’s better you start cutting off on your daily consumption slowly.

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10. Increases The Chances Of Osteoporosis

Consuming caffeine in large quantities also increases the likelihood of osteoporosis (10). It interferes with the absorption of calcium, resulting in bone thinning (osteoporosis).

Overconsumption of caffeine may also cause achy muscles and twitches.

Prevention Method

Caffeine should be avoided by those who are suffering from calcium deficiency or have suffered from it in the past. It might worsen the condition.

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11. May Interfere With Estrogen Production

According to a study, caffeine can reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant by 27%. This percentage may also go higher with the degree of caffeine dependency. Caffeine is also known to interfere with estrogen production and metabolism.

All in all, caffeine is a big no-no for those looking forward to conceiving. It has strong effects that can complicate pregnancy (11).

Prevention Method

Seek your physician’s advice if you can’t live without caffeine on the recommended safe dosage.

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12. Increased Risk Of Gout Attack

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People with gout history should totally avoid caffeine as it has been time and again linked to a gout flare up. It might worsen their condition (12).

Prevention Method

Taking your doctor’s suggestion is the best option. They know your medical history better!

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13. Increases The Chance Of Breast Tissue Cysts

Caffeine is bad news for women!According to a published study, women who consume more than 500 mg of caffeine per day have twice more chances of developing breast tissue cysts than those who take 31-250 mg of caffeine.

Prevention Method

Limiting your caffeine intake is the only solution!

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14. Is Not Good For Type 2 Diabetes

If you have Type 2 diabetes, you might want to consider limiting your caffeine intake (13). This addictive drug may impair glucose metabolism, leading to an uncontrolled glucose spike in the bloodstream.

Prevention Method

Consult your physician and get your daily caffeine limit defined.

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15. May Cause Allergies

Caffeine allergy is highly uncommon, but some people might develop over-sensitivity to the caffeine molecule. This may cause allergic symptoms, like rashes, hives, and pain.

Prevention Method

If you witness such reactions, it’s better to quit caffeine. Seek a physician’s advice if the problem persists.

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16. Inhibits Collagen Production In The Skin

Caffeine is also known to reduce collagen production in human skin (14).

Prevention Method

This problem can be easily prevented by limiting your caffeine dose (15).

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17. May Impair Hearing Loss Recovery

According to a study conducted on guinea pigs, caffeine may also delay the recovery rate of noise-induced hearing loss. The same correlation was seen in the humans (16).

Prevention Method

The ideal solution is not to consume more than 400 mg of caffeine in a day.

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18. Dehydration And Dry Mouth

Caffeine is similar to alcohol in many ways. It is addictive, readily available, can get you high, and causes dehydration.

Being a natural diuretic, caffeine causes too much fluid to leave the system, resulting in dehydration and dry mouth. Dehydrated cells are not able to absorb nutrients easily and have problems eliminating waste. Hence, caffeine is not a good idea while working out, as it can cause excessive dehydration (17).

Prevention Method

Consume coffee, have chocolates. But do all of that in a limit!

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19. Triggers Acne

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Having numerous cups of coffee in a day can also cause acne. Caffeine magnifies body’s stress levels by boosting stress hormones which is one of the main reason for breakouts. Caffeine can aslo throw your body off balance, causing stress, and eventually breakouts (18).

Prevention Method

If you love your skin and are quite vulnerable to acne breakouts, you might want to limit your caffeine intake.

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Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal

Can’t function without caffeine in your system? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. According to a data more than 68 million Americans are caffeine-dependent in today’s age.

But why do we get addicted to caffeine?

Caffeine is a smart drug. It suppresses adenosine, a chemical produced by the brain that relaxes our body. It leads to a tense surge of energy in our system. This, in turn, forces our brain to demand increased levels of caffeine to stimulate the same reaction. Thus caffeine dependency is created. This was about caffeine effects on brain.

People who are bold enough to quit this addictive drug face a number of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are generally mild, but can also be fatal for those who are highly accustomed to caffeine.

The general short-term withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Grogginess
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle pain
  • Depression
  • Lack of concentration

Recommended Dosage Of Caffeine

Caffeine, with its taste and neuropsychiatric effects, has claimed a prominent place in our lives. Chocolates or the morning beverage—it’s almost impossible to avoid this addictive drug. But there’s an important question we need to consider—how much of caffeine is too much?

Caffeine is a drug. Just like other allopathic drugs, caffeine can also affect people differently. Always remember that any pre-existing medical condition can add to the negative effects of caffeine. Thus knowing our body condition, medical history, and daily intake can help us fight it successfully. In fact, half the troubles associated with this drug can be diminished by keeping a tab on the quantity consumed daily.

Now, what is the safe limit for caffeine?

A healthy adult can consume up to 400 mg (about 4 cups of coffee, or 10 cans of aerated caffeinated drinks) of caffeine daily without worrying about the side-effects. However, this upper limit is highly dependent on your present health condition and other allopathic treatments you are taking.

Caffeine should be avoided by children under the age of five, and teenagers and young adults should not go for more than 100 mg of caffeine on a daily basis.

All in all, our enchanting morning-maker can spoil our day and life too, if we step beyond its recommended dosage.

How did you find our article on caffeine side effects? Did we miss out on any point? Do write in.

Stay fit, stay healthy!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What are the different ways to reduce caffeine intake?

One should never quit caffeine abruptly. It may lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, especially if you are habituated to caffeine.

A better solution is to go for a step-by-step reduction method. Begin by cutting on the number of cups you take in a day. Continue this for a few months, till you are sure you won’t cheat. Then start replacing this high-caffeine beverage with something healthier, like green or white tea and organic fruit juice. Keep your physician in the loop at all times.

Can we take supplements along with caffeine?

You are allowed to take certain supplements along with caffeine, especially those that are known to help cleanse the colon, stimulate digestive enzymes, and rehydrate cells. However, one must avoid herbs and supplements that are known to increase the risk of bleeding. Do consult your doctor before going for drugs and supplements as your medical history may aggravate the problem.

How much caffeine is found in chocolates and beverages?

Coffee is known to contain the maximum amount of caffeine. The quantity of caffeine, however, is highly dependent on the brewing method, the strength of the brew, type of coffee bean, and the cup size. A typical 250 ml cup of black coffee contains about 85 mg of caffeine. A single espresso shot has about 63 mg caffeine while one cup of decaf coffee contains about 3 mg caffeine.

On the other hand, an 8 ounce can of red bull contains about 78-80 mg of caffeine. A cup of green tea is known to contain 20-45 mg of caffeine. Cola contains about 30-48 mg of caffeine per can.

Like coffee, caffeine content in chocolates is also highly dependent on its type. A bar of milk chocolate contains about 1.4 mg of caffeine which can go as high as 70 mg for a typical dark chocolate bar.

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