Questions About Caffeine

What is caffeine?

Caf­feine is a naturally-occurring sub­stance com­monly found in some fruits, leaves, and seeds. If those fruits, leaves, or seeds are ingre­di­ents in a prod­uct, that prod­uct likely con­tains caffeine.

What does caf­feine do?

Caf­feine is a stim­u­lant, mean­ing it gooses the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem. Caf­feine can ease fatigue, boost wake­ful­ness, and improve con­cen­tra­tion and focus.

How much caf­feine is too much?

Mod­er­ate intake of caf­feine is mostly harm­less. For most peo­ple, that trans­late to 200 – 300 mg (mil­ligrams) or two to four cups of cof­fee. The effect caf­feine has on you will depend on a num­ber of fac­tors: body mass, age, med­ica­tion you may be using, and health con­di­tions like anx­i­ety. If you aren’t a reg­u­lar caf­feine drinker, that will fac­tor in as well. For most peo­ple, 500 – 600 mg of caf­feine is too much

What are the neg­a­tive effects of too much caf­feine intake?

Drink­ing too much caf­feine can affect you in the fol­low­ing unpleas­ant ways:

  • Insom­nia
  • Ner­vous­ness
  • Irri­tabil­ity
  • Upset stom­ach
  • Irreg­u­lar heartbeat
  • Mus­cle tremors

In extreme cases, over-caffeination can even result in death. Intake should be care­fully mon­i­tored, espe­cially in small chil­dren. As caf­feine can affect your sleep, it is rec­om­mended that you do not drink it after 3 p.m.

What if I want to quit caffeine?

Con­sum­ing caf­feine can have neg­a­tive effects and you may be think­ing it’s time to quit. If you’ve come to that con­clu­sion, it’s rec­om­mended that you don’t try to quit cold turkey. Mon­i­tor your caf­feine intake and grad­u­ally step it down until you elim­i­nate it com­pletely. If you drink caf­feine to boost your energy, there are options avail­able so that you don’t lose that boost. Exer­cise is a good choice which boosts both your energy level and productivity.

If you do quit cold turkey, be pre­pared to deal with symp­toms of caf­feine with­drawal. These can include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue, sleepi­ness, or energy loss
  • Irri­tabil­ity
  • Anx­i­ety or depression
  • Trou­ble con­cen­trat­ing or being productive
  • Nau­sea or vomiting