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How Much Caffeine a Day Is Healthy?

by Barb Nefer

About Barb Nefer

I have taken 63 Disney cruises and live next door to Disney World, which gives me a wide range of expertise. I am also a counselor/life coach with an online practice via LivePerson and an in-person practice. This gives me another pool of knowledge to tap. I own an online travel agency, too, so I know a lot about juggling work schedules and starting/running a business.{{}}

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Caffeine consumption can quickly add up if you like coffee, tea, cola-flavored soft drinks, chocolate and other drinks and foods that are natural sources of the chemical. You take in more caffeine if you use certain over-the-counter pain killers, take stimulant aids to stay awake or drink energy shots. Caffeine is not unhealthy in moderation, but can cause some problems if you take in too much of the drug.

Healthy Amounts

Caffeine is generally healthy if you do not exceed 200 milligrams in one day, according to the Food and Drug Administration. This is roughly equal to one to two 5-ounce cups of regular brewed coffee. You usually start having problems if your consumption jumps up to 600 milligrams a day or more, which means drinking four to seven cups of coffee or consuming excessive amounts of tea, cola or energy drinks or combining several caffeine sources, like drinks and medication.

Effects

You get some positive effects from caffeine when you keep your daily consumption within healthy limits. The drug stimulates your nervous system, makes you feel more alert and improves your mental concentration. Exceeding a healthy amount makes you restless, nervous and irritable. Too much caffeine can upset your stomach, make you tremble, increase your heartbeat and keep you awake. The negative effects usually wear off within a few hours without permanent physical harm.

Considerations

Certain people are more susceptible to caffeine's effects, meaning that they have problems after consuming an amount that would not be problematic to most other caffeine consumers. Sensitive individuals may react to just one cup of tea or coffee in the same way that others react to four or more cups. Men tend to be more caffeine sensitive than women and age and body mass play a role. Individuals with anxiety disorders are especially susceptible to the effects of caffeine.

Withdrawal

You make yourself prone to withdrawal symptoms if you drink too much caffeine on a regular basis. Your system gets used to the drug's effects and goes through physical withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking in caffeine. Typical effects are fatigue, stiffness, sore muscles, nausea and a feeling like you have the flu, reports Lloyd de Vries of CBS News Healthwatch. You may also experience mental effects like irritability, depression and difficulty focusing your mind. These symptoms start within one to two days of caffeine cessation and eventually go away in nine days or less if you do not restart your consumption. Using caffeine wards them off immediately.

Photo Credits:

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.