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Caffeine intoxication: Doctor on how many cups of coffee are safe for health

Caffeine intoxication: Doctor on how many cups of coffee are safe for health Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Millions of people worldwide consume coffee daily without experiencing any negative consequences. However, for those hypersensitive to caffeine, a toxic effect known as caffeine intoxication can occur, according to dietitian Oleh Shvets.

What doses are considered safe

"The safe amount of caffeine on average is up to 400 mg per day, equivalent to 4-5 cups of coffee. The toxic effect of caffeine manifests when consumed rapidly at approximately 1200 mg, which is about 12 cups of coffee," explains the dietitian.

Symptoms of intoxication include psycho-emotional excitement, increased blood pressure, accelerated heart rate, nausea or vomiting, and even seizures.

However, the doctor notes that consuming 400 mg of coffee or less per day is safe and even beneficial.

"If you consume more, various side effects may occur. Each person has a different level of caffeine tolerance. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the risk of caffeine intoxication as they likely have a lower threshold for overall caffeine consumption. Therefore, young people should consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day," says Shvets.

People get caffeine not only from coffee

The dietitian emphasizes that most people receive an excessive dose of caffeine per day.

"You can limit coffee, but often people consume caffeine from other sources, such as energy drinks or tea. Some of these beverages contain much more caffeine than a regular cup of coffee," says the doctor.

Caffeine can accumulate in the body, posing a risk of intoxication. Caffeine from one drink remains in the body for up to 9 hours.

"Beverages with a high caffeine content in America have even been mentioned in lawsuits regarding the deaths of people with type 1 long QT syndrome, making them more susceptible to the negative effects of caffeine. Some studies have shown that in such cases, caffeine abuse can lead to death," notes Shvets.

Chronic intoxication

Long-term caffeine consumption can lead to addiction. Conversely, when a person abstains from their usual drink for a day, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, excessive fatigue, and a bad mood.

"Doctors should discuss the risk of caffeine intoxication with their patients, similar to the issue of alcohol abuse. Although caffeine tolerance is individual for each person, the hypothetical risk of intoxication exists for everyone," says the dietitian.

Previously, we wrote about why coffee doesn't give you energy.

Read also about 7 drinks that will fill you with energy for the whole day.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.