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The negative long term effects of excessive coffee consumption

Most types contain caffeinea substance that may boost your mood, metabolism and mental and physical performance 123. However, high doses of caffeine may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Research has shown that your genes have a major influence on your tolerance to it. Some can consume much more caffeine than others without experiencing negative effects 56.

20+ Harmful Effects of Caffeine

Here are 9 side effects of too much caffeine. Anxiety Caffeine is known to increase alertness. It works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical that makes you feel tired. However, at higher doses, these effects may become more pronounced, leading to anxiety and nervousness. In fact, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder is one of four caffeine-related syndromes listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSMwhich is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Extremely high daily intakes of 1,000 mg or more per day have been reported to cause nervousness, jitteriness and similar symptoms in most people, whereas even a moderate intake may lead to similar effects in caffeine-sensitive individuals 910. Additionally, modest doses have been shown to cause rapid breathing and increase stress levels when consumed in one sitting 1112. One study in 25 healthy men found that those who ingested approximately 300 mg of caffeine experienced more than double the stress of those who took a placebo.

Interestingly, stress levels were similar between regular and less frequent caffeine consumers, suggesting the compound may have the same effect on stress levels regardless of whether you drink it habitually 12. Nevertheless, these results are preliminary. If you notice that you often feel nervous or jittery, it might be a good idea to look at your caffeine intake and cut it back. Although low-to-moderate doses of caffeine can increase alertness, larger amounts may lead to anxiety or edginess.

Monitor your own response in order to determine how much you can tolerate. On the other hand, too much caffeine can make it difficult to get enough restorative sleep. Studies have found that higher caffeine intake appears to increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.

It may also decrease total sleeping time, especially in the elderly 1314. Although coffee and tea are the most concentrated sources of caffeine, it is also found in soda, cocoa, energy drinks and several types of medication. For example, an energy shot may contain up to 350 mg of caffeine, while some energy drinks provide as much as a whopping 500 mg per can 16. Importantly, the amount of caffeine you can consume without affecting your sleep will depend on your genetics and other factors.

In addition, caffeine consumed later in the day may interfere with sleep because its effects can take several hours to wear off. Research has shown that while caffeine remains in your system for an average of five hours, the time period may range from one and a half hours to nine hours, depending on the individual 17. One study investigated how the timing of caffeine ingestion affects sleep. Researchers gave 12 healthy adults 400 mg of caffeine either six hours before bedtime, three hours before bedtime or immediately prior to bedtime.

Both the time it took all three groups to fall asleep and the time they spent awake at night increased significantly 18. Caffeine can help you stay awake during the day, but it may negatively impact your sleep quality and quantity.

Cut off your caffeine consumption by the early afternoon to avoid sleeping problems. Digestive Issues Many people find that a morning cup of coffee helps get their bowels moving. However, caffeine itself also seems to stimulate bowel movements by increasing peristalsis, the contractions that move food through your digestive tract 21. On the other hand, the negative long term effects of excessive coffee consumption studies suggest that caffeinated beverages may worsen gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD in some people.

This seems to be especially true of coffee 232425. In a small study, when five healthy adults drank caffeinated water, they experienced a relaxation of the muscle that keeps stomach contents from moving up into the throat — the hallmark of GERD 25. Since coffee can have major effects on digestive function, you may want to cut back on the amount you drink or switch to tea if you experience any issues.

Although small to moderate amounts of coffee can improve gut motility, larger dosages may lead to loose stools or GERD. Reducing your coffee intake or switching to tea may be beneficial. Common causes of rhabdomyolysis include trauma, infection, drug abuse, muscle strain and bites from poisonous snakes or insects. In addition, there have been several reports of rhabdomyolysis related to excessive caffeine intake, although this is relatively rare 26272829. In one case, a woman developed nausea, vomiting and dark urine after drinking 32 ounces 1 liter of coffee containing roughly 565 mg of caffeine.

Fortunately, she recovered after being treated with medication and fluids 29.

That cup of joe may be good for many, but there are downsides as well

People may develop rhabdomyolysis, or the breakdown of damaged muscle, after they ingest large amounts of caffeine.

A detailed review suggests that although caffeine triggers certain brain chemicals similarly to the way cocaine and amphetamines do, it does not cause classic addiction the way these drugs do 30. However, it may lead to psychological or physical dependency, especially at high dosages.

In one study, 16 people who typically consumed high, moderate or no caffeine took part in a word test after going without caffeine overnight. Only high caffeine users showed a bias for caffeine-related words and had strong caffeine cravings 31. Additionally, the frequency of caffeine intake seems to play a role in dependency. In another study, 213 caffeine users completed questionnaires after going 16 hours without consuming it.

Daily users had greater increases in headaches, fatigue and other withdrawal symptoms than non-daily users 32. Going without caffeine for several hours may lead to psychological or physical withdrawal symptoms in those who consume large amounts on a daily basis. However, it has been shown to raise blood pressure in several studies due to its stimulatory effect on the nervous system 33343536.

Elevated blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke because it may damage arteries over time, restricting the flow of blood to your heart and brain. High caffeine intake has also been shown to raise blood pressure during exercise in healthy people, as well as in those with mildly elevated blood pressure 3738. Therefore, paying attention to the dosage and timing of caffeine is important, especially if you already have high blood pressure.

Caffeine seems to raise blood pressure when consumed at high doses or prior to exercise, as well as in people who rarely consume it. Rapid Heart Rate The stimulatory effects of high caffeine intake may cause your heart to beat faster. It may also lead to altered heartbeat rhythm, called atrial fibrillation, which has been reported in young people who consumed energy drinks containing extremely high doses of caffeine 39.

In one case study, a woman who took a massive dose of caffeine powder and tablets in an attempted suicide developed a very rapid heart rate, kidney failure and other serious health issues 40.

Indeed, even some people with heart problems may be able to tolerate large amounts of caffeine without any adverse effects. In one controlled study, when 51 the negative long term effects of excessive coffee consumption failure patients consumed 100 mg of caffeine per hour for five hours, their heart rates and rhythms remained normal 41.

Regardless of the mixed study results, if you notice any changes in your heart rate or rhythm after drinking caffeinated beverages, consider decreasing your intake.

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Large doses of caffeine may increase heart rate or rhythm in some people. These effects appear to vary greatly from person to person. If you feel them, consider reducing your intake. Fatigue Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages are known to boost energy levels. However, they can also have the opposite effect by leading to rebound fatigue after the caffeine leaves your system. One review of 41 studies found that although caffeinated energy drinks increased alertness and improved mood for several hours, participants were often more tired than usual the following day 42.

Of course, if you continue to the negative long term effects of excessive coffee consumption lots of caffeine throughout the day, you can avoid the rebound effect. On the other hand, this may affect your ability to sleep. Although caffeine provides energy, it can indirectly lead to fatigue when its effects wear off. Aim for moderate caffeine intake to help minimize rebound fatigue.

You may have noticed that you need to urinate frequently when you drink more coffee or tea than usual. In one study, 12 young to middle-aged people with overactive bladders who consumed 2 mg of caffeine per pound 4. For someone weighing 150 pounds 58 kgthis would equate to about 300 mg of caffeine per day. In addition, high intake may increase the likelihood of developing incontinence in people with healthy bladders. One large study looked at the effects of high caffeine intake on incontinence in more than 65,000 women without incontinence.

Those who consumed more than 450 mg daily had a significantly increased risk of incontinence, compared to those who consumed less than 150 mg per day 45. If you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages and feel that your urination is more frequent or urgent than it should be, it may be a good idea to cut back on your intake to see if your symptoms improve.

High caffeine intake has been linked to increased urinary frequency and urgency in several studies. Reducing your intake may improve these symptoms. The Bottom Line Light-to-moderate caffeine intake seems to provide impressive health benefits in many people.

On the other hand, very high dosages may lead to side effects that interfere with day-to-day living and might even cause serious health issues.

To get the benefits of caffeine without undesirable effects, conduct an honest assessment of your sleep, energy levels and other factors that might be affected, and reduce your intake if needed.

Caffeine for Your Health — Too Good to Be True?