Overdose on Caffeine ---Signs and
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Last updated July 17, 2016 (originally published July 16, 2013)
By  Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our Editorial Board, which
includes Certified fitness and health professionals
.]






You know the feeling when you’ve sipped one supersized
latte too many – buzzed, a little shaky, and much more
agitated than usual. Have you overdosed on caffeine? You’re
unlikely to do yourself much harm if you have a cup in the
morning every day. But what about a Starbucks mega-cup at
lunchtime, a chocolate bar in the afternoon, an energy drink
with vodka in the evening, and some over-the-counter
painkiller medication at bedtime?

The problem is, caffeine is starting to appear
everywhere in
our food chain and in an increasing number of medications.
A changing market means caffeine is added to increasing
amounts of products, from chewing gum to cold medicine.
And with a lack of labeling requirements it’s all too easy to
get too much of a caffeine hit - caffeine overdose is a new
and potentially dangerous problem.

But how much caffeine do you need to consume to reach the
limit? The average adult American consumes around 300mg
caffeine a day, according to a 2010 US Food and Drug
Administration report. Is this too much? How do you know if
you’re suffering a caffeine overdose?

What are the Symptoms of a Caffeine Overdose?

Caffeine produces different effects depending on how much
you have and on your existing health. In low to moderate
doses of between 85 and 250mg of caffeine --- about the
amount in an 8 ounce cup of coffee --- you may feel more
alert, less tired, with greater powers of concentration. Sip a
bit more --- between 300 and 500mg --- and you can start
to feel restless and nervous, with
the shakes and problems
sleeping.

But if you drink more than 500mg a day, serious problems
start to creep in.  If you drink more than 500 mg threshold,  
you could suffer breathing problems, confusion,
increased
urination, rapid or irregular heartbeat, muscle twitching,
flushed face, vomiting and fever and even seizures.

This phenomenon is known as "caffeine intoxication",
according to the 2013 American Psychiatric Association’s
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The next stop on this train is caffeine overdose.

How Much Caffeine Does It Take to Overdose?





























The US Food and Drug Administration and the American
Medical Association say that consuming a moderate amount
of caffeine each day will generally be safe. Here are some
guidelines to keep in mind as you go through your day:

  • Low to moderate intake of caffeine is 130 to 300mg a
    day.

  • Moderate intake is 200 to 300mg.

  • High intake starts at 400mg a day.

That’s one Starbucks tall Americano (330mg) and a regular
Red Bull (80mg) to just nudge you over 400mg.

If you drink more than 400mg of caffeine a day you won’t
necessarily be overdosing but you will feel the effects of
caffeine intoxication.

Overdose occurs at extreme levels of caffeine consumption –
10g (1000 mg) of caffeine at one time, or around 80 to 100
cups of coffee.

It's also important to bear in mind that even generally safe
amounts can cause health problems for pregnant women,
children and those with caffeine sensitivities, according to a
2010 Harvard University report by Dr. Robyn Morris.

Is  Caffeine Overdose Dangerous?

It might seem impossible to overdose – who can drink 100
cups of coffee in a row without throwing up? – but there are
other ways to ingest potentially fatal amounts of caffeine,
including super-concentrated caffeine powders and energy
drinks.

A massive dose of caffeine can be fatal. Caffeine overdose
can cause seizures, arrhythmias,
hypertension followed by
hypotension, respiratory failure, ventricular fibrillation and
finally
heart failure.

A 21-year-old woman went into cardiac arrest after
ingesting 10,000mg of caffeine and died from subsequent
complications, according to a 2010 report from Sahlgrenska
University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.

And a 2005 report by the New Mexico Department of Health
recorded two deaths from caffeine intoxication.

In the UK, a 27-year-old woman survived after ingesting 50g
of caffeine powder, despite suffering tachicardyia and heart
failure (Department of Cardiology, St Helier Hospital, Surrey,
UK, 2013).

Death from caffeine overdose is rare but with the availability
of energy powders, drinks and super-sized beverages the
problem looks set to rise. While you may not be intentionally
or unintentionally abusing energy powders or tablets, you
could be ingesting potentially toxic levels of caffeine every
day. How do you know if you’re at risk of an overdose, and
what can you do to prevent caffeine intoxication?

1.
Know How Much Caffeine You’re Getting to Prevent
Overdose

You’d think it would be simple to limit your caffeine intake to
200 or 300mg a day but when a regular brewed 12oz coffee
contains 200mg, 8oz of black tea has up to 80mg, Diet Coke
47mg, and two Midol Complete caplets have 120mg, it soon
adds up (data from Center for Science in the Public
Interest.)  When you start having super-sized lattes and
triple-strength energy drinks problems can occur quite
quickly.

It can also be surprisingly difficult to know how much
caffeine you’re exposed to on a daily basis. The Food and
Drug Administration says that because caffeine is not
classified as a nutrient, manufacturers don’t have to list the
amount in food or drinks, although it must be listed as an
ingredient if it is added to a product.

Some limits on caffeine content do exist. The FDA limits the
amount of caffeine in over-the-counter medications to
200mg per dose. That sounds good, until you realize that
you may be taking more than one dose of, say, painkiller per
day.  In cola drinks, the FDA permits caffeine at 0.02 percent
concentration.

But in the case of energy drinks, which are not classed as
beverages but more often as dietary supplements,
manufacturers are not required to list or limit the caffeine
content in their products
.  That is a huge potential health
danger.

[Editor's Note:

There is in fact, a gaping whole in the FDA's regulatory
scheme on energy drinks, the 2010 Harvard University
report noted. These drinks are classified as dietary
supplements, so that are not required to list the amount fo
caffeine, how much constitutes a "serving" and how many  
such "servings" you should not exceed per day.]

2.
Avoid Overdose - Limit Your Intake of Energy Drinks

The rising popularity of caffeinated energy drinks,
particularly among teenagers and young people, has raised
concerns about their public health impact. Energy drinks may
contain a whopping 300mg or more caffeine per serving and
the addition of herbal ingredients like kola nut can push the
hidden caffeine total still further.

Between 2004 and 2010 16 people died as a result of
overdosing on Monster, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy drinks
alone, according to the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and
Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Adverse Event Reporting System.
If you buy these drinks in the larger sizes you could be
consuming the equivalent of four cups of coffee in just one
can.

3. …
and Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks Are Worse Still

Increasing numbers of people mix alcohol with energy drinks
on a night out. The combination is said to give you a greater
hit and make it easier to unwind and have fun. But it is also
known that caffeine helps give a sedative effect while it
leaves motor function and cognitive judgment unimpaired –
consequently, drinkers don’t realize how drunk they are,
leading to the increased risk of accidents, injury and
psychological damage according to a 2012 report by the
University of Bristol, UK.

4.
Herbal Tablets Could Cause a Caffeine Overdose

Continue reading  page 1  page 2


















































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