The Dangers of Too Much Caffeine Consumption

By: Erika Jaramillo

Many online students have an array of different activities they have to complete throughout the day, and turning to caffeine to help them keep going is the norm. While a cup of coffee or a can of soda is fine every now and then, caffeine can have many harmful effects on your body if you consume too much. For example, it can ultimately weaken your immune system, increase stress hormones, make you age faster and can cause insomnia.

So how much caffeine is "too much?" Experts suggest that the normal amount of caffeine consumption is about 200 to 300 mg a day—that’s about two to three cups of a coffee a day respectively. But experts also suggest that consuming the maximum amount of the "normal" spectrum can lead to caffeine addiction—and just like any type of addiction, including drug addiction, this is not a good thing. On average, caffeine addicts consume about 600 mg of caffeine a day, which is equivalent to about 6 cups of coffee a day.

So how can you tell if you are starting to show the early signs of becoming a caffeine addict? The only way to truly know is to test yourself. Try going at least one day without consuming any kind of caffeine and evaluate the way your body reacts. If you are becoming an addict (or are already an addict) your body will begin to experience several different withdrawal systems. The first and probably most noticeable will be a severe headache. You may also experience heightened irritability, nausea and muscle tremors (or shakes).

So how to curb your dependence of caffeine? The trick, like with any addiction, is to wean yourself off slowly. Going cold turkey may be rough. So instead slowly reduce the amount of caffeine you consume a day. If you tend to drink about three cups of coffee, limit yourself to two instead. It’s also important that you are properly hydrating your body with water after consuming your caffeinated beverage. This is because caffeine actually dehydrates your body. Also, try not to make your coffee or tea as strong as you normally do and try watering down your soda. Little by little continue to reduce the amount until you don’t need caffeine anymore.

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