Caffeine Intoxication

Caffeine Intoxication: Overview

Caffeine intoxication usually occurs with consumption above 250mg (equivalent to about 2 1/2 cups of coffee).  Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and may be taken to help restore mental alertness when unusual tiredness, weakness or drowsiness occurs.  Caffeine's use as an alertness aid should be only occasional.  It is not intended to replace sleep and should not be used regularly for this purpose. The amount of caffeine in some common foods and beverages is as follows:

Coffee, brewed40 to 180mg per cup
Coffee, instant30 to 120mg per cup
Coffee, decaffeinated3 to 5mg per cup
Tea, brewed American20 to 90mg per cup
Tea, brewed imported25 to 110mg per cup
Tea, instant28mg per cup
Tea, canned iced22 to 36mg per 12 ounces
Cola and other soft drinks, caffeine-containing36 to 90mg per 12 ounces
Cola and other soft drinks, decaffeinated0mg per 12 ounces
Cocoa4mg per cup
Chocolate, milk3 to 6mg per ounce
Chocolate, bittersweet25mg per ounce

Signs and Symptoms

Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause the following side-effects:Another negative effect of caffeine is its potential for addiction.  We all know people who cannot function without their "caffeine fix" and many individuals are clearly addicted to tea, coffee, cola drinks and chocolate.

Caffeine also increases blood pressure, even in healthy individuals, but particularly in the elderly.  Persons who already suffer from high blood pressure may find that ingesting large quantities of caffeine pushes their blood pressure up to unacceptable levels.

Excessive intakes of caffeine contribute to osteoporosis and may interact negatively with prescription medications.

Research indicates that women who ingest excessive quantities of caffeine, do not conceive as fast as women who drink moderate quantities of this stimulant.

The birth weight of babies born to pregnant women who drink or eat too much caffeine may be low, which exposes the newborn to a number of risks.

In addition, caffeine passes into breast milk and can transfer all the negative effects listed above to the infant.  So, if a baby is irritable, restless or exhibits any of the other side-effects of caffeine excess, this may be due to the mother ingesting too much caffeine.

Caffeine Intoxication

Information On This Page

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Caffeine Intoxication:

Symptoms - Cardiovascular

Heart racing/palpitations may be a sign or symptom of Caffeine IntoxicationHeart racing/palpitations
Caffeine intoxication can cause a rapid or 'pounding' heart rate.

Symptoms - Food - Beverages

Symptoms - Food - Preferences

Symptoms - General

Fatigue that worsens during the day may be a sign or symptom of Caffeine IntoxicationFatigue that worsens during the day
Caffeine is known to cause periods of exhaustion.

Symptoms - Metabolic

Hyperactivity may be a sign or symptom of Caffeine IntoxicationHyperactivity
High caffeine levels can cause restlessness.

Symptoms - Mind - Emotional

Symptoms - Mind - General

Occasional/frequent racing thoughts may be a sign or symptom of Caffeine IntoxicationOccasional/frequent racing thoughts
Caffeine intoxication is known to cause rambling thought and speech.

Symptoms - Muscular

Symptoms - Skin - General

Conditions that suggest Caffeine Intoxication:

Diet

Dehydration may suggest Caffeine IntoxicationDehydration
Dehydration may result from the increased urinary frequency brought on by caffeine.

Habits

Lack of Sleep may suggest Caffeine IntoxicationLack of Sleep
It almost goes without saying that coffee decreases the quality of sleep and is one of the leading causes of sleep disturbance.  Coffee drinkers are sleepier and groggier than non-coffee drinkers when they get up in the morning, causing them to depend on coffee to get them going.  This grogginess may be the result of their entering caffeine withdrawal during the night, or that drinking coffee kept them from sleeping well in the first place, or both.

Hormones

Low Melatonin Level may suggest Caffeine IntoxicationLow Melatonin Level
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine deplete melatonin levels.

Musculo-Skeletal

Restless Leg Syndrome may suggest Caffeine IntoxicationRestless Leg Syndrome
Excess caffeine levels cause restlessness.  Caffeine has been shown to increase subjects' proneness to develop RLS at lower levels of blood glucose.  It is therefore no surprise that a xanthine-free diet (no coffee, tea, cola beverages, cocoa) has been reported to be another effective dietary measure RLS sometimes following a short period of caffeine withdrawal.  [J Clin Psychiatry 39: pp.693-8, 1978; Ann Intern Med 119: pp.799-804, 1993]

Symptoms - Female

Uro-Genital

Increased Urinary Frequency may suggest Caffeine IntoxicationIncreased Urinary Frequency
Caffeine is a diuretic, causing increased urination.

Risk factors for Caffeine Intoxication:

Supplements and Medications

Symptoms - Female

Symptoms - Food - Beverages

Caffeine Intoxication suggests the following may be present:

Addictions

Caffeine Intoxication can lead to:

Diet

Caffeine Intoxication often leads to DehydrationDehydration
Dehydration may result from the increased urinary frequency brought on by caffeine.

Hormones

Caffeine Intoxication often leads to Low Melatonin LevelLow Melatonin Level
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine deplete melatonin levels.

Recommendations for Caffeine Intoxication:

Diet

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Strong or generally accepted link: is often a sign or symptom of; often increases risk of; often suggests; often leads to
Strong or generally accepted link:
is often a sign or symptom of; often increases risk of; often suggests; often leads to
Definite or direct link: is a sign or symptom of; increases risk of
Definite or direct link:
is a sign or symptom of; increases risk of
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for