It's essential to stay informed about potential caffeine side effects, risks, and even contraindications if caffeine is a regular part of your (and your family's) diet.
We love how caffeine (the most widely used stimulant around the world) increases our energy, improves our performance and concentration, and boosts our mood.
However, caffeine in excess can have some worrisome risks and side effects, too, such as insomnia, moodiness, increased anxiety, headaches or migraines, and more.
Keep reading to learn more about some potential caffeine side effects and risks (if you'd like to read from the beginning, our Caffeine Risks pages begin here).
Because caffeine is a stimulant drug, it is possible to become physically dependent on it. Regularly consuming as little as 100 mg of caffeine daily can lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms (like irritability, melancholy, headaches, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and even vomiting) if you cut back or remove caffeine from your diet.
If you're thinking of reducing your caffeine intake or eliminating caffeine completely, consider phasing it out gradually to lessen any potential withdrawal symptoms.
Why not begin by switching from coffee to lower amounts of caffeine in caffeinated teas? (Jane Pettigrew, in her wonderful resource, 'The Tea Companion,' recommends that those concerned with their caffeine intake "drink the paler, lighter brews from green or oolong teas.")
Then, later in the day, brew up a tasty, caffeine-free, beneficial herbal tisane, such as cinnamon, ginger, or Rooibos, or treat yourself to a delicious herbal tea latte. Or, for some help weaning yourself completely off of caffeine (especially coffee), try this satisfying recipe for Dandelion and Chicory Root Tea from Deliciously Organic.
If you're trying to cut back on the amount of caffeine in your diet, keep an eye on other sneaky sources of caffeine, too, like chocolate, energy and soft drinks, and some prescription and over-the-counter medications (such as cold, pain, and allergy medications).
For many of us, caffeine is a normal part of our everyday routine. But - caffeine isn't necessarily the safest or healthiest choice for each of us.
Some of us may be at greater risk for harmful effects of caffeine because high doses of caffeine can interact negatively with certain existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure; panic, anxiety, or bipolar disorder; epilepsy; or heart problems.
For example, research has shown that, for someone who already has high blood pressure, as little as 250 mg of caffeine can significantly elevate his or her blood pressure for up to 3 hours.
Caffeine can interact with certain medications, too, including anticoagulants (such as warfarin), anti-platelets (like aspirin), other stimulants, and medications for depression. (You can find a more detailed list of medications that may interact with caffeine here.)
So, if you're currently being treated for any health concern or issue or are taking any herbal remedies or prescribed or over-the-counter medications (even antibiotics or birth control pills), please avoid high levels of caffeine until you've checked with your healthcare provider about any potential interactions with caffeine and safe amounts of caffeine for you.
And, if you're pregnant or nursing a little one, please pay a visit to your healthcare professional to ask about safe amounts of caffeine for you and your baby. In general, low amounts of caffeine are thought to be safe for expecting moms; however, very high levels of caffeine may increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. You can read more about caffeine and pregnancy on our Caffeine Facts page.
Caffeine is a stimulant drug that, while it does give us increased energy and boost our mood, can have some worrying side effects, as well.
Caffeine appears in many obvious - and some not-so-obvious - places, so be sure to stay educated about caffeine side effects, risks, and sources, as well as safe, healthy amounts of caffeine for each member of your family.
Keeping an eye on caffeine consumption and making some healthy substitutions (like naturally sweet, caffeine-free Rooibos tea instead of an energy drink for the children and teens in your family) can go a long way towards preventing unwanted caffeine side effects.
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