More Potential Caffeine Side Effects and Risks

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).

Cutting back? You may experience some withdrawal symptoms

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. 

Caffeine Side Effects and Risks

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).

Caffeine isn't a good choice for everyone

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. 

What about caffeine side effects for kids?

Wondering whether any caffeine at all is safe for your children and adolescents? Learn more about caffeine for the younger members of your family on our Caffeine Facts page here.

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.

Caffeine Side Effects and Risks

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. 

Page 2 of 2

Previous   1    2   Next

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.

How much caffeine is too much?

Figuring out how much caffeine is too much isn't an exact science. Caffeine affects each of us differently, according to age, size, physical and mental health, how often we have caffeine (and how much), and various other factors. 

For some people, a big pot of black tea or a few cups of coffee will have little or no negative effect, while, for others, even the smallest amount of caffeine will bring on irritability, insomnia, nausea, and other caffeine side effects.

In general, somewhere between 200 and 400 mg of caffeine daily isn't typically harmful for most healthy adults, but caffeine affects each of us very differently. Watch for signs (like the side effects listed here) that you're ingesting too much caffeine.

More about Caffeine

Caffeine Facts - All about caffeine! What it is, how much caffeine is in your favorite tea, information about safe amounts of caffeine, and much more.

Caffeine Benefits - We hear so much about the potential risks of caffeine, but caffeine can be good for us in many ways, too! Learn more on our Caffeine Benefits pages.

Caffeine Risks - Some of the ways high levels of caffeine can affect us physically and mentally, and some contraindications for excessive caffeine use, too.


Clauson,  K.A., Shields, K.M., McQueen, C.E., and Persad, N. Safety issues associated with commercially available energy drinks. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2008 May-Jun; 48(3): e55-63; quiz e64-7. DOI: 10.1331/JAPhA.2008.07055. 

Higgins, J.P., Tuttle, T.D., and Higgins, C.L. Energy beverages: content and safety. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 85.11 (2010), 1033-1041. PMC. Web. 25 Mar. 2015. 

Klein, T. Energy drinks raise resting blood pressure, dramatic in those not used to caffeine. Mayo Clinic News Network.

Vlachopoulos, C., Hirata, K., Stefanadis, C., Toutouzas, P., and O'Rourke, M.F. Caffeine increases aortic stiffness in hypertensive patients. American Journal of Hypertension Jan 2003, 16 (1) 63-66. 

Winston, A.P., Hardwick, E., and Jaberi, N. Neuropsychiatric effects of caffeine. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment Nov 2005, 11 (6) 432-439; DOI: 10.1192/1pt.11.6.432. 

Which is your favorite tea?

Yerba Mate
I can't pick just one!

Subscribe to The Tea Talk E-zine!