Caffeine Overdose – How it relates to energy drinks
Caffeine is the most consumed psychostimulant drug in the world.
When it comes to caffeine, most of us have a dependent relationship with our daily cup of coffee or can of energy drink. For some, it can be hard to get through the day without our daily fix of caffeine.
From coffee to energy drinks, most people drink beverages containing caffeine in order to stay awake and feel more energized.
Caffeine works by attaching itself to the adenosine receptors in our brains, tricking us into thinking that we are more awake than we actually are.
Because of its fast-acting energy-boosting effects, it's no wonder that so many people around the world absolutely love consuming caffeine for a quick energy hit each day.
Sources of Caffeine
Caffeine can be either natural or synthetical.
Natural sources of Caffeine
Caffeine is mainly found naturally in cocoa beans, tea leaves, coffee beans, guarana berries, guayusa, and kola nuts.
Natural caffeine can be extracted from those plants and used in all kinds of foods and beverages.
Synthetic Caffeine is made by chemically processing urea and other chemicals as opposed to being naturally derived from plants.
Although somewhat similar, synthetic caffeine is absorbed through our digestive system at a much faster rate than caffeine that's naturally produced. What this means is that you will experience a quicker spike in energy compared to what you might experience from natural sources of caffeine, but only for a short period of time.
Is it possible to overdose on Caffeine?
Although it is quite rare to OD on caffeine, it's certainly possible.
In order to fatally overdose on caffeine, you would have to ingest roughly 10g of caffeine in a day which is pretty hard to do considering that an average cup of coffee contains only 95mg of caffeine.
You would need to drink 105 cups of coffee in a day to fatally overdose on caffeine. I highly doubt that anyone is able to do that and I wouldn't recommend trying it either.
However, you can still exhibit some symptoms of non-fatal caffeine overdose with much lesser doses of caffeine.
What is Caffeine Overdose?
Caffeine overdose occurs when you consume more caffeine than what your body can handle.
The precise amounts of caffeine that can cause an overdose vary from person to another. It mainly depends on your body weight and your unique genetic makeup.
According to the FDA, the daily recommended maximum dosage for caffeine is 400mg for an average adult.
Just like overdosing on any supplements or drugs, overdosing on caffeine can cause serious harm to your body and even death.
What are the minor side effects of Caffeine?
Caffeine usually causes minor side effects when consumed in slight excess, such as:
- Increase alertness
- Increase heart rate
How to recognize a caffeine overdose
If you've overdosed on caffeine you may notice these symptoms:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiac arrest
- Irregular heartbeat
- Abnormally fast heartbeat
- Panic attacks
Overdosing on caffeine is no small matter. Although death from overdosing on caffeine is rare, it is still possible, and is usually a result of heart failure.
Energy drinks and caffeine overdose
Energy drinks do a great job in keeping you alert and giving you extra energy when you need it. They keep you awake and give you the energy you need to get through your day.
If you're wondering what's in an energy drink that makes it such a good source of energy - it's caffeine.
Yep, energy drinks do contain caffeine, and it's most of what keeps you alert and awake after drinking them.
Caffeine in energy drinks
Despite there being low caffeinated options, energy drinks can often contain tons of caffeine.
Some energy drinks, like Bang energy contain 300mg of caffeine per 16 fl.oz can, which I consider to be a huge amount.
It's very easy to overconsume caffeine, especially when you're getting it from energy drinks.
Based on my own experience, I often crave more and more energy drinks, despite already drinking an entire can. This is because energy drinks usually taste great and can be addictive.
If you drink energy drinks frequently, I'm sure you've realized that you no longer get the energy high that you used to get from drinking a can. This is because over time our bodies get used to the effects of caffeine.
Hence, in order to experience the same energy high we would need to consume more caffeine.
Sooner or later, you'll find yourself drinking multiple cans of energy drinks a day, and that can be a recipe for disaster if things spiral out of control.
What does caffeine do to your body?
Caffeine affects our bodies in a number of ways. Besides bonding to our adenosine receptors, fooling us into thinking that we have more energy than what we really have, caffeine also causes our blood pressure to increase.
Within just minutes after ingesting caffeine, your heart starts to pump blood throughout your body at a much quicker rate which then increases your blood pressure.
Over time, due to the increased heart rate and blood pressure, our blood vessels will start to narrow, rupture or even leak due to wear and tear.
This can then lead to heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and worst of all - death.
However, I should point out that these are extreme outliers. Most people who drink caffeine in moderation don't experience any of these negative consequences, and in a lot of cases, a small amount of caffeine can actually be great for your health.
Is it safe to drink energy drinks every day?
Personally, I don't see any harm in drinking energy drinks every day.
However, if you have a pre-existing health condition, or are on any sort of medication, I wouldn't recommend you drink them every day. In fact, you probably shouldn't drink them at all.
The same also applies for other caffeinated products like tea, coffee and sodas.
For most healthy adults, drinking energy drinks daily is generally fine provided that you don't have any allergies to the individual ingredients in your drink of choice.
Having said that, not all energy drinks are created equal.
Some contain a huge amount of sugar or caffeine. When it comes to drinking energy drinks that have a high caffeine content, like Bang, I strongly recommend not to drink them so frequently.
Check out my list of the strongest energy drinks in the world for more info.
Depending on each persons unique physiological makeup, people with a low tolerance to caffeine who consume very highly-caffeinated energy drinks daily may encounter some serious side effects at a later date.
How to reduce the effects of caffeine in your body
If you notice that you're starting to feel symptoms of a caffeine overdose, there are a few ways you can get rid of the caffeine in your body.
- Drink more water
This is by far one the most effective way to flush the effects of caffeine out of your body. Drinking more water will help to replenish the minerals that might have been lost due to the effects of caffeine.
Although drinking water won't get the caffeine out of your system any faster, it may alleviate some of the negative sensations associated with consuming too much caffeine while you're waiting for the caffeine to vacate your body.
- Wait it out
Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours.
This is how long it takes for your body to break down caffeine and flush it out of your body. If you've found yourself in a tight spot, overdosed on caffeine, you can just wait it out.
Normally, you'll be back feeling normal within a couple of hours.
- Prevention and being more aware
Prevention is always better than cure.
Being aware of the amount of caffeine you are ingesting can prevent you from overdosing on caffeine in the first place. Always check the labels on energy drinks or caffeinated beverages to find out exactly how much caffeine is inside.
If you're feeling tempted to drink 2 or more cans of energy drinks in a day, opt for something that has a sensible amount of caffeine in it.
Overdosed on Caffeine?
If you suspect that you may have overdosed on caffeine, it's best to seek immediate help from a doctor or medical professional to be on the safe side.
If all else fails and you think it's serious enough - call 911 and ask them for help.
Low caffeinated energy drinks
There are lots of energy drinks out in the market that contain a sensible amount of caffeine. If you're looking for low caffeinated liquid-based energy drinks, have a look at:
• Red Bull
• Mountain Dew Kickstart
If you are looking for something a tad bit different and more efficient, you can try out Mio Water drops.
Powdered energy drinks are also a great option if you're looking for low caffeinated energy drinks. They tend to be more convenient and affordable than most of the top energy drinks.
Here are a few powders to take a look at:
• REIZE (10 out of 10)
If you fancy yourself a sensible energy drink that still gives you a nice energy boost, REIZE is my recommendation.
REIZE is not like your conventional, ready-to-drink energy drink.
Instead, it comes in conveniently packed sachets and is super easy to make. Just to add water, or mix it with your favorite beverages - it's so versatile that you can mix it with almost any drink.
With 50mg of caffeine, REIZE contains less caffeine than lots of the other brands, but it still gives you a perfect energy boost because of the combination of taurine, ginseng and B group vitamins to complement the 50mg of caffeine.
REIZE is also sugar-free, meaning no more sugar-crashes.
The best part?
REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink. You can choose the option of monthly deliveries or one-time purchases to suit your energy drinking needs.
Try REIZE for yourself, and you might just find that REIZE quickly becomes your favorite energy drink too.