Too much caffeine intake can harm health


While caffeine can be a tonic for alertness, it also has multiple other effects, including insomnia, stomach irritation and nervousness.

Many teens rely on caffeine to stay awake and energized throughout the day. Caffeine is most commonly found in soft drinks, coffee and tea. Caffeine is also found naturally in foods such as chocolate, ice cream and sunflower seeds.  Many consumers, however, do not know the effects that come with too much caffeine.

“Although many people indulge in caffeine usage, many are not aware of some of the basic facts regarding its effects,” says osteopathic physician Dr. Ivan Rusilko.

Caffeine is primarily effective for mental alertness and improving pain relief. It can also improve athletic performance, such as endurance.

An estimated 85 percent of adults in the U.S. consume caffeine in the form of coffee, tea and sodas. The average amount per coffee drinker is 3.3 cups a day. Sixty-four percent of all coffee is consumed at breakfast.

“Since I sleep late, I always get coffee in the morning to help keep me awake and active. It also allows me to sit still and not feel jittery,” said freshman Brianne Agcaoili.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the major food sources of caffeine are coffee, soft drinks and tea. Teenagers and young adults consume roughly one-third the amount of caffeine as adults, or about 100 mg per day, while energy drinks contribute only a small portion of caffeine consumed by teenagers.

Healthy adults should not consume more than 300-400 mg which is equivalent to about three to four cups of coffee a day. Teens should have no more than 100 mg or one cup of coffee, due to ongoing brain development, a need for sleep and their relative inexperience with caffeine consumption.

Too much caffeine intake can cause insomnia, nervousness, nausea, stomach irritation and restlessness. It can also lead to anxiety and a  faster heart rate. Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes frequent urination.

“Whenever I drink too much coffee, I am usually sweaty and I have a hard time to sit still,” said freshman Sierra Tarumoto.

Research proves that caffeine intake can reduce bone mass, creating an increased fracture risk. Although caffeine has its disadvantages, it can help teens stay active and alert. Caffeine can also alleviate headaches. Research also indicates that caffeine lowers the risk of developing some diseases, such as Alzheimers. Nonetheless, teens should watch the amount of caffeine consumed to prevent headaches and irritability and especially since sleep is vital in teens’ lives.