How Much Caffeine Is Too Much Caffeine?

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much Caffeine?

No matter if you’re a tea aficionado, coffee fiend or an energy drink lover, you’ve most likely experienced caffeine jitters at one point or another. 

However, there’s a big difference between having the occasional jitters and having a caffeine overdose. 

Find out how much caffeine you should have a day, how much you get in a can of cola or cup of coffee, and caffeine overdose symptoms below.

Understanding Caffeine

Caffeine is a compound that you can be found in several different plant species’ seeds, fruits and leaves.

It’s a stimulant, and it works on the central nervous system when you consume it. It also works to block the effects of adenosine. This molecule is what makes you feel drowsy. 

Studies have also shown that caffeine promotes production of cortisol in the brain (cortisol is known as the ‘stress hormone’).

After consuming higher-than-average volumes of caffeine, some participants experienced the same neurological symptoms as someone under acute stress.

So, while a strong coffee may be good for an all-nighter, careful consumption of caffeinated products is important!

Other natural sources of caffeine include cacao, tea, guayusa, kola nut and much more. You can get synthetically produced caffeine as well, and this is what you find in caffeine supplements, soft drinks, energy drinks and pain medications. 

Average Caffeine Content of Popular Drinks

On average, a 250 ml cup of coffee has between 51 and 165 milligrams of caffeine. 

However, this can vary depending on the bean type itself, how you prepare it and a few other factors. The average caffeine content of popular drinks in New Zealand include;

Coffee, Tea, Soda & Energy DrinksSize in mlCaffeine (mg)
Brewed Black Tea25025-50
Brewed Black Tea – Decaf2502-5
Brewed Coffee25095-168
Brewed Coffee – Decaf2502-5
Brewed Green Tea25025-31
Citrus Soda3300
Energy Drink25027-164
Espresso – Decaf300
Instant Coffee25050-80
Instant Coffee – Decaf2502
Latte or Mocha25063-126
Ready-to-Drink Tea – Bottled2505-40
Root Beer Soda3300

Caffeine supplements can have between 30 to 400 milligrams per dose, and pain medications can vary from 20 to 45 milligrams of caffeine per dose.

Recommended Daily Caffeine Intake

There are benefits and drawbacks that come with consuming caffeine, but it’s smart to try to stay within your recommended daily caffeine intake amount. 

This can reduce the risk of caffeine overdose and the complications that can come with it. 

The recommended daily caffeine intake for a healthy adult man or woman is between 360 and 500 milligrams. This amounts to between three to four 250-millilitre cups per day. 

For women who are nursing or pregnant, this number drops to around 200 milligrams. However, pregnant and nursing women should talk to their doctor first to get a definitive amount. 

If you hit 500 milligrams of caffeine per day, any health benefits go away. This is the level were health consequences start to come into play.

By drinking energy drinks, several cups of coffee every day, nutritional supplements, caffeinated teas, diuretics, pain medications and foods containing caffeine, it’s easy to hit your maximum amount without realising it. This is especially true because caffeine stays in your system for six to eight hours after consuming it.


Caffeine Overdose Symptoms

It can take between 50 to 100 cups of coffee to trigger a caffeine overdose, but you can hit this by not monitoring all of your caffeine intake. 

This is why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms as soon as they start. If you do, you can stop them from becoming more severe by cutting out caffeine for the rest of the day. 

The symptoms include:


The more severe symptoms on the list require medical attention. 

If you think you’ve had too much caffeine and are in active caffeine overdose, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

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