JST WRK - caffeine

How Much Caffeine Is TOO Much Caffeine?

How Much Caffeine Is TOO Much Caffeine?

It's no secret that caffeine is amongst one of the most widely utilized focus enhancing compounds in the world. You consume caffeine daily whether you realize it or not. 

That diet soda has caffeine, the essential morning coffee, energy drinks, supplements, herbal cocktails, and many more all contain substantial amounts of this ingredient.

The age old question of "what is too much caffeine?" or "can caffeine hurt me?" the simplistic answer to both of these questions is it depends, everyone is obviously different however lets take a look at what caffeine specifically is first before we get into the weeds. 

Caffeine is classified as a drug/stimulant but is an organic compound comprised of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen that acts as an energy stimulus once ingested for most individuals. 

So what does caffeine do exactly to the body? Caffeine acts as a stimulant by blocking off the chemical adenosine, which creates sleep pressure aka tiredness. Caffeine has even been shown to suppress a hormone in the body known as melatonin which promotes sleepiness. 

So, how much caffeine is too much? Well a simple Google search will tell you that 400mg and under daily for caffeine consumption is generally accepted as safe, however, depending on the person, their age, metabolism, and other factors this number could be more or less. 

Generally speaking, caffeine consumption should be utilized around training. Studies suggest that between 100-300mg of caffeine consumed 30-60 minutes prior to exercise can increase aerobic capacity by up to 55%. Pre-workout caffeine consumption is also "carb sparing" meaning that caffeine prolongs the time in which glucose elevation in the blood is present. 

All this is great from an athletic perspective but what about consistently high caffeine intake and your health? It's no secret that caffeine can elevate cortisol levels, induce anxiety to those who are prone, as well as have adverse effects on the heart at supra-physiological dosages. Caffeine consumption in excess of 200mg has also been known to cause gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea. 

Dependence on caffeine can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including headache, anxiety, trouble focusing, irritability, and low energy. Point being here, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing so utilize with moderation.  

For improving your endurance or high-intensity exercise, the recommendation is to consume 3-6 mg/kg of bodyweight about 60 minutes before a training session or race. For athletes wishing to use caffeine for more than a morning wake-me-up, consider the following:

  • For athletes who don’t usually consume caffeine, try small doses to avoid stomach troubles.
  • Consider your sleep schedule when you supplement with caffeine. If you don’t get enough sleep, your performance will suffer. 
  • Guidelines for supplemental caffeine use range from 3-6mg/kg around one hour before a race or training session.
  • When in doubt, speak to a Registered Sports Dietitian for recommendations.

For all of your caffeine related questions and concerns as always, feel free to drop by any of our NutriPrime locations and one of our team members will help guide you towards product/recommendations that will meet your fitness and health goals!