By Korin Miller; Photography by Michael Frattaroli/Unsplash
It’s happened to all of us.
Coffee is amazing. So it’s understandable, then, that you might drink a little too much now and then. Pair all those large lattes up with other foods that contain caffeine, like dark chocolate, and you could wind up with a serious case of the jitters, though.
Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, so it makes you feel more awake and alert, explains women’s health expert Dr. Jennifer Wider. But in large doses, it can cause you to feel hyper-alert, anxious, and, yes, jittery. Caffeine can also trigger the release of the hormone adrenaline, making your heart rate increase, she says.
But how much is too much? The recommended daily allowance for coffee and caffeine is about 400 milligrams a day, which is equal to four cups, according to the Mayo Clinic. (For context, that’s just two Mucho cups at Vida E.) While everyone has a different tolerance for caffeine, you’re probably going to feel pretty crappy if you go over that.
If you suddenly realise that you OD-ed on caffeine, there are a few things you can do. The first is drink water. “Staying hydrated can ease some of the symptoms caused by an overdose and help the body efficiently eliminate it,” says Wider.
Doing mild exercise and eating foods with potassium or magnesium (think: bananas and dark leafy greens) can help, too, says registered dietician Beth Warren, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living a Real Life With Real Food. (Caffeine depletes potassium and magnesium, which can cause the tremors and jitters of caffeine overdose, Warren says.) The average half-life of caffeine in the blood ranges from 1.5 to 9.5 hours, she says, so it can take anywhere from 1.5 to 9.5 hours for caffeine levels to drop in your bloodstream to get to half of its original amount.
If you start having difficulty breathing, confusion, chest pain, vomiting, a fast or irregular heartbeat that doesn’t slow down, muscle twitching, or convulsions, it’s time to seek medical care, Wider says. Doctors have methods to try to draw the caffeine out like using activated charcoal or laxatives, Warren says. But again, they should be used under a doctor’s care.
The best way to lower your odds from having issues from too much coffee is to watch your caffeine intake in the first place. But, if you slip up, you now know what to do.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com