How Much Coffee A Day Is Safe To Drink? Experts Say…

There are millions of individuals all over the world relying on caffeine to improve their focus and concentration, eliminate fatigue, wake up and be able to meet the challenges of the day. So you're not alone if you wondering how much coffee a day is safe to drink. The answer? 

Healthy adults can safely drink four cups of coffee every day. This is equivalent to approximately 400 milligrams.

Even though caffeine is considered safe for adults, children should not drink coffee. Caffeine should be limited for adolescents. Even if you are an adult, drinking more than four cups of coffee a day can result in some unpleasant side effects.

How To Tell If You Drank Too Much Coffee

Too much coffee?

There is an important difference between drinking too much coffee and a caffeine overdose. Some common signs of drinking too much coffee include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fever
  • Increased thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea

The symptoms of a caffeine overdose are more serious and require immediate medical treatment. The symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain

Caffeine will remain in your blood for 1.5 to 9.5 hours. This is the general half-life. This means this is the amount of time necessary for the caffeine in your system to decrease by fifty percent of the original amount. This makes it extremely difficult to know exactly how much caffeine can cause you to overdose. An overdose may be life-threatening or lead to unpleasant symptoms that disappear once the caffeine has been excreted.

A caffeine overdose can occur if you drink too much coffee. Although some individuals exceed the recommended amount, this can be dangerous. Too much coffee can result in serious health issues such as seizures and an irregular heartbeat. If you drink too much coffee for a long enough period of time, the result may be a hormonal imbalance. If you rarely have a cup of coffee, you body may be more sensitive to the caffeine. You need to be careful not to drink too much at a time.

If you are a regular coffee drinker, you should stop immediately when you notice any unpleasant symptoms. You can prevent a caffeine overdose by limiting yourself to four cups of coffee per day.

What To Do If You Went Overboard

Caffeine beans

A lot of people drink coffee and consider the brew an elixir for restoring life. If you are drinking a lot of coffee because you are tired and it just tastes good, you are not alone. The problem is if you drink too much, you may end up with the jitters. Caffeine is a stimulant which is why drinking coffee makes you feel more alert and awake. Your adrenaline hormone can be triggered resulting in an increase in your heart rate. Coffee is fine in moderation. Drinking too much can cause you to become anxious and hyper-alert.

The best option is limiting your intake to four cups a day but you have to consider the amount of caffeine in your coffee. There are approximately 92 milligrams of caffeine in one cup of a breakfast blend. There is no issue with drinking four cups. One cup of grande Vida coffee contains 310 milligrams of caffeine. Now there is an issue. There are steps you can take when you know you had too many cups of coffee. You need to drink water because your body can eliminate the caffeine when you are hydrated.

Another good option is mild exercise. This can enable your body to metabolize quicker. Consuming foods containing magnesium or potassium such as bananas can also help. Caffeine eradicates the magnesium and potassium in the body. This is why a caffeine overdose can result in jitters and tremors. Overdosing on caffeine is not common. This can still happen if you drink too much coffee in a fairly short period of time. If you experience the symptoms of an overdose including chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, vomiting, confusion or difficulty breathing, you need to seek immediate medical attention.

Should You Just Avoid Coffee Altogether?

Coffee cups

Most people get to a point where coffee is no longer waking them up. This happens because you build up a tolerance for the caffeine. Once your body becomes accustomed to the caffeine, you need more and more coffee to attain the effect you are used to. Eventually, the coffee has no effect at all. This does not mean you have to stop drinking coffee. You do need to be careful not to increase your dose of caffeine too much. This is especially true if you have any health issues such as heart problems or high blood pressure or if you are pregnant. Instead of drinking more coffee, consider tolerance may be the issue.

If you are grinding your coffee beans coarser, less caffeine will be released during brewing. Try using your regular grind or make your coffee stronger by using extra grounds. If you changed the type of coffee you drink, that could be the issue. The amount of caffeine in different brands varies widely. Consider going back to your original type of coffee. The roast is also important. A darker roast has a lengthier roasting process so more water is lost. The density is decreased due to the loss of water weight. Lighter roasts have more density. This means every scoop has more caffeine.

If you switched to espresso to get more caffeine, you are getting less. There are only eighty milligrams of caffeine in a double espresso. One eight-ounce cup of coffee has approximately 120 milligrams. If you have not made any changes, consider trying a stronger coffee. It is also helpful to understand how caffeine works. Adenosine is a chemical accumulating naturally in your brain when you are awake. This is how you know when you are fatigued. The more adenosine, the greater your desire for sleep. The structure of caffeine is similar to adenosine. This stops the adenosine from telling you to sleep. This is why consuming caffeine makes you feel alert and awake.

Once your brain realizes the adenosine is not having an effect, your tolerance becomes important. You are literally fighting your own body. Instead of giving up coffee entirely, you can stop drinking it for a short period of time. After only two weeks, your coffee will do everything you want once again. You may experience some minor symptoms of withdrawal such as a little irritability, fatigue and muscle soreness but you will not have to give up coffee forever.

Editor's note: Thank you Ian Townsend for your contribution on this article!