Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Caffeine Toxicity

Are you overdoing it on caffeine? Even two large coffees can put you over the recommended limit of 300 to 400 mg a day. Brimming with healthful antioxidants, coffee is good for you. But where java is concerned, it may be possible to get too much of a good thing. Caffeine overdoses are on the rise — thanks in part to mega-size coffees, as well as the popularization of high-octane energy drinks. Though they may taste like soda, energy drinks can have three times as much caffeine. Signs of a caffeine overdose include heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, muscle twitching, abdominal cramps and heart arrhythmia. Since the stimulant can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, drinking large amounts of caffeine on a regular basis can lead to sleep trouble. It can also exacerbate the physical effects of stress, like high blood pressure, irritability and increased heart rate. What’s more, research suggests that drinking large quantities of coffee boosts the risk of atrial fibrillation — a rapid irregular heartbeat that can result in palpitations and an increased risk of stroke and fainting. Limit your cups of Joe to three per day (or fewer if you notice symptoms from even one or two cups). If you notice increased anxiety, heart palpitations or nervousness, it’s probably a sign that you should cut back.

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