The Maximum Amount Of Caffeine You Can Safely Consume Each Day

Coffee and tea are indispensable morning pick-me-ups for millions of Americans. The beverages stimulate wakefulness, alertness, and the mental dexterity needed to meet the challenges of a new day. The stimulation part of the equation is, of course, the work of caffeine, which as Healthline notes, increases the activity levels of your brain and central nervous system. But could we be getting too much of a good thing? How much caffeine can we safely consume during the course of a single day?

The good news is not that it is possible to have too much caffeine in a single day, but that very few of us do. Even better, on those rare occasions that we do overindulge, the side effects are likely to be mild. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults can safely tolerate up to 400 milligrams daily. Depending on your beverage of choice, that translates to about four cups of coffee. The number of cans of soda or energy drink you can consume varies from brand to brand, of course. Simply divide the number of milligrams of caffeine in the can by 400.

Some people should have less caffeine during the day

As Greatist notes, the 400 milligrams-per-day figure is also quoted by the Food and Drug Administration. But it doesn't provide any context for children or for adults with special circumstances (for instance, women who may be pregnant). For those numbers, we can look to Canadian government health guidelines. Those recommend no more than 300 milligrams per day for women who are pregnant or breast feeding, and no more than 45 milligrams for children ages 4 to 6, 62.5 milligrams for children ages 7 to 9, and 85 milligrams for children ages 10 through 12. All of those numbers for kids represent less than the equivalent of caffeine found in one cup of coffee.

What happens if we overindulge? According to Healthline, symptoms can include anxiety, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and frequent urination. It should also be noted that caffeine can be addictive, and, if you overindulge regularly, it can lead to serious health risks. In fact, even overdosing on a single occasion may be harmful to your health. Studies in Human & Experimental Toxicology and Acute Medicine have shown rare instances of rhabdomyolysis and acute kidney failure caused by excessive caffeine use, for example.

Moderate, responsible use of caffeine, however, is associated with health benefits, per Healthline.