Coffee is a widely consumed beverage, which is probably why we end up neglecting its health concerns. The side effects of too much coffee in your system can be horrific. These come to a crescendo that extends to both physical and mental health problems. Studies indicate that moderate amount of caffeine does not culminate in severe health effects. These are safe to take. However, your sensitivity to caffeine is an important factor in the equation of caffeine and health well-being.
Coffee consumption in the US
The love for coffee in the United States swells unabated. There are almost 3.1 cups of coffee consumed on average per day in the country by coffee drinkers. Preference for specialty coffees has also increased by several notches. The sales of specialty coffee explain this, as they rise up annually by 20%.
On the whole, there are approximately 66 billion coffee cups consumed in the US. Bisecting the coffee drinkers according to gender shows that men gulp 1.7 coffee cups and women take 1.5 cups on a daily average.
The obsession for coffee is not limited to the US alone though. In fact, the country ranks on number 8 in the list of top ten coffee-loving countries. The first five slots are taken up by Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, and France, respectively.
The negative effects of too much coffee in your system
Limiting your coffee intake is a wise choice because that way you are able to enjoy its taste and reap its benefits like alertness too. However, too much coffee is bad for your health. Some of the prominent impacts on your health include:
- Digestive problems
An overdose of coffee correlates with digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, and acidity. Caffeine and the numerous acids present in the coffee beans irritate your stomach and intestinal lining. This creates a problem for folks who suffer from gastritis, IBS, ulcers, and Crohn’s disease.
Furthermore, ulcers are understood to be caused by the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori. The acidic effect of coffee on your stomach can lay the breeding ground for this bacteria by weakening the stomach lining, which is essential for keeping H. pylori at bay. Drinking coffee can also damage the lining of the intestine, leading to cramps and abdominal spasms.
- Early death
A study by Mayo Clinic in partnership with others revealed that men who took more than four 8 fl.oz. cups of coffee were at a risk of early death. In fact, the study highlighted that such people have a 21% increase in all-cause mortality.
It was also indicated that people who took significant amounts of coffee also exhibited poor fitness and were likely to smoke. Some discrepancies in the study were, thus, outlined but the key takeaway was that moderation in coffee consumption is crucial.
- Leads to headache
Caffeine is suggested as a headache-killer, which is why several people sip an immediate cup of the brew when they sense a headache coming or already have one. However, it must be kept in mind that too much caffeine can work in just the opposite way. Excess caffeine can trigger headaches, which is another important marker to ensure that you take only the recommended dose of the drink.
Essentially, a headache is characterized by dilated blood vessels, which caffeine corrects by constricting. The common causes of headaches due to coffee include caffeine allergy, caffeine withdrawal, over-dosage, varied coffee consumption, and sensitivity to caffeine.
Too much coffee corresponds with sleep disruption. Research indicates that caffeine remains in your system for an average of five hours after consumption. The exact time period varies from person to person but generally falls within the range of one and a half hours to nine hours.
Not only does excess caffeine make it difficult for you to fall asleep but also disturb the total time of nap. Studies confirm this as they conclude the coffee hampers both the quality and quantity of sleep. If you suffer from restlessness, it is wise to make sure that you stay away from coffee as the evening falls.
Caffeine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which contributes to heartburn and acid reflux. It is critical for this small muscle to remain shut once you have taken a meal. This ascertains that stomach content does not go back into the esophagus. It also prevents the delicate lining of the digestive pipe from burning due to the functioning of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Caffeine is notorious for relaxing this muscle, potential leading to heartburn. Even decaf contributes to the same problems. Some researchers also see links between acids reflux problems and coffee.
- High blood pressure
Excess intake of coffee also corresponds to the increased risk of high blood pressure. There is little association between stroke or heart diseases with caffeine but blood pressure disturbance is backed by evidence. In numerous studies, high amounts of coffee exhibit stimulatory effects on the nervous system.
The resulting elevated blood pressure is a risk factor that snowballs into a stroke and heart attack with the overtime damage done to the arteries. A study focused on a participant pool of people with hypertension. These participants were given 250 mg of caffeine, which equates to around to around two coffees. The data confirmed that the participants’ blood pressure was high for nearly 2-3 hours after drinking coffee.
- Rapid heart rate
Caffeine is a stimulatory agent, which is why it makes us feel alert. As a result, an overdose of caffeine may lead to a rapid heartbeat. It may also result in altered heartbeat rhythm which is called atrial fibrillation. This issue is reported in young people who take energy drinks that contain a high content of caffeine.
A case study stamps this as true. A woman who took massive caffeine powder and tablets in an attempt to commit suicide developed a rapid heart rate and kidney failure among other serious health issues. Some studies indicate otherwise too. However, it is essential for you to lower your coffee consumption if you sense a fast heartbeat in the aftermath of quaffing a cup.
- Mineral problems
Coffee drinkers are unable to get the required amounts of minerals from their diets despite eating mineral enriched foods. This is because caffeine negatively impacts the stomach’s ability to absorb iron. In the same way, it also hampers the kidney’s ability to retain zinc, magnesium, calcium, and other vital minerals.
The interference poked into the magnesium absorption is particularly troublesome because the mineral is needed to maintain bowel regularity. As a solution, Healthline recommends using transdermal magnesium oil that improves poor absorption rates.
- Increases risk of heart attack in youngsters
It is clear that by elevating the levels of your blood pressure, caffeine amps up the odds of heart disease and stroke by means of arterial damage. In addition to this, research work by Dr. Lucio Mos showed that young people who had mild hypertension were at 4 times the risk of a heart attack if they took caffeine equating to 4 coffee cups.
The same study also concluded that moderation in the intake of coffee exhibit a 3 times risk. High doses of caffeine are also proven to increase the blood pressure of healthy people during exercise.
- Mental health effects
An overdose of coffee is also linked to psychological health issues. In fact, caffeine intoxication has been recorded by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a temporary mental disorder. Such a problem is characterized by signs like muscle twitching, red face, rapid heartbeat, sleeplessness, nervousness, and rambling speech.
Caffeine can also fire back in the form of depression when people who take regular amounts of this beverage try to quit it abruptly. Too much coffee can lead to stress and anxiety as well. A study unveiled that participants who took 300 mg of caffeine experienced double levels of stress as compared to participants who were in the control group.
Anxiety can also occur with the over intake of caffeine. Coffee tends to set the body’s fight or flight mechanism in action with the release of the hormone, adrenaline. However, in the case of substantial doses of caffeine, this effect can become pronounced to give an unfortunate outcome of nervous jitters and anxiety. Caffeine withdrawal also climaxed in fatigue and irritability in the company of headaches.
Too much coffee can amount to massive amounts of caffeine in your blood. Some of the impacts can show in the immediate run. These include sleep deprivation that occurs due to the stimulant nature of caffeine. It also entails rapid heart rate and headaches.
In the long run, that is peppered with the continued excess dose of caffeine, one can develop an increased risk of elevated blood pressure, acid reflux, frequent urination, heartburn and other digestive problems. Excess coffee is also not good for the health of kidneys and psychological well-being. On a mental note, substantial amounts of caffeine can result in stress, anxiety, and even depression.