I know how it is; a morning just doesn't feel right without that cup of joe. At least, it's that way for me. However, too much of a good thing might derail those health perks. Knowing what can happen if you drink too much caffeine, such as more than two cups of coffee in a day, and how your body, in particular, reacts, will help you make better choices to keep yourself safe. Before taking another sip, check in with your body and see how you feel. If you're noticing any weird symptoms, swap it for water, stat.
You don't need to cut coffee out completely; in fact, coffee has tons of health benefits, in moderation. As a certified health coach, I work with clients on being mindful of their reactions to certain substances. You know your body best: if you start to feel strange, scary symptoms, try cutting back and maybe even seeing a physician for additional feedback. Finding beverages with lower (or no) amounts of caffeine could help, such as green tea, herbal tea, or water with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Do what feels right. Here are 9 things that can happen to your body if you drink two or more cups of coffee in a single day. Beware, it isn't pretty.
According to Isabel K Smith, MS RD CDN, over email with Bustle, your body can become incredibly dehydrated if you're drinking heavy amounts of coffee, or rather all caffeine, during the day. Smith says this happens because the caffeine will cause the kidneys to produce more urine.
2. Elevated Heart Rate & Blood Pressure
Smith says that taking too much caffeine in can cause your heart rate to rise, and it may reach into a dangerous range that can seriously affect your heart health. Likewise, "racing heart, heart palpitations, or feeling jittery," can occur, advises Erin Holley, RD at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, over email with Bustle. "Caffeine is a stimulant and can increase our heart rate as we consume more. If you find yourself experiencing any of the following, it’s a good sign that you should cut back on the amount of caffeine that you may be drinking or consuming," says Holley.
3. Frequent Bowels
Smith cautions against needing too many trips to the bathroom. When you're drinking over two cups of coffee each day, you might notice that you're needing to poop more often. Smith says this is due to "increased time of transit in the gut."
4. Excess Urination
"Increased frequency of urination – studies have linked excessive caffeine intake (>300 mg/day) to overactive bladder," says Susan Berkman, a registered dietician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, over email with Bustle. "Especially in adults over the age of 60 who are experiencing difficulty with feelings of frequency or urges to urinate, reducing coffee intake may be able to help," Berkman adds.
5. Increased Risk Of Heart Disease
"In some individuals with heart disease, drinking an excessive amount of coffee may increase risk of having a non-fatal heart attack, or may exacerbate symptoms of congestive heart failure," explains Berkman. See a doctor to discuss more long-term affects, especially if you're a patient already seeking medical care.
6. Muscle Spasms
If you notice you're getting weird, muscle spasms or involuntary jitters after drinking coffee, it could be due to the amounts you're intaking and how your body responds. If you notice anything strange happening with your limbs, such as a shiver or a tic, cut back and see if it gets better.
7. Increased Risk Of Osteoporosis
"Osteoporosis – especially in postmenopausal women, excessive caffeine intake may contribute to decreased bone mineral density," advises Berkman. "In order to preserve bone health, women who may be at risk for developing osteoporosis may benefit from cutting back on their coffee consumption," Berkman adds.
8. High Anxiety
"Some people are more prone to anxiety than others. If that’s you, you may also notice that you are more sensitive to caffeine, especially in higher doses," advises Holley. "Anxiety typically results in increased heart rate and racing thoughts, which can also be exacerbated by caffeine’s stimulating properties. Again, if you find yourself feeling more anxious when consuming larger quantities of caffeine, cut back slowly to a more moderate amount or cut it out altogether if you can," Holley advises. "It may increase anxiety or depression in people with mood disorders. It may also trigger the body’s flight of fight response, which could lead to inflammation and disease," adds Dr. Partha Nandi M.D., F.A.C.P, creator and host of the Emmy-award winning medical lifestyle television show, “Ask Dr. Nandi” and Chief Health Editor at WXYZ-TV (ABC) Detroit over email with Bustle.
9. High Irritability
If you're super cranky after drinking more than two cups of coffee, it's likely not because you're wishing you still had coffee left. Unfortunately, drinking excess coffee can alter your mood, making you more cranky and irritable. If you're lashing out at co-workers at the office, for no reason, and you cup is empty, trying cutting back and see if your mood improves.
If any of these symptoms are happening to you after drinking two or more cups of coffee in a day, it could be a sign that your body doesn't tolerate caffeine well. Skipping that extra cup could make a huge difference.
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