Can You OD On Caffeine?

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23_everyman__MG_9587Photographed by Atisha Paulson.
We all know how it feels. You've got about two hours left in the workday but your body appears to be closing shop a bit early. Your eyelids feel heavy, composing an email takes way longer than it should, and thoughts of a big, white bed start floating through your head. The one thing that comes to mind instantly to cure your weary woes? Caffeine, of course. Maybe you go for an iced coffee, maybe a foamy cappuccino, or perhaps you take a gulp or two of your favorite energy drink. Whichever suits your fancy, there's no doubt that caffeine is your (and the world's) go-to solution for when you feel your sleepiest.

You may know caffeine is a drug — but, did you know you can OD on it?

"Safe doses of caffeine are usually quoted at around 200 to 300 milligrams, or two to four cups of coffee per day," says David Seres, M.D., associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University, in an interview with upwave. While this amount is probably what most of us are guilty of consuming and is perfectly okay, reaching about 1000 milligrams is when problems can occur. And, getting there is not all that difficult.

Energy drinks like Red Bull generally have around 80 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce can, while some of the bigger cans have around 240. A 16-ounce cup of coffee (a.k.a a grande Starbucks) contains 300 milligrams or more.

Energy drink consumption, rather than coffee intake, seems to be more problematic. Barbara Crouch, executive director at the Utah Poison Control Center, told upwave that those who drink energy drinks (especially young people) like to drink not just one, but two or three of the beverage before a stressful meeting, workout, or night out.

"When you pound down more than one energy drink verses sipping a cup of coffee, you're not metabolizing it the same way," says Crouch, noting that size, age, drug interactions, sex, amount of food in the stomach, and hydration levels can create different outcomes when it comes to caffeine intake. This is especially troublesome considering that most energy drink makers aren't always so honest about the other ingredients they put in their beverages that could create dangerous effects.

But, don't think you're out of the woods simply because you're not a fan of Red Bull or Monster. You should still monitor your caffeine consumption from other sources, as well. Pay attention to how much coffee, dark chocolate, soda, and even allergy pills and dietary supplements you take. Ultimately, if you understand your body and know where to draw the line when it comes to how much caffeine you eat or drink, you can prevent overdosing and poisoning, and enjoy your latte as per usual. (CNN)