NEW YORK (CNN) – Caffeine is everywhere; in coffee, iced tea, chocolate, sodas and even in some medications. It’s a stimulant that can make you feel more alert and gives you a boost of energy.
“It increases blood flow to the muscles, opens up your lungs, it gives increased performance, so sometimes people will do it for increase athletic performance, and some people do it to wake up in the morning,” said Dr. Henry Spiller of Central Ohio Poison Ctr.
However, when you consume too much of it, caffeine can cause major health problems. On average, most people can handle about 300 to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day: that’s about what’s in three to four 6 ounce cups of coffee.
What’s concerning these days is more and more products contain larger amounts of caffeine. Energy drinks, supplements, even powdered caffeine contains way more of the substance than any cup of coffee.
For example the FDA warns one teaspoon of powdered caffeine is equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. “So when they take what they think is a dose it’s 10, 15, 20 times what they are expecting,” said Dr. Spiller.
Consuming more than 1,000 milligrams of caffeine could lead to some serious side effects like an irregular heartbeat, nausea, tremors, insomnia, and in some rare situations, death. So beware of what you’re drinking.
Best way to avoid caffeine overdose is to check the ingredients just to see how much caffeine you are taking in.