Caffeine is a common ingredient in much of the food and drink people consume. Some use caffeine to help get their day started, while others use it to fight off that sluggish afternoon feeling. This bitter substance adds a dynamic taste to food and drink and has a number of effects on your metabolism. Ensure you don't consume more caffeine than is recommended to avoid dependency or potential health side effects.
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Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in various plants. This alkaloid crystalline compound creates a bitter taste and can heighten your sense of alertness, as well as provide a boost of energy. Caffeine is typically found in coffee, tea, chocolate, soda and certain medications. It is absorbed by your body quickly and travels to the brain after absorption. Here, it interacts with the central nervous system and impacts your mood and energy level. Some people drink caffeine to help relieve headaches, as well as drowsiness and fatigue. Several pain relievers contain caffeine as an active ingredient.
A safe range for daily caffeine intake is between 200 to 300 milligrams for healthy adults. This is equal to approximately two to four cups of brewed coffee. No specific amount of caffeine per day can be recommended, as every individual reacts differently to the effects of caffeine. Some are more sensitive and become jittery even after consuming small amounts. If you feel the effects of caffeine after only one or two cups worth of coffee, you should cut down on your daily intake to avoid forming a dependency.
If you are pregnant, you can safely consume between 150 and 300 milligrams per day of caffeine. Studies performed on the effects of caffeine and their relation to miscarriages have produced varying results. The "American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology" reported on a 2008 study that concluded women who consume 200 milligrams or more of caffeine daily are twice as likely to have a miscarriage; however, according to another study released by "Epidemiology," pregnant women who consumed between 200 and 350 milligrams of coffee per day showed no increased risk of having a miscarriage. These differences in study outcomes has prompted the March of Dimes to call for more research. It recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day.
According to KidsHealth.org, teenagers should limit their daily caffeine consumption to 100 milligrams. Children should drink even less, if any at all. Some teenagers turn to caffeine to help them stay awake during long study nights or to wake up in the morning for classes. While caffeine in moderation is considered safe for teenagers, as little as 100 milligrams of caffeine per day can lead to dependency. A dependency can result in withdrawal symptoms if your body is not supplied with the caffeine it has become used to receiving. Your personal sensitivities toward caffeine should determine if 100 milligrams per day is safe or too much.