18 Harmful Effects of Caffeine
The harmful effects of caffeine are sometimes harder to find information on than all of the reported positives.
Here are a few of the studies that concluded that caffeine could be potentially dangerous to one’s health.
Research Showing Harmful Effects of Caffeine
- More than 4 cups of coffee linked to early death. A Mayo Clinic partnered study found that men who drank more than four 8 fl.oz. cups of coffee had a 21% increase in all-cause mortality. However, those that reported that they consumed excessive amounts of caffeine were also likely to smoke and have poor fitness. Dr. Nancy Snyderman from NBC said there were a few discrepancies with the study, but stresses that moderation is still key. See Her Interview Here.
- Caffeine consumption may raise blood pressure. Especially in those already suffering from hypertension and those who don’t normally consume caffeine. People with hypertension were given 250 mg of caffeine (about 2 coffees) and the data revealed that their blood pressure was elevated for about 2-3 hours after the caffeine. Src. A second study performed by The Mayo Clinic found similar results from a 160 mg dose. All participants experienced a marked rise in blood pressure and it was the most pronounced in those that didn’t normally consume caffeine. Src.
- Increased risk of heart attack among young adults. A study conducted by Dr. Lucio Mos found that young adults who were diagnosed with mild hypertension had 4 times the risk of having a heart attack if they consumed the amount of caffeine equivalent to 4 cups of coffee. More moderate consumption showed 3 times the risk. Src.
- Caffeine linked to gout attacks. This study showed that people who binge on caffeinated beverages increase their risk for a gout flare-up. Src.
- Caffeine could cause incontinence. A study out of the University of Alabama showed that women who consume a lot of caffeine are 70% more likely to develop incontinence. Src.
- Caffeine may cause insomnia. Caffeine in a person’s system at bedtime can mimic the symptoms of insomnia. Src.
- Caffeine can cause indigestion. People who consume caffeinated beverages often report an upset stomach or indigestion. This mainly occurs when the beverages are consumed on an empty stomach. Src.
- Caffeine can cause headaches. While occasional doses of caffeine can relieve headache symptoms, the overuse of caffeine can cause headaches and lead to migraines. Src.
- Caffeine could reduce fertility in women. A study from The University of Nevada School of Medicine showed that caffeine can reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant by about 27%. Src.
- Caffeine may not be healthy for type 2 diabetics. A study conducted by the American Diabetes Association showed that caffeine impaired glucose metabolism in those with type 2 diabetes. Src.
- Caffeine Overdose. While overdose is rare, it can lead to many adverse symptoms including death, especially in those with underlying medical conditions. Some have a lower tolerance for caffeine than others. Src.
- Caffeine Allergies. Some people have over-sensitivity to the caffeine molecule, which causes allergic-like reactions in the body such as hives and pain. Although not a true allergy, many report very negative symptoms after consuming even the smallest amounts. Src.
- Caffeine causes more forceful heart contractions. A recent study showed that immediately after energy drink consumption the heart produced more forceful contractions. It is unclear if this has any long-term health implications except for those with known health conditions. Src.
- Worse Menopause Symptoms. A recent study published in The Journal of The North American Menopause Society showed that menopausal women who consumed caffeine had a greater degree of vasomotor symptoms. Src.
- Caffeine consumption can lead to increased anxiety, depression and the need for anxiety medication. Src and Src.
- Caffeine increases the amount of sugary beverages consumed by people, which contributes to obesity and diabetes. Src.
- Caffeine inhibits collagen production in skin. This effect is dose dependant but really heavy caffeine consumers should be aware. The Study.
- Caffeine interferes with ossification and could also lead to greater risk of bone fractures. This is dose dependent, but heavy caffeine consumers should take note. Study 1 (pdf) Study 2 .
Other Claims Against Caffeine
Some of those negatives include:
- Adrenal fatigue
- Irregular heartbeat
- Accelerates bone loss. Src.
Caffeine is a drug and can affect people differently just like any other substance. It’s important that consumers understand how caffeine interacts with their bodies in regards to their personal health histories.
The food and beverage industry spends millions, if not billions, of dollars world-wide to fund studies and promote caffeinated products as safe or even healthy.
Fortunately, caffeine is one of the most researched substances on the planet and there does exist some unbiased data in which to glean some reliable information from.
While much of the research published does allude to the safety and even potential benefits of caffeine (in moderation), there are a handful of research studies that highlight the potential harmful effects of caffeine.
The risks of suffering from any of the harmful effects of caffeine are diminished by being aware of how much is personally being consumed daily.
It is also important to be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions that may contribute to caffeine’s negative effects.