Caffeine Safe Limits: Determine Your Safe Daily Dose

how-much-caffeine

Caffeine Safe Dose Calculator

Your Weight

A safe caffeine limit is the amount of caffeine a person can consume without experiencing any negative caffeine overdose symptoms.

It’s difficult to assign an exact amount for everyone because people can have different sensitivities or reactions to caffeine based on age, medical history, and tolerance.

However, there is enough research available to make a recommendation based on an individual’s weight.

Caffeine Amounts for Healthy Adults

For healthy adults with no medical issues, it is generally agreed upon that 300mg-400mg of caffeine can be consumed daily without any adverse effects.¹ The research behind this number actually bases this on a person’s bodyweight. So if you weigh more than the average human, you can safely consume a little more but if you weigh less than the average human you should consume a little less. Our safe dose calculator above reflects this.

This is equivalent to about:

adult-caffeine-safe-dose-comparison

A large review by European Food Safety Authority concluded that a daily safe dose of 400mg is safe for adults and single doses of 200mg at one time are fine for those engaging in exercise directly after the dose.

Based on on average body weights worldwide7, we conclude that 6mg/kg (of weight) is appropriate. Calculate your daily maximum for any drink here.

Safe Limits for Children

Because children’s brains are continuing to develop and their bodies are still growing, limited caffeine is recommended.

A recent study from The University Children’s Hospital in Zurich showed the importance of sleep for a child’s developing brain. Caffeine can interfere with sleep, therefore, possibly hindering proper brain development.

Ages 12 and Under

Caffeine isn’t recommended for children under 12. Occasionally, some doctors may recommend caffeine for children diagnosed with ADHD, but generally, there really is no reason for children under 12 to consume caffeine.

For children 4 or older an occasional caffeinated soda or chocolate treat will likely pose no concern and around 45mg per day¹ is recognized as a safe amount, but caffeine shouldn’t be a daily part of a child’s diet.

Ages 13-18

While greatly limiting caffeine to this age group would be ideal, because of the increasing demands placed on teenagers in regards to school, sports, and even work; caffeine consumption is becoming more common with this age group.

Developing teens should have no more than 100mg of caffeine daily² due to the importance of sleep, brain development, inexperience with caffeine, and possibly unknown medical conditions.

This is equivalent to about:

  • 1.3 Shots of espresso
  • 1.25 8 fl.oz. Red Bulls
  • .5 of a 5 Hour Energy Shot
  • .6 of a 16 fl.oz. can of Monster Energy Drink
  • .2 of a Starbucks Venti brewed coffee
  • 3 12 fl.oz. Cokes
caffeine-safe-limits-teens-comparison

The European Food Safety Authority also stated in their draft report that for children ages 3-18; 3mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight seems safe. i.e. a 20kg child could safely consume 60mg of caffeine6.

Caffeine for Those with Health Concerns

Adults, as well as children, with either diagnosed or undiagnosed medical conditions, can have adverse health implications with even small amounts of caffeine. For those with certain health conditions, giving up caffeine may be recommended. Here are some conditions that usually warrant quitting caffeine or caution consuming the drug. We recommend using Wean Caffeine to gradually quit caffeine instead of quitting all at once which is a huge shock to your system.

Heart Conditions

Because caffeine is a stimulant, it increases heart rate as well as blood pressure. Therefore, those with heart arrhythmias³, murmurs, and hypertension should limit their caffeine intake.

It’s important to note that caffeine hasn’t been proven to cause arrhythmia, heart disease or other heart-related problems.¹

Those with pre-existing arrhythmias, murmurs, and hypertension should limit caffeine to no more than 200mg daily and are advised to consult their physician before consuming caffeine.

Type 2 Diabetes

The majority of the research shows that caffeine doesn’t increase the risk of someone developing type 2 diabetes, but actually decreases risk.¹

However, those already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should limit caffeine consumption because it can impair glucose metabolism in diabetics.4

Those with type 2 diabetes should restrict their consumption to around 200mg daily or follow their doctor’s instructions concerning caffeine intake.

Pregnant or Nursing Women

We have covered pregnancy and caffeine extensively in our article located here.

In summary, we concluded that mothers consuming 200mg of caffeine or less a day results in very little risk for the developing fetus and nursing infant.

200mg of caffeine is equivalent to about:

  • 2.6 shots of espresso
  • 2.5 8 fl.oz. Red Bulls
  • One 5 Hour Energy Shot
  • .5 of a Starbucks Venti Brewed Coffee
  • 1.25 16 fl.oz. Monster energy drinks
  • 6 12 fl.oz. Cokes
caffeine-safe-doses-health-conditions

Those Ultra-Sensitive to Caffeine

For those ultra-sensitive to caffeine it is hard to determine an exact caffeine safe limit. Some people can have one cup of coffee (100mg-120mg) in the morning and still fail to get to sleep that evening. This is well after the caffeine’s effects should have worn off as it does for “normal” caffeine consumers.

If the ultra-sensitive choose to consume caffeine they should do so in small amounts until they find the amount that works, but doesn’t cause unwanted side-effects.

We suggest that these people start with 50mg of caffeine daily and then slightly increase or decrease their consumption from there.

This is equivalent to about:

  • 1.5 12 fl.oz. Cokes
  • 1 4 fl.oz. brewed coffee. (not Starbucks)
  • 1 8 fl.oz. strong black tea
Need help with caffeine levels? Check out our huge list of caffeine amounts.

A General Guide to Caffeine Consumption Only

Our caffeine safe limit amounts listed above are based on what the latest research tells us and should be used as a general guide, not the “gospel’.

There are just too many variations in the human population to determine a safe limit for caffeine use in ALL people.

Caffeine should be treated as any other drug and used with caution until a person understands how it interacts with his/her particular genetic make-up and health profile.

It’s also important to understand that a person’s safe limit of caffeine can change over time as a person’s health evolves over his/her lifetime.

How Much Caffeine Are Americans Consuming?

The Department of Nutritional Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University recently conducted a survey study and found that on average, those ages 50-64 consume the most caffeine daily.

The most shocking part of their data is the fact that 2 to 5-year-olds consume on average 24mg of caffeine daily. This means that many would consume much more.

We populated their data into the graph below.

usa-caffeine-consumption

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  • Josh Speer

    The human body processes and eliminates caffeine within 6hr. Now can you take the daily dosage and just have that amount every 6hr? If your body is getting rid of it than there would be no reason why you couldn’t have up to 1600mg of caffeine a day.

  • Ted

    No, the body doesn’t process and remove caffeine in 6 hours. The halflife of caffeine is 4-6 hours. This means after 4-6 hours 1/2 of the dose has been metabolised. https://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-half-life-of-caffeine

  • RIP

    Unfortunately he’s dead now, the caffeine killed him. Read about him in the paper, “boy died from energy bomb” (kidding)

  • Superlite27

    Except Red Bull has less caffeine than a cup of coffee, and 5 hour energy is caffeine free. So the danger of caffeine overdose should be minimal in comparison to that dangerous “coffee” substance all the daredevils are drinking.

  • Josh Speer

    I hear yah…thanks for the info.

  • Ted
  • John Henry O’Neal Jr.

    Is one caffeine pill a day 2 much

  • Ted

    One caffeine pill is usually around 100-200 mg, which is within the safe limit for healthy adults.

  • Constance

    I am 13 and i never really drank any energy drinks. But i am not sure if i should drink a 16 oz. monster energy drink in an hour or less. What should i do?

  • Ted

    That probably wouldn’t be a good idea since you are unsure of how your body will react to that level of caffeine.

  • Jesse

    I am 25 years old and up until recently I would consume 2 monsters 2-3 cups of coffee which I know is pretty caffeinated and I would eat chocolate pretty consistently for the past year or so. On top of this I have been a smoker for a few years and have had anxiety and panic attacks since 15 years old. With help of medication I got the attacks under control but have always been pretty high strung since I stopped the meds. I thought after I started having heart palpitations and more stress that it was simply my anxiety then high blood pressure now I’m pretty sure I’m just having to much caffeine and a person with my history may not be able to have that much. It probably averages at 500-600 daily what do you guys think?

  • CheshireKitty

    I began having what I thought were cardiac symptoms – I had gradually increased my consumption of Starbucks. I had a complete cardio evaluation and was told there was nothing wrong with my heart, it was the coffee that was giving me chest pains/palpitations. I was told to only drink decaf and to not even have Starbucks decaf. This was a huge adjustment. I could still have tea. I gave up the Starbucks and switched to regular (American – coffee shop) decaf. Then I edged back to 50/50 decaf/regular. I began drinking more tea. Now, if I have an opportunity to drink a regular (American) Starbucks I will have it – it’s still the best, most “uplifting” coffee. I know I can’t have it on a regular basis. You can get most of the “kick” of coffee simply by having tea. In fact, if you have about 2 or 3 cups of tea in quick succession, you can get quite stimulated “wired” – but in a pleasant way. I have not had a recurrence of the chest pains/palpitations since I stopped the regular grande Starbucks. I even can on occasion have a small cup of regular coffee (coffee shop or Starbucks). At home, I just have 50/50 – decaf/regular. Not great, but what can you do. I then simply have tea.

  • Ted

    It looks like your caffeine consumption is over 600 mg most days, so you may want to cut back to safer levels.
    Here’s a good resources of ours to check out. https://www.caffeineinformer.com/my-caffeine-detox

  • Jesse

    Thanks Ted, I am in the process of cutting back now. The palpatations are still there but they are less frequent I am just hoping it helps and it is the mostly the caffeine and not the anxiety too. It sucks thinking you have that under control and then out of nowhere this stuff happens.

  • Jesse

    See that’s what I was dreading was going in for all those tests just for them to tell me it was stress, anxiety and caffeine. I have been off the meds for about 6 years but only have started all this caffeine a year or so ago and I think it caught up to me. I’m weaning off the caffeine now so hopefully when I get to lower levels I’ll feel better. I absolutely hate anti-anxiety meds like Prozac and Zoloft and I’ll never touch a Xanax or anything close unless I’m about to die lol.

  • Constance

    Okay Thank You.

  • Payam

    I´m 13 years old and i have a healthy body.
    Can i drink one cup of black tea , and then 2 shots of espressos ( with a little bit of milk ) , but i drink my espressos like 4 hours after my tea. Is it safe for me to consume those things under 1 day? Thanks!

  • Ted

    Hi Payam, It looks like that is a little more than we would recommend for someone your age. If you look at the graphic above, you should have no more than 1.3 shots of espresso a day.

  • mimi

    I have drank a rockstar high caffeine drink and I’m very worried because I have drank quite a lot of it

    I’m nearly 13 and worried what will happen it’s 150 mg of caffeine and I’m a little shakey

  • awsumyo

    I’m 16, male, weigh around 130 pounds or something, and I regularly intake a large amount of caffeine. I started drinking 2 maybe 3 Japanese monsters (I live in Japan) which are roughly half the size of a normal monster can (I had trouble finding the exact nutrition facts). I’ve visited the U.S. this summer and was happy to find the much larger amount and variety of flavors and drinks than the 5 or so in Japan. My first large dosage was 10 in 6 days, (I think it was 1 juice, 2 coffees, 1 large lo carb, 1 large ultra zero, 1 lemonade, 1 orange one, 1 regular lo-carb and a few others which I forget. During the summer I also had a fair amount of Starbucks coffees. Then I got to a point where, when available, I could drink 3 in under 6 hours. That happened around every other day in a span of some week. I have already had one today, am drinking one at this moment, and will drink as least one more before I go to bed. I am well aware that I am intaking amounts that far exceed the amount anyone should be. I also have not been getting much sleep. I have pulled more all nighters than I have gone to bed before 3 am these past few months. Drinking a few I normally feel fine, only twice that I remember have I felt a bit sick while drinking (once was because the one I was drinking was terrible and tasted like yogurt), and there have been times where I felt sick/out of breath while not drinking. But I am admittedly surprised at my apparent caffeine (caffeine looks weird spelled out) tolerance. I don’t want to know how to recover or go through monster rehab or whatever, I am just interested in how unhealthy/dangerous my intake exactly is. Oh ya and I’ve been eating like one meal a day this past week and one of the days I drank 3 was a day when I had eaten no real food. I’m not anorexic or anything like that, my reasons are a separate issue. Anyway I think I provided a sufficient amount of information to give you an idea of my health state. Thanks for your help.

Last Modified: November 16, 2017

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