By Natalie Wertz
You probably better stop at four…experts say more than 400 milligrams of caffeine, or four cups of coffee, a day can lead to addiction and health conditions.
“I know that you can get addicted to caffeinated stuff if you have too much of it,” University of Findlay freshman and exercise science for health professions major Tori Spires said. “I try to limit myself.”
That third cup of coffee may not be so beneficial to your health, despite the energetic jolt you may get from it. UF students say they are more inclined to use coffee as their preferred form of caffeine. Yet, there are some benefits to the world’s beloved caffeine.
March is National Caffeine Awareness Month and coffee lovers everywhere may be ready to celebrate. That cup of joe brings with it some ups and downs.
“[Caffeine] can help mental alertness [and] headaches,” Tara Smith, R.N. at Cosiano Health Center said. “Sometimes there’s medication that have caffeine in them like Excedrin Migraine.” But caffeine is only helpful when consuming a moderate amount. “Typically, you should have no more than what would equal to be four cups [of coffee],” Smith said, “400 milligrams [of caffeine].”
“It’s helped me to keep myself a little bit more awake,” Spires said. She usually drinks 12 ounces of coffee a day, equivalent to only 136 milligrams of caffeine. On an Instagram poll from The Pulse, 38% of voters said they drink a caffeinated beverage every day while 58% of those voters said that coffee is their go-to caffeinated beverage.
But the downsides of caffeine consumption can be life threatening.
“If somebody drinks too much caffeine, it can affect their heart,” Smith said. It could also cause insomnia, acid reflux, and stomach irritation.”
“I’d say [my caffeine intake] has increased since this spring semester,” Spires said. College students are known to increase their caffeine consumption, also discovered in a research article published to the National Institute of Health and the Clinical Nutrition Journal titled, “Intake of caffeine from all sources and reasons for use by college students.”
“Now with energy drinks being so popular, I think that’s what college kids go with,” Smith said. Smith says that college students don’t always make the best health choices. Students often stay up at night studying and become addicted to the quick fix that caffeine provides them.
She suggests college athletes need to be just as careful, if not more careful, as other students with their caffeine consumption.
“The NCAA looks at if you have too much…some people [take] caffeine pills,” Smith said. “Athletes will have to be really careful with that.”
Because caffeine allows individuals to improve their physical and mental health, athletes sometimes increase their intake for better performance. The NCAA says athletes can consume no more than 6 to 8 cups of coffee 2 to 3 hours before an event.