Status: 25/09/2023, 17:17 p.m.
By: Juliane Gutmann
Espressos and energy drinks are your favorite pick-me-ups? The caffeine it contains can also be overdosed. From what amount of palpitations to collapse threatens.
The first thing that goes into the cup in the morning usually contains caffeine. Coffee is one of the absolute favorite drinks of the Germans. The stimulating effect lets you start the day in a buoyant mood and drives the last tiredness out of your limbs. But you can overdo it. Anyone who has ever looked too deeply into the coffee mug (promotional link) knows: The consequences are not to be trifled with. The body reacts with palpitations, nervous restlessness and extreme urge to move when you consume too much caffeine*. In the case of a real overdose, there is even a risk of speech disorders, muscle cramps and cardiac arrhythmias, as the Medical Faculty of Saarland University informs.
Doctors then speak of caffeine poisoning or caffeine overdose. Colloquially, it is also referred to as caffeine shock – with potentially fatal consequences.
Survey on the subject of coffee
A maximum of 400 milligrams of caffeine daily – other recommendations apply to adolescents
According to the health insurance company AOK, a daily caffeine intake of 400 milligrams is considered harmless to health. To put this into perspective, one cup contains around 100 milligrams. The risk of caffeine overdose is particularly high when energy drinks are drunk. For example, Deutschlandfunk Nova cites a publication by the French Food Safety Authority (ANSES) as the third program of Deutschlandradio, in which health complications after an energy drink caffeine overdose were listed. In around 200 cases, there were 80 people who "possibly" died as a result, according to the authority. A caffeine overdose can throw the heart out of sync and, in the worst case, bring it to a standstill. "If you have heart problems, you should be careful with energy drinks or avoid them. It's just that not everyone knows that they have a weak heart," Deutschlandfunk Nova quotes science writer Volker Mrasek as saying on the subject.
Coffee can also have negative effects. © Imago
How much caffeine daily? The recommendations
A cup of coffee contains around 100 milligrams of caffeine, a 500-milliliter can of energy drink around 160 milligrams.
For adults, no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine should be consumed throughout the day. In the case of children and adolescents, other guidelines apply. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), you should consume a maximum of three milligrams of caffeine per kilo of body weight.
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) also points out that no more than two cups of coffee should be drunk at once: "However, health risks can arise if the recommended intake of one serving per day with more than 200 milligrams of caffeine is exceeded," it says on the BfR website. The federal government also advises: "For a healthy adult, an intake of 200 milligrams as a single dose (about two cups of coffee) and 400 milligrams throughout the day (about four cups of coffee) is considered harmless".
Exercise puts a strain on the heart and caffeine can increase that strain. As the health insurance company AOK warns, it is therefore better to dose coffee and other caffeinated beverages carefully before exercising. What is important for athletes in terms of coffee consumption, you can read here*. (jg) *Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN. MEDIA.
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