Home Health And Fitness Food And Nutrition 5 Potential Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Coffee

5 Potential Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Coffee

15 min read

Did you know that over half of the adults in America are addicted to caffeine? It’s America’s most popular drug by quite a bit.

But that’s probably okay, because people generally get their caffeine fix from coffee and for the most part that’s not that bad for your health.

It’s actually got far more benefits than it does detriments. There’s good reason why so many people will start their day with a cup of coffee

It’s high in fiber, it can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as alzheimer’s disease and it actually lowers your risk of heart disease too.

And this might be subjective, but it tastes awesome too. Having said all of that, there is some side effects that you might have to deal with if you go overboard with your coffee consumption.

Here’s five of those potential side effects for you to think about:

1.    Insomnia

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. We drink coffee to wake up the mornings, so it’s only natural that if we drink too much of it, we’ll be awake for too long.

Caffeine stays in your system for about five hours, so if you drink it less than five hours before you go to to bed, you probably won’t be able to fall asleep.

This doesn’t meant that you will have increased productivity and that you will just end up going to bed later because you’re able to stay up and get stuff done. You’ll still get tired.

Your circadian rhythm is what controls your sleep cycle and it’s what causes you to start to feel drowsy in the evenings, caffeine doesn’t change this.

What it will do, is prevent you from actually falling asleep even when you’re tired. You’ll be lying in bed staring at the ceiling and begging for sleep.

The chemical in your system that causes your cells to slow down when it’s time to sleep is known as adenosine, and caffeine basically tricks your nervous system into rejecting adenosine.

Because caffeine looks exactly like adenosine to the nerve cells, they will bind to that instead of the actual chemical, meaning that your body will think it’s preparing for sleep when it’s not.

If you saturate your system with caffeine, then none of the necessary adenosine is going to bind to your nerve cells and sleep will evade you for hours.

2.    High Blood Pressure

While coffee is effective for lowering your overall risk of heart disease, in high doses it can actually do the opposite and have an adverse effect on your blood pressure.

Heightened blood pressure is something that overtime can increase your chances of having a stroke or a heart attack.

If you are suffering from it for an extended period of time it will slowly wear down on your arteries making them less efficient in controlling the flow of blood.

The reasons as to why this happen aren’t too clear right now but there is a couple of theories in circulation.

One possibility is that caffeine can cause your adrenal glands to release an excess of adrenaline which causes your blood pressure to spike.

While some people do drink coffee before or during exercise, for the most part people just use it to wake up.

If you are not exercising while there’s adrenaline running through your blood then you are not burning it off, which means that it’s just aggressively circulating in your blood.

Again, this shouldn’t happen unless you go overboard with your coffee consumption.

3.    Acid Reflux

Even if you don’t realize it, you probably have suffered with a certain amount of acid reflux in your life.

It ranges from person-to-person. You know that mild burning that you’ve felt in your chest after eating spicy food or during a hangover? That was probably acid reflux.

For some people it’s a whole lot worse. There’s people who suffer from extreme acid reflux on a very consistent basis.

In some instances that’s an unfortunate natural occurrence, but it can usually be chalked up to lifestyle and dietary choices.

And drinking too much coffee is one of those dietary choices that can lead to acid reflux. Coffee is packed with natural acids.

These acids are actually pretty full of antioxidants which can be beneficial for your system, but if you drink it too often then you’re going to feel it.

You’ll often find that coffee you buy in a coffee shop is more irritating in this regard and that’s because they tend to be laced with various sweeteners and added sugars.

These things increase the acid count in your coffee. This is why it’s probably better for your as a whole to be brewing your own coffee.

It’s understandable that people think they’ll never be able to replicate the taste of coffee from Starbucks or another leading chain, but if you have the right equipment it’s not hard.

A solid coffee grinder is a good place to start. Here’s a guide from Homegrounds on some of the better ones.

4.    Anxiety

With caffeine stimulating your adrenal glands and releasing adrenaline, you will see some positive and negative results.

Obviously this is good for alertness and increasing your energy, but as we mentioned earlier it can cause high blood pressure and it can also make you anxious.

Your body releases adrenaline when it feels threatened, and it gives you the energy necessary to either fight the threat or escape it.

If you don’t actually have a reason for your fight or flight response to be active, but you’ve still got heightened adrenaline, that will throw your nerves off balance.

You’ll feel anxious and won’t be entirely sure what you have to be anxious about. While caffeine can help you store dopamine, this will be overrode if you have too much caffeine in your system.

So like some of the other things that we’ve talked about already, coffee can actually help lessen the effects of anxiety if you regulate how much you drink, but large doses will be detrimental.

5.    Rhabdomyolysis

Sounds serious right? It is, it’s very serious in fact. Often shortened to just rhabdo, this is a condition that could be potentially fatal if you don’t treat it.

It happens when your muscles break down and then small particles of these muscles find their way into your bloodstream.

Most cases of rhabdo are caused by drug abuse or serious muscle strain, but excessive caffeine intake has been known to cause this in rare cases too.

It’s not common at all, but the condition is so life-threatening that it’s really not worth the risk of inflicting it upon yourself.

In most occurrences of caffeine-induced rhabdomyolysis , it happens when people drink a large amount of coffee in a short period of time.

Your body wouldn’t be used to this massive shock of adrenaline to the system and it would lead to unintended muscle contractions which could cause them to break down.

No matter how tired you are or how productive you want to be, avoid drinking too much coffee at once because the consequences could be disastrous.


Some of these can get pretty bad and pretty invasive in your life, but they are also relatively easy to avoid.

As I mentioned earlier, these are the side effects of drinking an excess of coffee. So the solution would be to just not overdo it.

Maybe keep it to two or three cups of coffee a day. It will affect different people differently, but that probably won’t be too much for most people.

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Alizah
Load More In Food And Nutrition