How Much Coffee is Dangerous?

Written by andy

If you’ve made it past a few cups, you’ve probably spent some time googling “How much coffee is dangerous” today. Here’s what you need to know:

Everyone loves coffee, but sadly, too much of it can be quite terrible for your health. But how much coffee is dangerous? How many cups do you have to drink before you hit the “danger zone”?

According to one Wall Street Journal article, the amount of coffee you have to drink before it kills you is 140 cups in a single day. That’s 14,000 milligrams of caffeine, which is going to be fatal (no shocker there!). Considering what coffee does (suppresses the neurochemical that tells your brain and body that you’re tired), it’s no surprise that so many cups of coffee can be fatal.

Now, you may be rolling your eyes. After all, NO ONE drinks 140 cups of coffee in a single day. Not possible, right? So, let’s get out of the “extreme” scenario, and find out how much coffee is dangerous for your health.

The MayoClinic states that “up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults”. Considering that each 8-ounce cup of coffee contains roughly 100 mg of caffeine, that means you can enjoy up to 4 cups of coffee without worrying about your health. In fact, in the same WSJ article mentioned above, it was stated that drinking 2 to 4 cups of coffee per day can actually offer benefits–particularly for your mood. The caffeine helps to reduce depressive symptoms, stabilizing your mood and helping you to feel better.

READ MORE: Your Coffee Horoscope

Of course, there are some people who are better off cutting their caffeine intake–or simply avoiding it altogether. Caffeine affects the central nervous system, and those who suffer from problems like anxiety or panic attacks will notice their symptoms worsening thanks to the caffeine. In these cases, it’s better to cut back on the amount of coffee, or simply cut it out entirely. (Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to consume caffeine.)

Now, the “four cups per day” limit goes for adults only! When it comes to teenagers, adolescents should limit themselves to just 1 cup of coffee per day–no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine. Children, of course, should NOT be consuming caffeine at all (or, if they do, in VERY small doses).

Symptoms of Too Much Caffeine

What happens if/when you drink too much coffee? If you pass your 4-cup limit, you can expect to notice side effects like:

  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Jitters/restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cardiac arrest (extreme cases only)
  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these side effects, it’s best to stop drinking coffee IMMEDIATELY! Give yourself a day or two to flush the caffeine from your system, and when you start drinking again, limit yourself to one cup per day–two MAX!

As you drink coffee, take stock of how your body responds to it. If you experience any of the side effects listed above (even minor effects), it’s a good idea to reduce or cut caffeine intake. It will help you to avoid health problems that stem from excessive caffeine intake.

The average healthy adult can consume up to 4 eight-ounce cups of coffee per day, but for those who experience negative side effects, it may be better to drink a lot less coffee!

About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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