I love coffee.

Espresso, Americano, latte, drip, cold-brew; you name it, I’ll have one. (Or probably two!)

It’s been consumed for centuries and the latest science shows coffee elicits a myriad of health benefits.

Habitual coffee consumption has been associated with a plethora of health benefits, such as; reduced risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and respiratory distress.(1,2,3,4)

Daily coffee consumption has also been linked to lower levels of systemic inflammation in the body, typically reflecting a better state of overall health. (5)

The benefits of coffee are associated the its high concentrations of polyphenols – a group of plant-based micronutrients with health-promoting properties – as well as the presence of caffeine.

How Does Caffeine Work?

Caffeine is a naturally occurring in coffee, tea, and chocolate and added to other beverages like energy drinks or pre-workout supplements.

The build-up of a compound called adenosine leads to increase fatigue as the day progresses. Caffeine is a natural adenosine inhibitor, increasing your alertness, focus and certain physical capacities.

Americans consume the most coffee worldwide, the Norwegians consume the most per capita, and even the British now drink 95 million cups of coffee per day.

Everyone seems to love a morning coffee boost to get them started, but are there any pitfalls to coffee consumption?

Can You Drink Too Much Caffeine?

If you consume more than 6mg/kg/day of caffeine you significantly increase your risk of adverse symptoms, such as; insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and muscle tremors.

High intake of caffeine can also increase your risk of dehydration.

Coffee and hydration are all about the dose. At small doses of caffeine – 3mg/kg per day – does not alter fluid balance or accelerate electrolyte losses. That’s the equivalent to 240mg and 210mg of caffeine per day for an 80kg male and 70kg female, respectively.

However, if you regularly consume numerous cups of coffee in one day, it may be impacting your hydration status. New research shows if you exceed 6mg/kg per day it can induce acute diuretic effects.(6) This potentially problematic for health and performance.

What would it take to exceed your daily threshold for caffeine?

For example, a 16 oz. coffee at Starbucks contains over 300mg of coffee, therefore if you consumed two per day you would be exceeding the maximum dose of 6mg/kg/day (if you weigh less than 100 kg).

In short, it’s easy to over-do-it on the coffee.

Find the Right Dose for You

How can you optimize and personalize your caffeine intake? The following are four quick tips;

1)   Aim for 3-4mg/kg of caffeine per day

2)   Prioritize caffeine consumption before 100pm

3)   Separate caffeine doses by at least 2-3 hours

4)   If you do consume larger amounts (more than 400mg or 6mg/kg/day), increase your electrolyte and water intake.

[Have you tried TotumSport pre- or post-coffee? The naturally occurring minerals and trace elements make it great hydration support!]

To Sum Up

Excessive caffeine intake may increase your risk of adverse effects and acute dehydration.

Find the right dose of caffeine for you and you can maximize the health and performance benefits. Coffee is a fantastic daily ritual; delicious, health-promoting, and a social connector.

Enjoy your morning cuppa!

Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CISSN, CSCS