Can You Die from Too Much Caffeine?

Posted On Thursday, 15 June 2017
Can You Die from Too Much Caffeine?

Too much caffeine caused the death of a 16-year-old high school student from South Carolina who collapsed during class.

Davis Allen Cripe died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia.

During an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body, and lack of blood flow affects the brain, heart and other organs.

The teen consumed three caffeine-laced drinks -- a cafe latte, large Diet Mountain Dew and an energy drink -- in a two-hour period before collapsing in his classroom at Spring Hill High School on April 26.

So, where does this tragic news leave adult java lovers?

How much caffeine can I drink a day?

"Most people can safely take in about 400 milligrams of caffeine daily or about four cups of coffee," says Dr. Christopher Calapai DO, a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine. “The limit varies from person to person.”

It’s difficult to assign an exact amount for everyone because people can have different sensitivities or reactions to caffeine based on age, medical history, and tolerance. However, there is enough research available to make a recommendation based on an individual’s weight.

To keep it safe, health experts recommend a maximum daily dose of 400 mg. To see what this means for you, check out the caffeine in some of these common drinks:

Starbucks Coffee (16 fl oz): 320 mg caffeine
5-hour energy (1.93 fl oz): 207 mg caffeine
Dunkin Donuts regular (16 fl oz): 203 mg caffeine
Starbucks Latte (16 fl oz): 150 mg caffeine
Coffee, brewed (8 fl oz): 133 mg caffeine
Red Bull Energy Shot (2 fl oz): 80 mg caffeine
Red Bull (8 fl oz): 80 mg caffeine
Tea (8 fl oz): 53 mg caffeine

How, exactly, can the world's most popular drug kill?

Like other stimulants, caffeine raises blood pressure, boosts heart rate and temporarily shrinks blood vessels. Dr. Calapai explains, “In excess, the effects can be deadly by causing a heart attack, stroke or other cardio-vascular-related problem. Researchers think daily caffeine intake can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, but the results so far have been inconclusive.”

It’s also important to realize that medical conditions can affect sensitivity to caffeine. “If you have anxiety, panic disorder, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, diabetes, take medication or have any sort of medical condition, then you may tolerate less caffeine and should speak to a doctor,” says Dr. Calapai.

There are “caffeine overdose symptoms” that are important to watch for. These include:

  • Jitters, Restlessness & Nervousness
  • Increased Heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Heart Palpitations (cardiac arrhythmia)
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Cardiac Arrest

Dr. Christopher Calapai, DO

Dr. Christopher Calapai, DO, is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, anti-aging medicine and chelation therapy. Proclaimed as the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.

His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's.

Dr. Calapai started his practice in New York City in 1986 and for over 25 years he has hosted nationally syndicated radio shows, including his two weekly call-in shows on WABC 770-AM, where he offers health and medical advice. He has a show on Saturday morning 8-9am and Sunday evening from 6-7pm. He has consulted with numerous high-profile individuals including Mike Tyson, Chris Noth, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Fox series Gotham's, Donal Logue and worked as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers hockey team as well as various modeling agencies.

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