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The Health Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine Coffee on a spoonCaffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in coffee, tea, cola beverages, new “energy??? drinks, chocolate and even some medicines, such as liquid cough medicines.

Caffeine is one of the most commonly consumed stimulants in the world. Absorbed easily and rapidly by both the stomach and small intestine, it then circulates throughout the whole body, including the brain. Like everything, caffeine should be consumed in moderation.

The Health Effects of Caffeine

It is difficult to link precise levels of caffeine to specific health effects as tolerance to caffeine differs widely from person to person. For healthy adults, a moderate amount of caffeine may have positive effects, such as increased alertness or ability to concentrate. Caffeine also has some antioxidant properties. However, some people are more sensitive to caffeine. For them, a small amount could cause insomnia, stomach upset, headaches, irritability and nervousness.

Table 1: Caffeine Recommendations from Health Canada

 

Maximum Daily Caffeine Intake

Example

Children 4-6 years old

45 mg

One 12-oz (355 ml) can of cola
Children 7-9 years old

62.5 mg

One 12-oz (355 ml) can of cola
Children 10-12 years old

85 mg

One to two 12-oz (355 ml) cans of cola
Pregnant Women

300 mg

Two 8-oz (237 ml) cups of coffee
General Population of Healthy Adults

400 mg

Three 8-oz (237 ml) cups of coffee

 

Table 1: Caffeine Recommendations from Health Canada

 

20-oz coffee

300 mg caffeine

8-oz blended tea

43 mg caffeine

8-oz green tea

30 mg caffeine

12-oz can of regular cola drink

36-46 mg caffeine

1-oz (28g) milk chocolate bar

7 mg caffeine

1-oz (28g) dark chocolate bar

19 mg caffeine

Some over the counter drug products (such as liquid cough medicine)

1000 mg caffeine