Are Caffeine Pills Safe?

June 26, 2018

Caffeine is one of the most addictive legal substances available.  The effects can be powerful and helpful, but also easily overused causing negative side effects.  

The most common reasons to use caffeine include: increased focus, mental clarity, and physical energy. Caffeine can be a helpful drug when taken correctly but too much of it will cause unnecessary side effects and becomes highly addictive.

We all know (or maybe were) a friend who took caffeine pills for long study sessions, a tough day at the office, or to stay out late.  They may have even combined it with coffee, soda, and energy drinks over several hours to keep that rush going.

The problem with this all-out approach is the dependency it creates, and the side effects from overdoing things.  The caffeine jitters will actually make you focus less and create nervousness, causing you to stress about every little thing.

Let’s dive into the details and find out if caffeine pills are safe.

Some facts about caffeine:

One of the biggest issues with a legally addictive substances, is how easy it is to overlook all the side effects.  

Most people think taking a lot of caffeine is no big deal and actually a smart decision for certain applications.  Sugar falls into this genre as well, but people are starting to see that not all legal substances are good for their bodies.  Check out our article on sugars and artificial sweeteners here.

You might not realize this but, “Caffeine is one of the most commonly used stimulants among athletes. Taking caffeine, within limits, is allowed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Urine concentrations over 15 mcg/mL are prohibited. It takes most people about 8 cups of coffee providing 100 mg/cup to reach this urine concentration.” (Source: WebMD)

That’s right, 8 cups of coffee!  If you’re a coffee drinker, think about how 3-4 cups feels and you’ll see how ridiculous it is to ingest this amount.  How is it possible that it’s OK for any athlete to ingest that much caffeine?

Is it dangerous to have too much caffeine?

Caffeine can be overused, there is such a thing as a caffeine overdose.  The more mild symptoms from too much caffeine include: addiction, jitters, restlessness, nervousness, increased heartbeat, nausea, anxiety, heart palpitations (cardiac arrhythmia), insomnia, sweating, and dizziness.

When you truly overdose on caffeine you may experience trouble breathing, irregular heartbeat, chest pains, heart palpitations or even convulsions! Symptoms that you would need to go see a doctor for help.

Our advice: keep everything in moderation. Caffeine is no exception. If you love caffeinated products, you should probably consider limiting your total intake.

 

What are caffeine pills?

Caffeine pills are as simple as they sound, a small swallowable pill filled with caffeine for heightened focus and energy.  They typically contain 200mg of caffeine, an 8-oz cup of coffee has 85mg.

200mg is a somewhat reasonable amount of caffeine for most coffee drinkers to consume.  But for most people this is a huge jump in caffeine intake and can easily lead to jitters and an uncomfortable nervous feeling.

Are caffeine pills safe?

The one advantage to a caffeine pill is that you know exactly how much you’re getting.  Coffee can vary in quantity depending on the beans, and levels also vary from drink to drink with energy drinks and sodas.  

250mg is considered a safe to moderate amount of daily caffeine intake for most people.   Although it’s considered “safe” to take this amount, it’s important to consider side effects and how caffeine interacts with your body.

Caffeine dependency is one of the most common. People that consume a good amount of caffeine can become reliant and don’t feel quite right without it. This also causes headaches when caffeine is not consumed. Basically a caffeine withdrawal symptom.

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require manufacturers to list caffeine content on nutrition labels, it’s often hard to tell whether a product contains the stimulant, and how much. Many folks already consume caffeine daily from other products: protein bars, chocolate/candy, coffee/chocolate ice cream, yogurt, non-cola sodas, some flavored "waters", pain relievers, diet pills, alcohol/cocktails, breath fresheners, "energy" fortified foods and even decaf coffee.


What are some alternatives for energy?

Our bodies can gain energy in a lot of ways without relying on stimulants like caffeine.  One of the best, especially for athletes, is through electrolytes. Check out our article here about electrolytes (article not published yet but should be before this goes live).  

Electrolytes are very common in a lot of foods and drinks, with potassium being the one most people already know. They are not addictive and provide true lasting energy.  In fact, our bodies fully rely on electrolytes to function every single day.

Green tea is a very healthy way to get an added boost without many of the side effects. In the right quantities, it helps your body absorb vitamin B12 but does not prevent the absorption of other nutrients like other caffeine sources. Green tea has many other health benefits and is considered one of the healthiest (if not the healthiest besides water) beverages on the planet.

Here is a great article on the benefits of green tea: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea

There are a lot of healthy options in our food choices from day-to-day, but we have crafted our own healthy daily energy solution: PepPod.  

PepPod works to help you maintain higher energy levels without relying on a lot of caffeine or artificial ingredients.

The Bottom Line about Caffeine Pills

Although they can be very effective for energy boosts, most adults already likely take in a full day’s worth of caffeine.  Adding more can lead to uncomfortable symptoms and make you feel worse, or even lead to a full on caffeine overdose. If you already consume caffeine, the answer to “are caffeine pills safe” is somewhat uncertain.  Everybody reacts differently to caffeine depending on their build.

It’s far better to focus on real nutrients that your body needs, as opposed to quick and addictive fixes!









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