TechUnfurling the unspoken risks of caffeine overdose, a dance with death?

Unfurling the unspoken risks of caffeine overdose, a dance with death?

Excessive caffeine can be very harmful.
Excessive caffeine can be very harmful.
Images source: © Pixabay
2:01 PM EST, January 20, 2024

Research published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" suggests that our genetic makeup plays a significant role in controlling our coffee consumption. This can serve as a protective measure, preventing us from over-indulging in caffeine. Thus, one could argue that our predisposition to drink coffee is encoded in our genes, suggesting our body instinctively avoids going overboard.

Researchers also observed that individuals grappling with health issues like arrhythmias, high blood pressure, or angina pectoris, tend not to opt for coffee. And if they do, they often choose decaffeinated versions. Not only is their coffee-drinking frequency low, but the quantity they consume is also limited. Some individuals in the study admitted to avoiding coffee entirely.

The extreme dangers of a caffeine overdose

Caffeine is not solely consumed through coffee or tea. Over recent years, 'boosters,' dietary supplements consumed before training, have seen a rise in popularity. Many are centered around powdered caffeine, an element so potent that its wholesale sales have been banned in the United States.

As per the American Food and Drug Agency, a single teaspoon of caffeinated powder equals around 28 cups of coffee. An alarming rise in caffeine overdose-related fatalities worldwide has been observed, largely attributed to bodybuilders ignoring the suggested dosage of the supplement. A striking example of this is a 26-year-old woman from London who was hospitalized after consuming two heaped tablespoons of caffeine in powder form, amounting to approximately 0.71 ounces.

The woman ingested beyond the fatal dosage of caffeine, which lies between 0.35 and 0.42 ounces. Doctors' intervention was crucial in saving her life. Detailed in "BMJ Case Reports," it is cited that 'a lethal caffeine overdose occurs at a caffeine concentration in the blood above 80 mg/L.'

The young woman had significantly exceeded this concentration, with her blood caffeine levels recorded at 147.1 mg/L seven hours post-ingestion - nearly double the lethal dose. During her hospitalization, she reported symptoms such as heart palpitations, excessive sweating, difficulty in breathing, vomiting, and anxiety. Additionally, the doctors noted low blood pressure, hyperventilation, a very rapid pulse, polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, and her body's struggle with both metabolic acidosis and respiratory alkalosis.

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