Published April 16. 2022 12:51AM
Q. Does caffeine bother you more the older you get?
Sensitivity to caffeine, the “pick-me-up” in coffee, tends to increase as you get older.
Children metabolize caffeine quicker than adults.
About 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine daily. More than half of all American adults consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine every day, making it America’s most popular drug.
Caffeine occurs naturally in many plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves and cocoa nuts. It is therefore found in a wide range of food products. Caffeine is added artificially to many others, including a variety of beverages. The most common sources of caffeine for Americans are coffee, tea, colas, chocolate and some over-the-counter medications.
Here are some useful numbers to help you determine how much caffeine you take in:
6-ounce cup of coffee: 100 mg
6-ounce cup of tea: 70 mg
12-ounce can of cola: 50 mg
One ounce of chocolate: 6 mg
One tablet of Extra Strength Excedrin: 65mg
One tablet of Anacin: 32 mg
One tablet of Maximum Strength NoDoz: 200 mg
For most people, 200 to 300 milligrams a day aren’t harmful. But, if you are sensitive to caffeine or use of certain drugs, you may want to cut down or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Your caffeine consumption is worth discussing with your doctor.
Caffeine can cause restlessness, anxiety, irritability, muscle tremors, sleeplessness, headaches, nausea, diarrhea and abnormal heart rhythms.
Some medicines and supplements interact negatively with caffeine. These include some antibiotics and bronchodilators. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether caffeine might affect medicine that you take.
In the practice of medicine, caffeine is useful as a cardiac stimulant and also as a mild diuretic. Caffeine is an addictive drug. It stimulates, similar to amphetamines, cocaine and heroin.
If you feel you have to have caffeine every day, then you are addicted to it.
Eliminating caffeine suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches and fatigue. These symptoms usually pass after several days.
Here are some tips:
Read labels carefully for ingredients and keep track of the caffeine you consume.
Gradually reduce the amount of caffeine you take in. This will enable you to acclimate to less caffeine and reduce the effects of withdrawal.
Start drinking decaffeinated coffee, tea and soda.
Brew your tea for less time to cut down on caffeine. Or try herbal teas which are caffeine-free.
Check the caffeine content in over-the-counter medications that you take. If you can, switch to caffeine-free forms of the medications you need.
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The Times News, Inc. and affiliates (Lehigh Valley Press) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the columnist and column do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Lehigh Valley Press. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health-care provider, with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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