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OPINION: Negative effects of too much caffeine

By Emma Olberg

Feeling exhausted first thing in the morning? Before you grab your coffee, Coke, tea, or energy drink, read this! Having too much caffeine can do your body more harm than good. Teenagers are busy people who rush from one activity to another. They may not get enough sleep, which increases their need for caffeine to keep them going. These days, there are so many kinds of drinks that people can buy that have caffeine in them. Energy drinks such as Red Bull, Celsius, Monster, Rockstar, and Starbucks Double Shot Energy, are extremely popular with the teenage crowd. Then there’s the classic Coke, Dr. Pepper, and Mountain Dew. Don’t forget Starbucks and Dunkin coffee, tea, and espresso drinks!

It may seem like no big deal to have one caffeinated drink after another. However, it’s not without consequences on your body. According to WebMd, caffeine can cause insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, and stomach issues. It can increase your heart rate, or in some cases cause an irregular heartbeat. Having an increase of heart rate can also cause another major problem called tachycardia. Tachycardia is a medical term for a heart rate over one-hundred beats a minute caused by caffeine. Blood clots can be formed, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Not only that, but consuming too much caffeine on a regular basis can cause headaches, anxiety, and chest pain. Elevated blood pressure is another serious problem that caffeine can worsen. It has also been linked to multiple cases of heart failure which can lead to spasm and strokes. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it has been linked to glaucoma, which can cause permanent eye damage. Too much caffeine during pregnancy is linked to pregnancy loss and low birth weight of infants. These concerns seem like good reasons to keep one’s caffeine intake at a low level.

There are alternatives to caffeine that can help people have more energy and alertness to get through the day. According to an article on, peppermint is a natural flavor/scent that can help increase one’s mental alertness. You can suck on peppermint candy or drink peppermint tea to wake up your mind. You can drink super cold ice water with a pop of flavor, such as mint, lemon, grapefruit, or even something spicy like cinnamon. For example, Starbucks has three new spicy drinks for their spring and summer menu: Spicy Dragonfruit Refresher, Spicy Pineapple Lemonade, Spicy Strawberry Lemonade.  These would surely give a zing to one’s taste buds and then to the brain to increase alertness.  Other spicy beverages such as Golden Milk (made with turmeric) and Chai tea have strong flavors which boost the senses and increase alertness. Another alternative to caffeine that has energy boosting benefits are B-vitamin supplements. Many alternatives are available to help people decrease their caffeine habits.

There are numerous caffeinated beverages available for people to buy these days. Many people, including teenagers, like to depend on caffeine as a way to help them stay awake for their busy lives. People need to be careful not to drink too much caffeine each day though because it can cause various health problems. Other drinks to replace caffeine should be considered.

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