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How much caffeine is too much? Signs you should start cutting back

What happens when you consume too much caffeine in a day? KARE 11's Alicia Lewis went to a doctor from the U of M to find out.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn — Part of your morning routine may be making coffee or tea to help give you that extra boost to start your day but how much caffeine are you drinking every day?

If it's more than a few cups... keep reading. 

"On average, it looks like people are consuming two cups of coffee on average a day or 180 milligrams per day, and it seems on average you start to develop some of the negative effects when you start to go over that dose and particularly when it comes to sleep," said University of Minnesota Psychiatrist Dr. Kaz Nelson, who added that it's possible to have a dangerous level of caffeine toxicity, but it's rare. 

"Most people are not going to encounter a life threatening dose of caffeine but from a day to day health standpoint people can notice negative impacts of that," said Dr. Nelson. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration and the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is safe for most healthy adults. That equals about four cups of coffee, 10 cans of pop or two Energy Shot drinks.

Dr. Nelson says if you start to feel jittery, restless, or anxious you might want to cut back.

"People will notice withdrawal if you regularly consume caffeine and then they have a period without caffeine, you can feel physically ill, a headache, irritability, anxiety, a strong sense of fatigue or tiredness," said Dr. Nelson. 

Dr. Nelson says women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and young kids should watch how much caffeine they have, and to keep in mind the actual caffeine content in beverages varies, especially among energy drinks.

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