Caffeine is a life force powerful enough to get you through the hardest of days, but how much is too much of this cerebral slight of hand? Do you stop at three coffees? If yes, what about your pre-workout? Or your caffeinated spreads? These are important questions because caffeine follows a bell curve where too much begins to take your health further away from your goal. The dream is to hit that sweet spot right at the top of that bell curve where you get just enough energy but not so much that your body rejects it. Here’s what the research says. Be warned sometimes it can be contradictory, but that’s how the body works anyway.
The eye problem
When it comes to caffeine, seeing is believing and few senses are more important than your eyesight. This is why you should pay careful attention to a paper in the journal Ophthalmology. They found having large doses of daily caffeine can make you more up to three times likely to suffer from glaucoma than people who have a genetic predisposition to it. They looked at the dietary habits of a whopping 120, 000 people over the course of 4 years who had an age range of 39 to 73 years old. Those who consumed more than 480 milligrams of caffeine had significantly higher risks of suffering with their vision. That’s roughly four cups of coffee. It’s not a huge amount but does show that your body can only take so much stimulation before it takes away your means to keep moving with impunity, namely your sight.
If you’re well read on coffee, you might know the above advice brushes off other research on coffee. Sadly, scientists do love to contradict one another. To achieve this, a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine found people who drank 4-5 cups of coffee a day had the lowest risk of death over the 12 years period that the study was conducted across. They didn’t mention if these people could see, but perhaps that wasn’t within the scope or the research. What is clear is that caffeine is divisive, just like everything else you put into your body.
Your best bet
Caffeine is complicated. Too much over the short term, probably won’t impact you too badly. Over the long term, things get prickly. You probably stick to a set number of coffees each day that creates a daily habit loop for your day-to-day activities. So, the optimum amount should be roughly 2-3 coffees each day and if you’re choosing to get it from other sources such as in spreads or in your pre-workouts, then factor these into your daily allotment. It’s a wise idea to get the lion’s share of your energy from a solid sleep routine and food, but totally understandable that every now and then you need an acute oomph boost. Focus more on the volume of caffeine you eat each day, roughly 300-350 milligrams is a safe bet and there is research to support this amount. Once you start to creep over this number, your internal workings seem to stage a mutiny against the overabundance of this energy bounty. You can have it all, you just have to time and measure your decisions wisely.