How Much Caffeine Is Too Much? [Study]

The recent lawsuits against energy drink manufacturers prompted Popular Science to investigate how much caffeine it would take to kill a person. Although caffeine drinks enjoyed in moderation are generally deemed safe, some experts believe consuming too much could pose serious health risks.

Earlier this year, a coroner’s reported cited the drinking of Coca-Cola in a New Zealand woman’s death. The caffeine alone may not have killed the woman; she also reportedly ate a poor diet and smoked cigarettes, according to Yahoo News. McDonald’s coffee lovers may be relieved to know that it would take six gallons of the popular morning drink to potentially cause death.

The Popular Science reports also notes that reactions to caffeine intake vary from person to person and are extremely influenced by a host of other factors. The consumption of alcohol was noted as a one of the contributing factors to the health risks associated with caffeine.

It takes approximately 10 grams of caffeine to achieve lethal levels, according to the Journal of Caffeine Research. The Mayo Clinic believes that a typical adult can safely consume the approximate equivalent of two to four cups of coffee per day. Individuals who drink more than the recommended amounts of coffee or soft drinks per day could induce insomnia, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors.


Although deaths from toxic levels of caffeine are rare, the US National Institutes of Health cites two such deaths in recent years. The wrongful-death lawsuit filed against Monster last week claims that 14-year-old Anais Fournier drank two 24-ounce cans the day before she died unexpectedly. The coroner’s report noted caffeine toxicity as a contributing factor in the girl’s death.