Hi, my name is Phil and I am a caffeine addict! There I said it. Well, I guess the name of the website gives it away. When I wake up and pour that coffee, I love the feeling caffeine gives me. I feel energized, alert and ready to take on the day. Most days, that’s my experience. But, if I drink too much coffee (more that 2 cups), too quickly, without eating, I get light-headed, shaky and start to feel anxious. I lose that energy boost and focus. Is that caffeine sensitivity?

Yes it is. Not only am I a caffeine addict, I also have caffeine sensitivity. Yay!! And, I am not alone. Many people have this sensitivity. It tends to affect men more than women because women’s bodies process caffeine quicker than men’s. It also increases as we get older because, the older you get, the slower your body processes caffeine. Normal caffeine intake is around 400 mg per day.

Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Jitters
  • Anxiousness
  • Insomnia 

What are some of the most common risk factors for caffeine sensitivity? Here are some of those factors:

You have a history of anxiety

Caffeine can increase your level of anxiety if you already struggle with that and increase some symptoms caused by anxiety like insomnia and irritability. 

You’re a man

As stated earlier, If you are a man. Women metabolize caffeine faster than men. Because of this, men have caffeine in their systems longer causing them to deal with the side effects longer. The only exception to this is women taking birth control pills. Caffeine and estrogen compete with each other for the same liver enzymes and the hormones in the pill cause women’s bodies to metabolize caffeine much slower that women not taking the pill. 

Caffeine Sensitivity is in your DNA

Genetics and brain chemistry can also be a factor. I don’t want to get all science-y but it has to do with adenosine receptors in the brain and people who are caffeine sensitive have an increase response to caffeine’s effect on the brain. Scientist have discovered that people with a variation to their “ADORA2A” gene feel the effect of caffeine more instantly and for a longer period of time. 

You’re an amateur

If you normally don’t consume caffeine, you have not built up a tolerance for it. Therefore, when you consume it you feel the effects more intensely. 

Well, what can you do to avoid this feeling? Besides quitting caffeine (not gonna happen) you can limit your intake. You can also make sure not to drink it too late in the day. Getting enough exercise can increase your metabolism which will cause your body to process caffeine quicker.  Eating a healthy breakfast and drinking enough water can help decrease the adverse effects of too much caffeine. 

So, make sure you don’t go overboard with your caffeine consumption and do the recommended suggestions to mitigate the effect and you will be fine. If you’re still having difficulties with caffeine, you may want to discuss this with your Doctor.