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Why too much coffee isn’t healthy, even if you have a high caffeine tolerance

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Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

Before chugging your umpteenth cup of joe of the day (even if it’s as healthy as possible), keep this in mind: While caffeine may offer certain benefits—like giving your workout a boost and helping you think more clearly—too much can be bad news for your health.

When you first built up a tolerance to caffeine while studying in high school or college, you probably felt like a true adult. Now, even a few coffee runs throughout the day don’t make you feel wired. The only issue is the more caffeine you consume, the more dangerous it can be—even if you don’t feel the effects.

While there are no significant health consequences to a high caffeine tolerance, James J. Galligan, PhD, told Self that having more than the recommended daily limit of 400 milligrams (or four cups) isn’t safe. And considering that the more caffeine you have on the daily, the less sensitive you are to it, it can be hard to tell when enough is enough.

While there’s no significant health consequences to a high caffeine tolerance, having more than the recommended daily limit of 400 milligrams (or four cups) isn’t safe.

Even though caffeine might help you get through the day, it has a dark side (anybody else remember that episode of Saved by the Bell?): It can cause acid reflux, mess up your sleep cycle, and if you stop drinking your typical amount, you might experience withdrawal symptoms for days—some of which can be dangerous, like an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, Self reports. One teen even died from a “caffeine-induced cardiac event” earlier this year.

None of this means that you need to stop drinking coffee completely. Just be aware of how much caffeine you’re actually consuming throughout the day. (This includes your intake from unsuspecting sources like chocolate.) Having a high tolerance isn’t a bad thing—but it’s also not a safety shield.

Get some tips on supercharging your coffee for an instant morning boost. Want to make butter-less Bulletproof coffee? Here’s how it’s done.