Most Major Side Effects of Caffeine Experienced by Young Adults Are Acute Effects and Are Related to Their Weekly Dosage Ingested
To determine the use of products containing caffeine, the side effects associated with this use, the timing of the side effects after consumption, and whether there is a relationship between the development of side effects and the dose of caffeine consumed among young adults. A threshold level of weekly caffeine consumption is being sought in this population, above which there are increased side effects.
A cross-sectional study using convenience sampling strategy was adopted by using a self-administered newly designed questionnaire.
Secondary schools, one postsecondary institute, and the University of the West Indies were used. Subjects:
The response rate was 391/412 (94.9%). Significant dose-dependent relationships between the dose of weekly caffeine consumed and: (i) the frequency of occurrence of palpitations ( p = 0.001) and (ii) the frequency of sleep disturbances ( p = 0.001) were observed. Doses of weekly caffeine consumption of >428.5 mg were significant predictors for headaches, restlessness, and state anxiety in this population. All symptoms, except a depressed feeling, occurred most commonly within 4 hours of consumption of caffeinated products and were mainly attributed to colas, coffee, and teas by participants. A depressed feeling was more attributed to energy drinks.
Most side effects were related to the acute effects of caffeine, but depressed feeling was more commonly reported as a withdrawal effect of caffeine. Caffeine intake in this young adult population should be recommended to be less than 428.5 mg/week in an attempt to reduce the occurrence of these side effects.
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