Too much caffeine can cause headaches

By Sheryl Kay • Published: November 4th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

There is something enticing and invigorating about the aroma of fresh roasted brewing coffee. But hold on to your mug.

While previous studies have identified some negative aspects of ingesting caffeine, in general it has long been thought to help alleviate headaches. In fact, it is often added to headache analgesics. Now, new research about caffeine, the most commonly taken stimulant worldwide, reveals just the opposite.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of Headache Pain, and stem from a large cross-sectional study involving more than fifty-thousand participants who were queried about their intake of caffeine in conjunction with headache frequency. Researchers classified high caffeine consumption as more than five-hundred milligrams of the substance per day, or about five cups of caffeinated coffee, whereas low consumption was defined at about one-hundred-and-twenty-five milligrams per day.

It turns out that those who consumed sizable amounts of caffeinated beverages daily reported eighteen percent more non-migraine headaches overall than those who drank fewer caffeinated beverages.

The study’s authors also noted that low caffeine consumption was not without problems as well, as it was associated with greater odds of having chronic or frequent headaches every month.

Given that consumption of both lower and higher amounts of caffeine are tied to headaches, researchers noted that the jury is still out on whether the caffeine causes the headaches, or those who suffer headaches are more likely to drink more caffeine.

Either way, they concluded, those who suffer headaches should be more mindful of any amount of caffeine consumption, whether it’s a steaming-hot latte or an icy cold soda.