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Caffeine Part 3: How Much and When?

If you’re anything like me, then caffeine seems to fit into just about every part of the day from morning to night. In the morning, I’ll stagger my way to the kitchen to start the slow drip coffee. In the afternoon, I’ll run out to local coffee shop for a sweet frappuccino. Later, I’ll mix up my pre-workout then hit the trail with my dog for a run. In the evening, I’ll unwind with a good book and a cup of hot green tea. Its evident caffeine has become part of my daily routine. However, what works for some may not work for others. Everyone uses caffeine differently. Approximately nine out of ten healthy adults reported regular use of caffeine, with an average daily intake of around 230mg. What does your day look like? Let’s take a look at caffeine amounts and timing so that you can make the best choice for you.

TIMING

After caffeine is consumed, digested and absorbed it then travels through the bloodstream to the brain. It’s here in the brain where caffeine begins to act. Caffeine can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours to peak in the bloodstream. The time it takes for caffeine to act depends on many factors such as you, genetics, body mass, dietary intake and amount of caffeine that is consumed regularly. Diet is a key factor here. Say for instance you’ve consumed a fiber rich meal in the morning - a cup of coffee with a bowl of oats with granola, nuts, seeds and berries. The fiber could potentially delay gut motility, in turn impacting the rate at which caffeine is also digested an absorbed. Once caffeine reaches its peak it can remain in the system for about four to six hours.

AMOUNT

The amount really depends on the individual’s tolerance to caffeine. For healthy adults, levels up to 400 mg per day appear to be safe. However, it’s important to check with your healthcare provider prior to use. Again, everyone responds differently to caffeine. We mentioned earlier that there are many factors which can impact your body’s ability to use caffeine. It important factor mentioned is your regular intake of caffeine as it can impact the action of caffeine and its ability to peak. Those who consume caffeine regularly may develop a caffeine tolerance.

FIND WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU

Always be mindful of your caffeine tolerance and remember more is not always better. The times at which our bodies can utilize caffeine are very important, because it can help to plan for the day, activities and even sleep. For example, if you’re planning to work out, then when would be the best time to consume caffeine - before or during your workout? You got it - before! Many times active healthy adults will sip on caffeine during activity, but by the time it kicks it your workout probably already ended. Find what works best for you and plan accordingly.