Does Caffeine Really Cause Dehydration

If you love caffeine, then you have probably heard that drinking too much of it will dehydrate you. This ideology began in 1928 when a study was released to the public, citing the diuretic effect caffeine had on the body. For decades people believed that the increase of urine loss would result in dehydration. But does caffeine really cause dehydration?

Some people will need to use the restroom more frequently and with a greater sense of urgency after consuming a caffeinated beverage. This is because caffeine is a diuretic. A diuretic is a medical term for anything that makes you have to urinate. Frequent urination is considered as one cause of dehydration. However, it is unlikely you could be at risk for dehydration from urination alone. Your body will always release fluids as soon as you replenish them. The fact that caffeine has a diuretic effect and the idea that frequent urination will dehydrate you triggered the false theory to live on. For dehydration symptoms and studies, continue reading on the next page.

Dehydration Symptoms and Studies


Dehydration is a serious, life-threatening health issue. Some signs of dehydration include but are not limited to dry mouth, extreme thirst, headache, and dry skin. Often dehydration will occur after losing fluids due to sweating, urinating, vomiting or diarrhea. So you are probably still wondering what caffeine has to do with all of that. Well, the short answer is that it does not. There have been no definitive studies that have proven caffeine to cause dehydration. However, caffeine has both negative and positive side effects before and after consumption.

Related: 9 Ways Your Life Changes When You Drink Only Water

In 2005 a scientist named Armstrong and his team set out to prove once and for all that caffeine itself does not directly cause dehydration. For 11 days, Armstrong and his team monitored a group of 59 healthy and active males and their caffeine consumption appropriate to their body mass and weight. Using 20 different biomarkers to monitor hydration levels they were able to determine that there was no difference in hydration levels between the control group and the test group. They also found that the amount of caffeine consumed and the size of the person had no effect on hydration levels. This means that a smaller person consuming as much caffeine as a larger person had no effect on hydration levels.

In 2014 another group of scientists wanted to test two theories about caffeine consumption. The first being that it causes dehydration and the second that it hydrates you. The team looked at both urine and blood levels before and after caffeine consumption. The result was that after caffeine consumption, there were no significant impacts on blood like clotting. They also discovered that there was no significant impact on urine volume and urine loss. The participants were still affected by the diuretic effects of caffeine, however not any more so than they normally would be drinking a beverage without caffeine. Their results showed that the impact of caffeine has would neither hydrate you nor dehydrate you.

Effects of Caffeine Consumption


Of course, caffeine is not completely void of negative side effects. Over-consumption of caffeine can cause headaches, irritability, jittery or anxious behavior, insomnia, and addiction. For those who have trouble controlling or managing their blood pressure levels, caffeine consumption can increase your risk of raising your blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can result in heart disease in both men and women. The good news is that you do not have to cut out caffeine completely. There are other studies that prove the positive short and long-term effects of caffeine. Increased alertness, productivity, and mood boost are all naturally occurring and positive effects of drinking a caffeinated beverage.

Drinking caffeine should be done in moderation. Too much of any one thing can be harmful both in the short term and long term. It is nearly impossible to consume so much caffeine that you would die, as you would need to drink well over 10,000 milligrams in one day. So we now know that it is not solely caffeine that causes dehydration nor does it hydrate you either. We do know that consuming caffeine can cause negative issues. Nevertheless, it is often difficult to separate the effect of caffeine and the effect of other outside factors. Diet, activity level, overall lifestyle, and rest quality are all factors that can impact the negative side effects of caffeine.

Related: Addicted to Caffeine? 8 Urgent Reasons to Kick the Habit


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