Caffeine Overdose Kills Teen. Here’s How to Be Proactive

Heart health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws JD, Founder

Caffeine consumption may not be one of your top health concerns. Issues like obesity, cancer, diabetes and hypertension may be much more pressing concerns to you. However, this tragic story of a teenage boy who died from drinking too much caffeine made it clear to me caffeine can be very dangerous, and we need to be proactive about protecting our children.

Sixteen-year-old Davis Allen Cripe reportedly died of a caffeine-induced cardiac event after drinking three caffeine-laced drinks within a two-hour period. Cripe consumed a cafe latte, a large Diet Mountain Dew and an energy drink. He collapsed in his classroom not long after consuming the beverages. The beverages he drank sound like popular beverages among college students, right? Cripe had no prior health issues, and it is reported he died of arrhythmia, which is essentially an irregular heartbeat.

Although this is considered a rare incident and Cripe drank the caffeinated beverages in a very short amount of time, we should still be aware of caffeine overdose - especially if you have children. Energy drinks and other caffeinated beverages are very popular among college students in order to stay up all night and study. However, if you’re a slow caffeine metabolizer like me, you may experience heart palpitations, increased blood pressure or anxiety after drinking one too many caffeinated beverages. You may even be at a greater risk for a caffeine induced heart attack.

How can we be proactive and protect our kids?

  • Educate yourself and educate your children by knowing how much caffeine is too much. According to Mayo Clinic, most healthy adults can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. This is equivalent to four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of soda or two energy drinks. It is recommended adolescents and young children avoid caffeine.
  • Share this blog and the tragic story of Davis Allen Cripe. We can be proactive by helping and educating each other.
  • It’s hard, but try to encourage your kids to get enough healthy sleep. When they are younger and living with you, you can set the example by stressing the importance of sleep and taking the time to wind down before bed without phones and other devices. Meditation before bedtime is a great way to relax and promote good, healthy sleep, so they can be energized and awake for the following day’s activities..
  • Caffeine may make you feel awake but excess consumption may result in the loss of certain minerals like copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc and potassium. A healthy diet will contribute significantly to your energy levels. Make sure your diet includes these critical nutrients if you are fatigued:
    • Copper. Copper deficiency can cause decreased blood cell production, neurological impairments and fatigue. Organ meats, shellfish, nuts, seeds, wheat-bran cereals and whole-grain products are good sources of copper.
    • Magnesium. This mineral is needed by more than 300 human body enzymes to facilitate biochemical reactions. It helps create energy for the body. Food sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables (like spinach), legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Foods with fiber are also good sources of magnesium, and many cereals are fortified with magnesium.
    • Iron. If the body lacks iron, your blood cells may not mature properly. They may not be able to transport enough oxygen to the tissues in your body, which can result in fatigue. There are two types of iron, heme and non-heme. Heme iron is rich in lean meat and seafood. This type is more bioavailable, meaning your body can use it better. Non-heme iron is found in nuts, grains, vegetables and other fortified products.
    • Calcium. Similar to magnesium, calcium impacts nerve conduction and muscle contractions. If calcium levels are inadequate, it can cause fatigue. There are many foods that contain calcium including yogurt, milk, calcium-fortified orange juice, turnip greens, kale, bok choi, broccoli and more.

It is important to determine whether you may have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can leave you feeling fatigued but not even know it. For more information about nutritional testing, click here. To learn more about the critical minerals that can help fight fatigue read Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.     


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