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Frequent Urination and Caffeine

Frequent Urination and Caffeine Frequent Urination and Caffeine

Overview

Debate exists around caffeine's link to diuresis, the increased production of urine. Diuresis promotes dehydration, and can negatively affect strenuous exercise and activities in hot settings where fluid retention is crucial. More current research, however, points to the diuretic effects of caffeine only when consumed in certain large amounts.

Caffeine Basics

College students pulling all-night study sessions are all too familiar with caffeine products. Many Americans, too, regularly consume caffeine to keep alert and avoid fatigue. About 82 to 92 percent of people in North America consume some form of caffeine, according to University of Connecticut professor Lawrence E. Armstrong. Caffeine is derived naturally from more than 60 plants, including tea leaves and coffee beans, and is an added ingredient in medications and energy drinks. Moderate caffeine is considered 200 to 300 mg per day, equal to 2 to 4 cups of brewed coffee.

Caffeine, Diuresis and Exercise Concerns

Exercise physiologists, trainers and dietitians often recommend limiting caffeine for reasons related to its supposed dehydration effects. Exercise and other activities in hot settings require you to retain more fluids. If caffeine does have a diuretic effect, caffeinated products would promote fluid-electrolyte imbalance and decreased exercise heat tolerance.

Research

Caffeine in any amount was previously thought to cause more urination but more current research refutes this. A 2007 study review by Professor Lawrence E. Armstrong in "Exercises and Sport Sciences Review" found that in moderate consumption, caffeine has a similar diuretic effect to water. Only in excess, defined as more than 456 mg, does caffeine promote dehydration and decreased exercise tolerance. Another study review in the "Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics" concluded that in settings where fluids need to be retained, avoiding caffeine is not necessary.

Considerations

Caffeine in excess can definitely cause symptoms such as more frequent urination. Other symptoms include fast heartbeat, nausea, anxiety, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, vomiting, tremors and depression. To avoid these symptoms, caffeine doesn't have to be discontinued; many organizations, including the American Heart Association, say 1 to 2 cups of coffee is fine --- about 250 mg of caffeine per day.

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