Skip to main content
Coffee Tips

Why Can’t I Drink Coffee?

Coffee is not only famous as a beverage; we can also refer to it as a health elixir. Studies have shown that drinking coffee has a lot of benefits, such as energy boosters, brain alertness, and reduced risk of health issues like liver and brain damage.

However, coffee may have more negative than positive effects for some people. This set of people is suffering from caffeine sensitivity and need to stay away from coffee for their health, even if it is their favourite drink.


This article shall discuss what caffeine sensitivity is, why it happens, its symptoms, and how it can be managed.


Caffeine Sensitivity

If you feel like you’ve taken multiple shots of espresso after taking just half a cup, then move closer. People with caffeine sensitivity feel the effects of caffeine much more than those without caffeine sensitivity. This set of people metabolises caffeine more slowly, making their symptoms last longer.

why not drink coffee

Signs of Caffeine Sensitivity

  • Headache
  • Jitters
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Nervousness
  • Increased blood pressure


Types of Caffeine Sensitivity

There are varying degrees of caffeine sensitivity, and we can categorise them into three groups;

  • Normal Sensitivity

Those taking up to 400miligrams of caffeine daily without experiencing adverse effects have average sensitivity to caffeine.

  • Hyposensitivity

The people in this group make up about ten per cent of the population. A hypersensitive person’s body processes caffeine so efficiently that going straight to bed after drinking a giant cup of coffee is average.

  • Hypersensitivity

The smallest amount of caffeine in this set of people’s bodies would cause many adverse effects. They experience caffeine overdose symptoms such as jitters, insomnia, and increased heartbeat after taking caffeine as less as 100 milligrams. However, caffeine hypersensitivity isn’t the same as caffeine allergy.


Caffeine Sensitivity Test

There has been no specific medical method to determine caffeine sensitivity in people. However, there is a trick to it.

If you notice some unusual behaviour that may suggest you are caffeine sensitive, the first thing you need to do for yourself is to be on the watch. Pick up labels of items you consume and check the content because many foods, beverages, and medications contain caffeine. By doing this, you can accurately confirm your sensitivity to caffeine and eventually reduce your intake.

When you do this religiously but still have issues with caffeine consumption, visit your doctor to know if you are dealing with caffeine intolerance.


Risk Factors that Contribute to Caffeine Sensitivity

Some factors make you more susceptible to caffeine sensitivity than others, and unfortunately, you can’t control them.

These factors include;


Kids Under 12

Age is one of the most significant factors that contribute to caffeine sensitivity.

Firstly, caffeine can affect the cardiovascular systems and neurological development of children. Its effects are more noticeable and severe in smaller kids, usually under 12, no matter how small the doses are.

Too much caffeine in children can cause increased feelings of anxiety, increased heart rate, an upset stomach, and difficulty concentrating.

The acidity in coffee can also cause damage to tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities.

Older Adults

Older adults are more prone to caffeine sensitivity, especially to the insomnia effect, compared to younger adults.

Caffeine’s main target is a person’s adenosine receptors, which get altered as one begins to get old.


Women’s bodies naturally metabolise caffeine more quickly than men’s. Due to this, caffeine tends to stay longer in men’s systems and makes the side effects longer. So, yes, you may be sensitive to caffeine just because you are a man.

However, there are some sets of women that are at high risk too.


Pregnancy makes clearing caffeine difficult for the kidney and can also affect the developing fetus. Taking caffeine higher than 200-300mg per day may cause constriction of blood vessels supplying the placenta, which can affect oxygen delivery to the fetus.

It is advisable to speak with your doctor before trying to consume any amount of caffeine during pregnancy.

Birth Control Pills

According to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, Using birth control pills such as oral contraceptives makes your body process caffeine at about one-third the speed it would on a typical day.


Your genetic makeup can make you hypersensitive to caffeine. A study published in 2014 identified six genes that may affect how people react and metabolise caffeine.


If you have high stress or anxiety, taking caffeine can worsen your symptoms, such as panic attacks and insomnia.


Some supplements such as Theophylline and Echinacea can increase the effects of caffeine in your body. Always read leaflets for any medication’s side effects or consult your doctor.


Caffeine Sensitivity Treatment

To cope with caffeine sensitivity, you must find out how it affects you.

For example, if a particular dosage of caffeine hits up your anxiety, cut down on your consumption. On occasions where you can’t figure out what it is, you should consult your doctor.



Why Am I Sensitive to Caffeine All of a Sudden?

If you’ve been taking coffee for a long time, but your caffeine sensitivity symptoms showed up recently, that may be your body gradually being intolerant to your caffeine intake. This may be a sign to reduce or completely stop your information.

Can you Be Intolerant to Coffee?

Yes, caffeine intolerance is not something unheard of. However, the amount of caffeine you are intolerant to may vary from that of another person. All you need to do is know how much coffee you can take without issues.


Final Words

Your caffeine tolerance level dictates how much coffee you take in at a time. You may have sensitivity symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, jitteriness, headache and racing heartbeat.

Find your sensitivity trigger, and use it as a yardstick for caffeine intake control. If you’re in doubt, consult your doctor to discuss your symptoms and ways to deal with them.


Also read: What Kind of People Can’t Drink Coffee?