Popular Science: How Much Caffeine Would It Take to Kill You?

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If you consider yourself a true caffeine addict, consider the latest from Popular Science magazine: It would take at least six gallons of McDonald's coffee to kill a person (no word on how many Egg McMuffins would do the job).

Following a recent lawsuit against manufacturers of Monster energy drinks, Popular Science spoke to the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Caffeine Research, Jack James, who confirmed that it takes about 10 pure grams of caffeine to achieve lethal levels.

Popular Science reports that the Mayo Clinic says the average adult can safely consume 200 to 300 mg of caffeine per day, the equivalent of about two to four cups of coffee. However, consuming more than 500 mg per day can trigger things like irregular heartbeats, insomnia and muscle tremors.

A wrongful death suit was filed against Monster energy drinks, claiming that 14-year-old Anais Fournier drank two 24-ounce cans of Monster in the day before she unexpectedly died in 2011.

"Caffeine toxicity of the kind experienced by Ms. Fournier (if, indeed, that is what she experienced) is not well understood," James told Popular Science. "There is speculation in the literature regarding the possibility of some individuals having a peculiar sensitivity to caffeine, but there is no clear definition or understanding of what such sensitivity might be."

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