29 Jul 2007 23:26 UTCSun 29 Jul 2007 - 11:26 pm UTC
My guess is that there is no way to reduce caffeine tolerance other than to simply stop ingesting it for a while. Is that true? It sure would be nice if there was some other substance that prevented tolerance of caffeine.
If there is no way to prevent tolerance, is there some sort of algorithm for how many days it takes before tolerance goes away? If I have 3 cans of Mountain Dew a day and then stop drinking any caffeinated beverages at all, how many days until Mountain Dew will have near its maximum effect again?
30 Jul 2007 19:35 UTCMon 30 Jul 2007 - 7:35 pm UTC
As a sporadic user of caffeine, I found this to be an interesting question to research. Most studies show that tolerance to caffeine develops in two to seven days, and dissipates in approximately the same amount of time. Caffeine tolerance comes and goes at its own pace for each person, and I have found no evidence that there is any reliable way to shortcut this.
"As with the development of tolerance to most drugs, the degree of tolerance development to caffeine can be expected to depend on the caffeine dose, the dose frequency, the number of doses, and the individual's elimination rate... There is some indication that the rate and/or extent of tolerance development differ across different measures. The rate of tolerance development has been estimated to be quite rapid for blood pressure [t1/2 = 1 hr (97)], with complete tolerance to various cardiovascular effects occurring in 2-5 days...
The caffeine withdrawal syndrome follows an orderly time course... Onset has been usually reported to occur 12-24 hr after terminating caffeine intake, although onset as late as 36 hr has been documented... Peak withdrawal intensity has generally been described as occurring 20-48 hr after abstinence. The duration of caffeine withdrawal has most often been described as ranging between 2 days and 1 week, although longer durations have been occasionally noted."
Caffeine : A Drug of Abuse?
"Typically, onset of [withdrawal] symptoms occurred 12-24 h after abstinence, with peak intensity at 20-51 h, and for a duration of 2-9 days. In general, the incidence or severity of symptoms increased with increases in daily dose; abstinence from doses as low as 100 mg/day produced symptoms."
A critical review of caffeine withdrawal
"Four double-blind experiments were conducted in independent groups of healthy participants to assess the conditions under which withdrawal symptoms occur upon cessation of low to moderate doses of caffeine. In experiment 1, there was no evidence that the range or magnitude of caffeine withdrawal symptoms differed when 300 mg of caffeine was consumed as a single dose in the morning versus 100 mg at three time points across the day. In experiment 2, both the range and severity of withdrawal increased as a function of caffeine maintenance dose (100, 300, and 600 mg/day), with even the lowest dose (100 mg) producing significant caffeine withdrawal. Experiment 3 showed that when individuals were maintained on 300 mg caffeine/day and tested with a range of lower doses (200, 100, 50, 25, and 0 mg/day), a substantial reduction in caffeine consumption (100 mg/day) was necessary for the manifestation of caffeine withdrawal. Experiment 4 manipulated duration of exposure to caffeine (1, 3, 7, or 14 days of 300 mg/day) and showed that caffeine withdrawal occurred after as little as 3 days of caffeine exposure, with a somewhat increased severity of withdrawal observed after 7 or 14 days of exposure."
Caffeine Withdrawal: A Parametric Analysis of Caffeine Dosing Conditions
If you are enamored of Mountain Dew, and don't want to drink the non-caffeinated version, my best suggestion is that you try to eliminate caffeine from other aspects of your life. This will lessen your total intake of caffeine, and you may be able to maintain your Mountain Dew consumption at a satisfactory level without wrestling with tolerance and withdrawal.
Here's a chart of beverages, foods, and medications with their caffeine content:
Erowid Caffeine Vault: Content in Beverages
This may be of interest to you:
"If you feel that you are psychologically or physically dependent on caffeine... Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine would like to talk with you. Free assistance to quit or reduce your caffeine consumption may be available."
This is the search string that brought me the best results:
Google Scholar: caffeine tolerance OR withdrawal days
For more "pop" sources, this search string may be useful:
Google Web Search: kicking OR breaking caffeine
I hope this helps!