How Long Does Caffeine Stay In Your System?


Home : Green Tea Caffeine : Metabolism And Elimination

How long does caffeine stay in your system?

It depends on several things which can include

  • your age,

  • your gender,

  • your health,

  • prescription medicines,

  • diet, stress, or lifestyle habits,

  • concurrent activities,

  • and individual genetic variations.

Up to 99% of natural caffeine is absorbed within 45 minutes.

It passes through the blood brain barrier, placenta, and into breast milk, as well as all body tissues.

Then about 97% of it is metabolized by the liver into more than 25 different chemicals.





Caffeinated chemicals eliminated

Almost all of these chemicals are then eliminated from the body within 24 to 48 hours, but caffeine metabolism is faster if

  • you are a smoker,

  • you are exercising,

  • with some medications,

and it is slower if

  • you are pregnant,

  • you are taking oral contraceptives,

  • you have liver or kidney damage or diseases,

  • with some medications.

Tea and coffee comparison

Both tea caffeine and coffee are metabolized into theophylline but through different pathways.

Approximately 90% of North American and European adults report daily consumption of caffeinated products, with approximately 54% of Americans averaging 3 cups of coffee daily.

Other countries (approximately 5 billion people) use daily green or black tea, which is much lower in caffeine than coffee.

References for How Long Does Caffeine Stay In Your System

Ashihara H et al: Caffeine and related purine alkaloids: biosynthesis, catabolism, function and genetic engineering. Phytochemistry 69, 2008, 841–856.

Atkinson HC et al: Drugs in human milk. Clinical pharmacokinetic considerations. Clin Pharmacokinet, April 1988, 217-40.

Bechtel YC et al: Caffeine metabolism differences in acute hepatitis of viral and drug origin. Therapie, Sept0Oct 2000, 619-27.

Bergey MR et al: Behavioral and perceived stressor effects on urinary catecholamine excretion in adult Samoans. Am J Hum Biol, Sept-Oct 2011, 693-702.

Carrillo JA andBenitez J: Clinically significant pharmacokinetic interactions between dietary caffeine and medications. Clin Pharmacokinet, August 2000, 127-53.

Chen Y and Parrish D: Caffeine’s effects on cerebrovascular reactivity and coupling between cerebral blood flow and oxygen metabolism. Neuroimage 44, 2008, 647–652.

Chou T. (1992). Wake up and smell the coffee. Caffeine, coffee and the medical consequences. West. J. Med. 157, 544–553.

Croft M et al: Predicting Drug Candidate Victims of Drug-Drug Interactions, using Microdosing. Clin Pharmacokinet. February 2012.

Del Coso J et al: Caffeine during exercise in the heat: thermoregulation and fluid-electrolyte balance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, January 2009, 164-73.

Ginsberg G et al: Incorporating pharmacokinetic differences between children and adults in assessing children's risks to environmental toxicants. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, July 2004, 164-83.

Grosso L. M., Bracken M. B. (2005). Caffeine metabolism, genetics and perinatal outcomes: a review of exposure assessment considerations during pregnancy. Ann. Epidemiol. 15, 460–466.

Ito E et al: Theophylline metabolism in higher plants. Biochim Biophys Acta, August 1997, 323-30.

James J: Can Consuming Caffeine While Breastfeeding Harm Your Baby? An Interview with Ruth Lawrence, PhD. Journal of Caffeine Research, December 2011.

Magkos F and Kavouras SA: Caffeine use in sports, pharmacokinetics in man, and cellular mechanisms of action. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2005;45(7-8), p535-62.

Murray S et al: Effect of cruciferous vegetable consumption on heterocyclic aromatic amine metabolism in man. Carcinogenesis, September 2001, 1413-20.

Nehlig A. (1998). Are we dependent upon coffee and caffeine? A review on human and animal data. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 23, 563–576.

Reissig C. J., Strain E. C., Griffiths R. R. (2009). Caffeinated energy drinks – a growing problem. Drug Alcohol Depend. 99, 1–10.

Sinués B et al: Influence of the urine flow rate on some caffeine metabolite ratios used to assess CYP1A2 activity. Ther Drug Monit, December 2002, 715-21.

Temple J. L. (2009). Caffeine use in children: what we know, what we have to learn and why we should worry. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 33, 793–806.

Vrtic F et al: Interaction of ibuprofen and probenecid with drug metabolizing enzyme phenotyping procedures using caffeine as the probe drug. British Journal Clin Pharmacol, February 2003, 191-8.



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This page last updated by Sharon Jones on March 4, 2013

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