FDA: Powdered caffeine can kill

FDA: Powdered caffeine can kill | Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.

July 30, 2014—Powdered caffeine is essentially 100 percent caffeine. A single teaspoon of it is equivalent to about 25 cups of coffee, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sounds efficient, right?

Unfortunately, these products can be very dangerous, and they’re marketed directly to consumers online. FDA is warning people about these dangers and urging people to avoid them.

Dangerous in small doses

Even very small amounts of pure caffeine may cause an accidental overdose. Adding to the danger, the powder—often sold in bulk bags via the Internet—is nearly impossible to accurately measure with common kitchen tools. That means it’s easy to take in a lethal amount, even if you think you’re being careful.

Parents should be aware that teens and young adults in particular may be drawn to this potent powder, and at least one teenager has died after using this powerful stimulant, FDA warned.

Know the danger signs

Signs of a potentially fatal caffeine overdose include seizures and a rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat. Someone who has overdosed may also vomit, have diarrhea, and appear dazed or disoriented.

If you believe you are experiencing an adverse reaction to caffeine, stop using it and get immediate medical help, FDA advised.

In addition, FDA wants to know if you experience an adverse reaction to pure powdered caffeine or any other highly caffeinated products. Either you or your doctor can report your symptoms by:

You can learn more about the FDA warning here.


The take-home message
Pure caffeine may seem like a quick way to get a big energy boost. But as FDA warned, it’s a potentially lethal stimulant. So don’t take chances: Steer clear of it, especially if you have a heart problem. Caffeine—even when it’s not pure—can make a fragile heart work too hard.

However, it is generally safe to drink a moderate amount of coffee to stay awake and alert, according to FDA. And that coffee might even help your health. Research suggests that regular coffee consumption might protect you from certain diseases, including diabetes and heart failure.

So how much coffee is a safe, moderate amount? Some doctors suggest limiting your total daily caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams—or the amount in 10 ounces of coffee. Still, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Caffeine affects people differently, depending on their size, sex and sensitivity to it.

Check with your doctor to see what’s right for you, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. And if you have a heart problem, FDA recommends that you avoid caffeine altogether.

To find out more about how to cut back on caffeine and to learn about the hidden caffeine that might be in the foods you eat, click here.

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