Caffeine in foods such as coffee, tea, and chocolate, which we can take every day. But is caffeine powder safe?
Caffeine Powder is a much more powerful product than caffeinated beverages, and they are dangerous because people tend to consume lethal amounts of powdered caffeine, according to the FDA.
According to the FDA, a teaspoon of caffeine powder approximately the same amount of caffeine in 28 cups of coffee. In fact, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Julius, two teaspoons of caffeine powder is enough to kill most adults.
"Caffeine powder is too concentrated," said Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio National Center for Toxicology at the Children's Hospital. Most people are fine with the effects of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soft drinks, that they don’t realize the consumption they have is just milligrams.
The amount of caffeine in a teaspoon of powder products can vary in different products, according to the FDA. A teaspoon of some product contains about 5 grams of caffeine. But a cup of coffee may have about 65 to 100 mg of caffeine, said Spiller.
At that level, 1 teaspoon of the powder contains as much caffeine as 50 to 75 cups of coffee.
"This is enormous. This is an overdose," Spiller told Live Science.
Another problem is that consumers usually don’t have the tools to measure a safe dose. The recommended serving size of powdered caffeine is just 50 milligrams to 200 milligrams — or about one-sixteenth of a teaspoon.
To measure out 50 milligrams of powder using a quarter-teaspoon measuring spoon, a consumer needs to fill just 6 percent of the spoon, which "cannot be accurately measured," the FDA said.
"The difference between a safe amount and a toxic dose of caffeine in these pure powdered products is very small," the agency said.
What's more, the smallest packages of powdered caffeine sold by some of the companies contain 100 grams of product, which is 2,000 recommended servings. And some companies sell powdered caffeine in packages of 25 kilograms, which contain up to 500,000 recommended servings.
High doses of caffeine can cause serious side effects, including increased blood pressure, a rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures, and even death, the FDA said. Two young adults — an 18-year-old in Ohio and a 24-year-old in Georgia — died in 2014 from accidental overdoses of powdered caffeine.
Although it's possible to overdose on caffeine by drinking upward of 50 cups of coffee, most people would probably stop before this point because they would be experiencing uncomfortable effects, like nausea or vomiting and a rapid heart rate, Spiller said. The danger with powdered caffeine is that you take this dose of caffeine all at once, he said.
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