Deadly ‘work­out cock­tail’ has too much caf­feine

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NEWS - Jayne O'Don­nell

Fed­eral reg­u­la­tors is­sued guid­ance Fri­day mak­ing it clear that it is il­le­gal to sell pure and highly con­cen­trated caf­feine in bulk to con­sumers.

The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) said it’s pre­pared to re­move these di­etary sup­ple­ments from the mar­ket after re­ports of at least two deaths in oth­er­wise healthy in­di­vid­u­als.The prod­ucts “present a sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic health threat” be­cause of the high risk con­sumers will mis­tak­enly use them at dan­ger­ous doses, FDA said.

Pre­vi­ous FDA ac­tions in­clud­ing warn­ing let­ters have failed to stop the flow of these highly con­cen­trated or pure caf­feine sup­ple­ments be­ing sold di­rectly to con­sumers on­line. They’re sold in bulk with up to thou­sands of rec­om­mended serv­ings per con­tainer.

“We know these prod­ucts are some­times be­ing used in po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous ways,” said FDA Com­mis­sioner Scott Got­tlieb, a physi­cian. “For ex­am­ple, teenagers, for a per­ceived en­ergy kick, some­times mix dan­ger­ously high amounts of su­per-con­cen­trated caf­feine into work­out cock­tails.”

A half cup of a highly con­cen­trated liq­uid caf­feine can con­tain ap­prox­i­mately 2,000 mg of caf­feine, while a sin­gle tea­spoon of a pow­dered pure caf­feine prod­uct can have about 3,200 mg of caf­feine. That’s up to 28 cups of cof­fee, which is a po­ten­tially toxic dose of caf­feine.

The rec­om­mended safe serv­ing of highly con­cen­trated or pure caf­feine prod­ucts is of­ten 200 mg, which equates to 1/16 of a tea­spoon of pure pow­der or ap­prox­i­mately 2.5 tea­spoons of a liq­uid.

Di­etary sup­ple­ments con­tain­ing caf­feine in other forms aren’t likely to present the same safety risks, es­pe­cially if they’re sold in pre­mea­sured pack­ets or con­tain­ers, in solid dosage forms such as tablets or cap­sules, or when they aren’t highly con­cen­trated.

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