Woman Shopping in Vitamin Section of Drug Store --- Image by © Hill Street Studios/Brand X/Corbis

Image by © Hill Street Studios/Brand X/Corbis

Great news! There’s a new word for “crazy” and it’s spelled “C-a-f-f-e-i-n-e P-o-w-d-e-r. Yes, available on the market and online is a powdered form of caffeine. Why? Because the dark stuff brewed from the bean isn’t enough to give your body a charge?

In a previous post, I addressed exercising caution when it comes to dietary supplement use and, given the following news report, it bears repeating.

Before you watch the video and listen to the finer details of the report, I want to make one thing clear: Caffeine, much like carbs, does not deserve to be demonized. It does, however, need to be consumed in reasonable amounts.

What is caffeine? Caffeine is simply a psychoactive stimulant which takes affect about 30 minutes (give or take) after consumption and remains in the system for several hours after consumption. Caffeine is also considered an effective ergogenic aid (performance enhancer). Here’s the basic science behind this theory: Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system having profound physiological impacts. For instance, caffeine…

  • increases heart rate
  • opens airways for greater ventilation
  • promotes the breakdown of fat
  • enhances energy levels
  • appears to enhance endurance
  • possibly increases strength training performance

Bottom line – yes, caffeine appears to have some benefits and to enhance sports performance in specific ways, and, let’s face it, caffeine containing substances such as coffee and tea are enjoyable! In fact, I’m enjoying a cup of English Breakfast tea as I type this… 🙂

All that said – it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with an extreme consumption of caffeine and to recognize the upper limits and recommendations in place. Even governing athletic agencies such as the International Olympic Committee and the NCAA ban caffeine if it’s consumed beyond the stated allowable limits. Imagine an athlete being stripped of a medal or disqualified before competition because he or she took a bath in a horse trough of caffeine! Not worth the risk. Let’s watch the report via the following link.

Caffeine Powder – Fatal Doses

I think one thing is clear – no one needs 25-28 cups of coffee in a week, much less in a single dose of this product. In fact, Mayo Clinic recommends no more than 400 mg/day for most healthy individuals. Of course, adolescents should consume far less then this (100 mg). (Caffeine Limits – Mayo Clinic).

Unfortunately, for all of us, laws are not in place to resolve this issue (and all issues prolific in the supplement industry) at the present moment, which means one thing for consumers – be informed, be wary, and do your research using credible professional sources. The onus is on us to be advocates for our health and seek out the right information.

Until next time…Meet you at the Well.

Erin

Categories: Nutrition

Erin Nitschke

Passionate wife, mother, college educator, writer, blogger, and health and fitness professional.

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