How much caffeine in that supplement? Hard to tell
Study found that even when brands listed amounts, they often were inaccurate.
(HealthDay)—A new study finds that popular supplement pills and powders found for sale at many military bases, including those that claim to boost energy and control weight, often fail to properly describe their caffeine levels.
Some of these products—also sold at health-food stores across the county—didn't provide any information about caffeine on their labels despite being packed with it, and others had more or much less caffeine than their labels indicated.
"Fewer than half of the supplements had accurate and useful information about caffeine on the label," said study lead author Dr. Pieter Cohen, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "If you're looking for these products to help ... your performance, some aren't going to work and you're going to be disappointed. And some have much more caffeine than on the label."
Researchers launched the study, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, to add to existing knowledge about how much caffeine is being consumed by members of the military. Athletes and members of the military, they said, face a risk of health problems when they consume too much caffeine and exercise in the heat.
Cohen emphasized that the supplements were purchased in civilian stores: "Why is it that 25 percent of the products labels with caffeine had inaccurate information at a mainstream supplement retailer?"
He also explained the specific military concern.
"We already know that troops are drinking a lot of coffee and using a lot of energy drinks and shots," Cohen said. "Forty-five percent of active troops were using energy drinks on a daily basis while they were in Afghanistan and Iraq. We're talking about large amounts of caffeine consumed, and our question is: What's going on on top of that?"
In the worst-case scenario, people could become jittery and even develop rapid heartbeats if they use the supplements in conjunction with other caffeine products such as energy drinks or coffee, said Dr. John Higgins, who studies caffeine as the chief of cardiology at Houston's Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital.
The study has some holes, however. For one, it didn't identify the 31 supplements that it examined. The researchers said only that they're the most popular supplements sold as pills on military bases with labels that indicate that they include either caffeine or herbal ingredients that include caffeine.
Of the 31 supplements, 20 listed caffeine on their labels. Of those 20, only nine correctly listed the amount, according to the researchers. Five listed amounts between 27 percent and 113 percent off from the actual amount.
Six products listed caffeine as an ingredient but didn't say how much. The researchers found that they had 210 to 310 milligrams per serving—the same amount that is in two to three cups of coffee.
People often drink coffee or take energy supplements to become more alert, and Cohen said it's true that the caffeine in two to three cups of coffee can improve performance. But people lose the boost at about five cups, he said.
What to do? Higgins, the Texas cardiologist, said manufacturers need to be required to state properly how much caffeine is in supplements, and the amounts need to be independently verified.
Another expert said that giving consumers consistent, accurate information could benefit their health.
"If consumers had a better idea about how much caffeine they were getting from various sources—from energy drinks and supplements—they would count it up. They would take notice and realize that they may be overdoing it," said pharmacist Philip Gregory, editor of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
The study appeared in the Jan. 7 issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
More information: For more about supplements, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Journal reference: JAMA Internal Medicine
Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
- That caffeine in your drink -- is it really 'natural?' Mar 07, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Can consuming caffeine while breastfeeding harm your baby? Feb 21, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Caffeine improves recognition of positive words Nov 07, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- A cup of joe may help some Parkinson's disease symptoms Aug 01, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- New evidence that caffeine is a healthful antioxidant in coffee May 04, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
(HealthDay)—In 2008 to 2010, the prevalence of key health behaviors among U.S. adults varied, with about one in five adults current smokers and 62.1 percent overweight or obese, according to a report presented ...
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—The overall health of Americans isn't improving much, with about six in 10 people either overweight or obese and large numbers engaging in unhealthy behaviors like smoking, heavy drinking or ...
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
A federal court in San Francisco Tuesday struck down Arizona's ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Health 1 hour ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke in early childhood are more likely to grow up to physically aggressive and antisocial, regardless of whether they were exposed during pregnancy or their parents have a history ...
Health 4 hours ago | 1 / 5 (1) | 0
Most elite athletes consider doping substances "are effective" in improving performance, while recognising that they constitute cheating, can endanger health and entail the obvious risk of sanction. At the same time, the ...
Health 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May ...
26 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Three-quarters of public schools in the metro Atlanta area contain microbes, including bacteria indicating the presence of fecal matter, according to research published in the May 17 issue of ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
A paper recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and co-written by physicians and scientists at the University of Colorado School of Medicine finds that an important genetic risk factor for pulmonary fibros ...
4 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Using the Department of Defense Serum Repository (DoDSR), University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have identified a number of biomarkers for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which could help with earlier diagnosis and ...
5 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
By studying the roles two proteins, thrombospondin-1 and prosaposin, play in discouraging cancer metastasis, a trans-Atlantic research team has identified a five-amino acid fragment of prosaposin that significantly reduces ...
7 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Transparent information on the evidence supporting global recommendations on paediatric medicines should be easily accessible in order to help policy makers decides on what drugs to include in their national drug lists, according ...
27 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0