Is your teen displaying extreme levels of energy? Caffeine powder may be the culprit.

According the American Academy of Pediatrics, teenagers looking to increase their energy levels sometimes turn to powdered pure caffeine for a boost, but doing so can be deadly.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned consumers about the dangers of the powder, and some members of Congress want to ban it. The FDA said at least two deaths are linked to the stimulant – an 18-year-old from Ohio and a 24 year-old from Georgia.

“Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose”, said the FDA in their recent statement.

In its pure form, a single teaspoon of the caffeine powder has about the same amount of caffeine as 25 cups of coffee. The serving size recommended by manufacturers is too small to be measured accurately with common kitchen tools.

Marcie Beth Schneider, M.D., FAAP, a member of the Section of Adolescent Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggested that teenagers may want to try caffeine powder thinking it will improve their sports performance or help them stay awake in school. However caffeine is absorbed by all tissues in the body and can cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of speech, attentiveness, anxiety, stomach secretions and temperature. The stimulant is also fairly easy to order online and can be purchased in large quantities at little cost.

Talk with your teen about the dangers of caffeine powder

Dr. Schneider recommends that parents learn about the dangers of powdered caffeine and talk with their children about it just as they do with other dangerous substances like alcohol and tobacco.

The FDA recommends anyone having a negative reaction to caffeine to seek immediate medical care. They’ve also asked that all cases be reported directly to their headquarters:

FDA Phone Number: 240-402-2405

FDA Email: caers@cfsan.fda.gov

Click here to read the full safety report published by the FDA

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.