Caffeine Is No Do-It-Yourself Project

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Caffeine molecule.

With a Starbucks on nearly every corner and soda served at every barbeque, it’s not hard to figure out that we Americans love our caffeinated beverages. And like most everything else, caffeine is better in moderation. But it can be tough to moderate your how much you consume if you're adding pure caffeine powder to your drink.

Caffeine powder: handle with care

Last summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a safety advisory about caffeine powders. Sold in bulk bags online, caffeine powder may seem like an easy alternative for people who don’t care for coffee or soda. But that’s the thing—it’s not easy. Just 1 teaspoon of pure caffeine powder is equal to 25 cups of coffee. This is a deadly amount of coffee.

In fact, consuming too much caffeine powder has contributed to at least 2 deaths and 30 medical problems. Even it doesn’t kill you, a caffeine overdose is extremely unpleasant and may include fast and erratic heartbeat, seizure, vomiting, diarrhea, or confusion.

Safety first

A bag of powdered caffeine also could be deadly to have around the house—where someone might confuse the pure white powder for sugar or flour, or a pet could get into it. Just a tiny bit could be lethal to an animal.

Even if you are a master chef, measuring out the tiny amount of powder that would give you the energy boost you seek is nearly impossible with standard kitchen measuring spoons.

The bottom line: Avoid powdered caffeine, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Tell us in comments: What do you do when you need an energy boost?

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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