Entries in Caffeine (18)


New Chewing Gum Offers Caffeine Boost

Wrigley's(NEW YORK) -- Starting next month, a new gum from Wrigley will offer more than something to chew on.  One piece of Alert Energy Caffeine Gum packs 40 milligrams of caffeine, about as much as a half of a cup of coffee or a whole dark chocolate bar.

Targeted at adults 25 to 49, the company believes the “bitter taste, hexagonal pellet, primary packaging and premium price point” will differentiate it in the market.

The idea for Alert started when Wrigley was looking for ways to expand its line to “functional and ‘occasion-based’ reasons to chew.”

Wrigley, the company behind brands like Orbit, Eclipse, Juicy Fruit and Altoids, is taking care with its product marketing.  Advertising geared toward adults and a warning label on the package are attempts to keep the gum out of the hands of kids.

Available in fruit or mint flavors, one pellet contains five calories and 2 grams of sugar alcohols.  Priced at $2.99 for an eight-pellet pack, Alert can be found in select stores and will become available nationwide this summer.

So far, the idea of caffeinated gum hasn’t completely stuck.  Amp Energy and RockStar launched gum lines a few years ago that are no longer on the market.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Monster Energy Drinks to List Caffeine Content on Labels

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Monster Beverage Corp. will include caffeine content on its energy drink labels because it no longer wants to be considered a dietary supplement, and instead will adhere to Food and Drug Administration guidelines for conventional foods.

The switch comes after a wrongful death lawsuit filed last fall against Monster Energy, which plagued the company – and the rest of the energy drink industry. It prompted the release of FDA reports that attributed five possible deaths to Monster Energy and another 13 possible deaths to 5-Hour Energy, a 2-ounce energy shot.

"The Company saw no reason to continue being subjected to erroneous and misguided criticism that its Monster Energy drinks are being marketed as dietary substances to avoid FDA regulation," reads a statement from Monster Beverage Corp. sent to ABC News.

The energy drink maker added that remaining a dietary substance would give it a continued competitive disadvantage against Red Bull, the most popular energy drink on the market. As a conventional food, Red Bull can be purchased with food stamps and be exempt from sales taxes. As a dietary substance, Monster Energy cannot.

Monster Energy has also recently joined the American Beverage Association, which recommends labels that list ingredient amounts, the company said in a statement.

It's not clear when the change will take effect, but the company said it will happen "when new packaging is manufactured and new products are introduced."

Companies are free to choose whether they want to market their products as a dietary substance or a conventional food, said FDA spokeswoman Jalil Isa. Different laws apply to each, and the FDA can step in if the product is misrepresented to the public.

"So long as they can meet the rules applicable to each, the companies can position their products in the market how they deem appropriate," Isa said.

Since Monster Energy is currently classified as a dietary substance, it is not limited to the FDA's 200 parts per million caffeine limit on sodas. Coca Cola Classic has 30 to 35 mg of caffeine per 12-ounce can, but 12 ounces of the Monster drink in the wrongful death suit would have contained four times that.

Caffeine amounts do not have to be included in food labels because they are not nutrients, but if caffeine is added to a food, it should be included in the ingredients list.

Monster Energy ingredients will not change, according to the Monster Beverage Corp. statement. However, the statement does not specify whether the amounts of those ingredients will change.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Alcohol, Caffeine May Be Risky New Year's Mix

John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If you're thinking about using energy drinks to stay up into the wee hours to welcome in the New Year, take caution: the whopping caffeine dose and other additives in those drinks may be more harmful than you think.

"Unintentional caffeine overdoses have resulted in serious illness and rare deaths from caffeine poisoning," says Dr. Kent A. Sepkowitz, a physician at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York, in an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  "Caffeine poisoning has only recently been characterized."

Considered "dietary supplements" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, energy drinks do not have to conform to the same regulations as traditional caffeinated sodas or over-the-counter caffeine pills. 

The same additives that give energy drinks their special status may also interfere with the body's ability to metabolize caffeine.  This could lead to increased or prolonged levels of caffeine in the blood.

Alcohol can also be very dangerous when added to the equation, experts say.  Very little is known about the combined effect of alcohol mixed with energy drinks -- or AMED, for short.  These include cocktails mixed at bars -- like the popular RBV, or Red Bull and vodka -- and alcohol and energy drinks consumed separately but within the same night. 

Premixed caffeinated alcoholic drinks (like the original Four Loko and Sparks) were essentially banned by the FDA in 2010.

The current theory is that the high dose of caffeine in energy drinks offsets the sedating effect of alcohol, making your brain think you're less drunk than your body feels.  This disconnected and inebriated version of you might be more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drunken driving or sexual assault.  The masked intoxication may also lead people to drink more than they would normally.

However, there is very little evidence to support these theories.  Studies show that compared to the usual alcohol drinker, people who drink AMED are more likely to leave the bar drunk, try to drive drunk or engage in other risky behavior. 

In another JAMA editorial, lead author Jonathan Howland at the Department of Emergency Medicine at Boston University said that AMED consumers may be "inherently more prone to risk-taking behaviors.  It is possible that personality traits such as impulsivity and sensation seeking cause AMED consumption, rather than AMED causing risky behavior."

Although the studies on these products are inconclusive, 2012 has not been a good year for energy drinks.

"The swift change in public perception of energy drinks from harmless mild stimulant to lethal, unregulated drug is unprecedented," said Sepkowitz in his editorial.

After reports of illness, injury and death after consuming energy drinks, the FDA reinvigorated its investigation of these products.  Even the Air Force is concerned, launching a survey of 12 bases to better understand energy drink use.

Recently, the FDA reported that Monster energy drink may have been involved in five deaths.  Additionally, the 5-Hour Energy drink, a popular energy shot loaded with caffeine, may have played a part in 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations over the past four years.

According to Sepkowitz, "To reach the possibly lethal dose of 3 grams of caffeine, a person would need to ingest at least 12 of the highly caffeinated energy drinks within a few hours."

Despite the bad publicity, energy drink makers will not likely lose their buzz -- sales of energy drinks in the U.S. were $9 billion in 2011.  Six percent of young American men and 45 percent of U.S. troops overseas consume energy drinks daily.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cracker Jack's New Surprise: Caffeine

Pepsico(NEW YORK) -- The makers of Cracker Jack are adding a little more pop to their candy-coated popcorn. Frito-Lay will introduce Cracker Jack'D Power Bites caffeinated snacks later this year.

The jacked-up munchies will come in two flavors -- vanilla mocha and cocoa java -- and "will contain approximately 70 mg of caffeine in each 2 oz. package" by adding coffee to the list of ingredients alongside sugar and molasses, the company said.

That's a caffeine kick equivalent to a 1-ounce serving of espresso or two 12-ounce servings of cola.

The added java jolt has prompted concern from the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

In a letter to the Federal Drug Administration, the center charges that the planned snack violates federal food rules. "Caffeine is generally recognized as safe only in cola-type beverages and only at concentrations of 0.02% or less (about 72 mg per 12 oz.)," the organization's letter reads.

A Frito-Lay representative said, "It is worth pointing out the regulation referenced in the Center for Science's letter to FDA speaks to caffeine -- not coffee -- and is not an exhaustive list of the safe uses of caffeine in foods and beverages. Rather, it represents one particular recognized safe use."

The representative stressed that the company is adding coffee to the product that's likely to reach stores early next year.

Jeff Cronin, the center's director of communications, conceded that Cracker Jack'D might sidestep the FDA's regulations because the Power Bites caffeine comes from coffee but said it doesn't diminish the group's concerns about the amped-up treat's appeal to children.

"It is wholly inappropriate to add caffeine to a kid-friendly product, regardless of whether the caffeine comes from coffee or another source," Cronin said.

Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo. Inc., said the company's new coffee toffee will be marketed to adults exclusively, with the presence of both coffee and caffeine clearly called out on both the front and back of the package, and the brand's iconic boy-and-dog logo featured against a black background to avoid any confusion with their kid's lines.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has noted what it characterizes as a troubling trend by food marketers to add caffeine to an ever-expanding list of products. Some high-profile examples include The Kraft Foods Group's enhanced Mio water drink with the caffeine equivalent of 12 to 18 cups of coffee in each bottle and Jelly Belly's Extreme Sport Beans, which are infused with 50 milligrams of caffeine in each 100-calorie pack.

Just today, Cronin noted, the FDA said it has received reports of 13 deaths in the past four years that might implicate the highly caffeinated energy shot, 5-Hour Energy Drink.

"Most parents don't let their young children consume coffee," Cronin said. "Parents shouldn't expect to find caffeine in jelly beans, potato chips, or other foods, especially given the recent deaths."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Caffeine Can Provide Modest Relief of Parkinson's Symptoms  

Gerald Zanetti/FoodPix(MONTREAL) -- It seems that a few cups of coffee can help relieve some symptoms of Parkinson's disease, Canadian researchers have found.
While earlier studies have shown that those who consume caffeine are less likely to get Parkinson's, a new study in the journal Neurology has found that caffeine can also relieve Parkinson's symptoms.

Parkinson's disease attacks the central nervous system, causing such symptoms as sleepiness, shaking, muscle rigidity, and difficulty walking and moving.

For the study, researchers at McGill University gave 61 Parkinson's patients either a placebo or caffeine in doses equivalent to two to four cups of coffee per day. After six weeks, they found that those who took the caffeine were just as sleepy, but they did experience modest improvement of other Parkinson's symptoms relating to mobility.

"This is modest improvement, but may be enough to provide benefit to patients.  On the other hand, it may not be sufficient to explain the relationship between caffeine non-use and Parkinson's, since studies of the progression of Parkinson's symptoms early in the disease suggest that a five-point reduction would delay diagnosis by only six months," McGill University researcher Dr. Ronald Postuma, M.D., M.Sc., said in a statement.
The study's authors urge further study of caffeine and its benefits for those with Parkinson's.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Caffeine Linked to Lower Skin Cancer Risk, Study Finds

Gerald Zanetti/FoodPix(BOSTON) -- Coffee fanatics are less likely to develop the most common type of skin cancer, a new study found.

The study of nearly 113,000 men and women found that those who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had a 20 percent lower risk of basal cell carcinoma than those who said no to Joe.

"I think we're seeing more and more evidence for the beneficial effects of coffee consumption," said study author Jiali Han, associate professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health, explaining that java has also been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes and Parkinson's disease.  "I wouldn't recommend drinking coffee solely based on this work, but it does add one more thing to the list."

The study, published on Monday in the journal Cancer Research, sheds new light on a skin cancer that affects 2.8 million Americans each year.

"It's not a lethal disease, but the associated health care cost is substantial," said Han, describing how the slow-growing skin cancer can be cured if caught early.  "Even a small decrease in the incidence will have a huge benefit for individuals and society."

Drinking decaffeinated coffee did not have the same benefit, pointing to caffeine as the protective agent. Indeed, caffeine from sources other than coffee like cola and chocolate was also linked to a decreased risk or basal cell carcinoma, according to the study.

"Caffeine may help the body kill off damaged skin cells," said Dr. Josh Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, explaining how exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun can damage skin cells' DNA.  "If you get rid of these cells that are damaged, then they don't have the opportunity to grow and form cancers."

Zeichner described basal cell carcinoma as "pearly papules" on the skin, often resembling a wound that won't heal properly.  Topical creams, surgery, and electrodesiccation curettage -- a procedure that scrapes off the top of the tumor and burns the base -- can cure the cancer.  But Zeichner stressed, "the best treatment is prevention."

"Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, keep reapplying it, wear sun-protective clothing and avoid the sun during peak hours," Zeichner said.  "Protection is the number one defense against skin cancer, followed by really early detection."

As for coffee's role in skin cancer prevention, Zeichner said the findings are intriguing.

"We're learning more and more about environmental exposures that can contribute to the development of skin cancers, or protection from them, and these include things in our diets.  But this doesn't mean you should go out and start drinking three coffees or a two-liter bottle of cola a day," he said, adding that too much caffeine -- not to mention sugar -- can have harmful health effects.  "We need to learn more."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Caffeine Mist Is a ‘Club Drug,’ Says Schumer

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A caffeine mist marketed as “breathable energy” may become a health hazard for teens and young people, according to doctors and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

On Thursday, Schumer asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the product’s safety.

Aeroshot Pure Energy, made by Breathable Foods in Cambridge, Mass., comes in a lipstick-size  tube designed to spray a mist of caffeine and B vitamins that dissolve in the mouth, according to the company. Each tube contains 100 mg of caffeine, which is about the amount contained in a large cup of coffee. The product will be sold over the counter and is set to hit store shelves in Boston and New York City next week, at $2.99 per tube.

The company promotes the product as easy to use, calorie free and compact enough to fit inside a jean pocket or carry-on luggage. Schumer says Aeroshot’s availability and the company’s marketing could sway teens and young adults to mix it with alcohol, creating a potentially dangerous combination.

In a statement, Schumer called the product a “club drug” that is “designed to give users the ability to drink until they drop.”

Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida, told ABC News that while the product is not the same as such illegal “club drugs” as ecstasy, the marketing and availability of the product is “troublesome.”

“It’s a very clever marketing, obviously reaching out to young people who consume energy drinks,” Goldberger said. “If you put this into the wrong hands, it could have serious consequences.”

Goldberger said he worries that the product, which will be sold with no age restrictions, could easily fall into the hands of  children, for whom 100 mg of caffeine could have serious health consequences. He also said there is no way to guarantee that users won’t inhale the caffeine mist directly into their lungs, which would be dangerous.

Aeroshot has about half the amount of caffeine contained in  alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko and Joose, which were banned by the FDA in 2010 after reports that the drinks had sent some users  to the hospital.

In a statement on the company’s website, Breathable Foods CEO Tom Hadfield said the product had none of the “mystery chemicals” contained in other energy drinks and was not supposed to be mixed with alcohol. Also, “Aeroshot is not intended for use by children and is not marketed to children,” Hadfield wrote.

The FDA plans to review information about the product and determine if it meets federal safety and labeling standards, according to a spokesperson for the agency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Adrenaline-Fueled Sprint Makes Some Marathons Deadly

Hemera/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Those exhilarating moments when marathoners sprint to the finish line on pure adrenaline can prove fatal to vulnerable hearts, a veteran marathon medical director said Monday.

Taking an 81-milligram baby aspirin and avoiding caffeine on race day -- especially super-caffeinated energy drinks -- are simple ways that marathon runners can reduce the chances their hearts will give out at race's end, like those of two men who collapsed Sunday at the 8th Philadelphia Marathon, said Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, board chairman of the International Medical Directors Association. Last year, the organization issued recommendations for preventing sudden death among runners and walkers.

"Runners are not bullet-proof," said Maharam. No matter how young or outwardly healthy they feel, runners should undergo an annual physical where a doctor can screen for hidden heart ailments and advise them on ways to reduce the odds of dying.

Both Philadelphia victims were initially said to have suffered apparent heart attacks, although they might have succumbed to sudden death from other cardiac causes, such as fatal heart rhythms. Jeffrey Lee, a 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania senior from Cerritos, Calif., collapsed at the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon and died at Hahnemann University Hospital, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported Monday. Lee, who was studying both nursing and business, had finished the course in one hour and 58 minutes.

The other victim, a 40-year-old man, also died at Hahnemann after collapsing a quarter-mile from the finish line. His name has not been released.

The course for the Philadelphia Marathon, whose website uses the slogan "Best: Time of Your Life," runs past some of the most famous historic landmarks in the City of Brotherly Love, including the Liberty Bell and the home of Betsy Ross, who stitched the first American flag.

More people may seem to be losing their lives while competing in marathons, although the absolute risk of dying has remained stable at one out of every 50,000 entrants, explained Maharam, past medical director of the New York Road Runners Club and the New York City Marathon. We are just hearing about more deaths because more people are participating in an increasing number of marathons and half-marathons. "There's a marathon or half-marathon every week, where 20,000 to 30,000 people are running, but the statistic hasn't changed," he said.

Some runners' hearts are particularly vulnerable to an adrenaline surge that occurs when they first spot the finish line, a location Maharam called "The X Spot," which he said "comes from the excitement of knowing you're going to finish."

Maharam, medical director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Program and for Competitor Group's Rock 'N' Roll Marathon Series, said he makes sure that paramedics are placed at that spot in each of the races in which he's involved. "I've had 10 successful resuscitations at my events this year at the X-spot because it goes down right in front of the paramedics."

He explained that excessive caffeine can make the heart muscle susceptible to ill effects of the adrenaline rush. So, too can the impact of running a half-marathon, which can dislodge small amounts of artery-blocking plaque, cutting off blood flow to a microscopic area of the heart muscle and leaving it more vulnerable to an erratic and ultimately fatal heart rhythm triggered by the adrenaline.

When this happens, "the heart stops and they go unconscious," he said.

Endurance athletes should be aware that intense bouts of exercise can lead the muscles to release enzymes that promote blood clotting and reduce the blood supply to the heart muscle. They should be properly hydrated, consume sufficient salt and avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications commonly taken for pain, muscle sprains and other sports injuries.

Some studies suggest that caffeine consumption becomes risky at about 200 milligrams, the amount contained in two "diner-size" cups of coffee. A cup at Starbucks contains 320 milligrams, "which is too much," he said.

Women marathon runners have less plaque in their arteries than male runners, or than sedentary women, researchers from the Minneapolis Heart Institute reported Nov. 14 at the American Heart Association annual meeting. That finding followed a report in 2010 that marathon-running men had more plaque than sedentary men, although those men were older than the women in this year's study, the Minnesota researchers said. Researchers could not account for the gender-based differences.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Coffee Acts as Pick-Me-Up in Older Female Smokers

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- From dementia to stroke, suicide to lethal forms of cancer, coffee has been touted as reducing risk of all such medical conditions. Now, coffee drinkers, here's another reason to refill that cup of joe: a new prospective study found that risk of depression decreases as java consumption increases.

The catch? The findings apply only to post-menopausal women who smoke.

The research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, studied more than 50,000 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study, a long-term Harvard study of some of the biggest issues affecting women's health. None of the women, who had an average age of 63, suffered from depression at the start of the study in 1996. By June 2006, researchers followed up and found that, for women who smoked, the more coffee they drank, the less they were at risk of depression.

Compared with women who drank 100 milligrams of coffee or less per day, women who drank four or more cups per day had 20-percent less risk of depression.

The association was not seen in non-smoking women, and researchers could not analyze women who drank very high amounts of coffee -- more than six cups per day -- due to an insignificant number of people who consumed such quantities.

"Regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing depression than non-drinkers," said Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the study. But he warned, "These are preliminary results that need to be confirmed."

In the study, the caffeinated coffee was associated with a decline in depression risk among older female smokers, but decaf coffee saw no such association. Oddly, when looking at other caffeinated resources (tea, soda, chocolate), researchers did not see an associated decrease of depression either. Study authors wrote that this could be because an insignificant portion of people made up the group after excluding those who drank one or more cups of coffee per day.

This type of depression is also not the typical kind that may develop in the younger years, researchers noted. Post-menopausal women are at higher risk of depression due to hormone and chemical changes in the brain. Because of this, the association of decreased depression risk cannot be directly linked to younger women.

More than half of American adults drink some form of coffee each day, according to the National Coffee Association, and caffeine is the most frequently consumed stimulant in the world.

While several antidepressants contain stimulants, Harold Koenig, professor of social psychology at Tulane University School of Medicine, said he is "concerned" if people read about the study and decide to use coffee as self-medication. Antidepressants likely have different chemical compositions than coffee, and would likely have a different effect on the brain.

"No doubt, caffeine can temporarily increase mood and energy, but the problem is that the effect does not last, and the dose has to be continually increased to maintain the same effect," said Koenig. "Many people experience a caffeine withdrawal when they cut down on their caffeine intake, and this can cause dysphoria and fatigue.

"Think about how you feel after you drink a high-caffeinated drink and think about how you feel after about two to three hours," Koenig continued. "Common sense says that the caffeine effect doesn't last, and that people have to pay for whatever improved mood they experience in terms of withdrawal."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Can Coffee Treat ADHD?

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Christie Haskell saw the classic symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, in her 7-year-old son, Rowan, she became concerned.

"At home there was a lot of just hyperactivity," she told ABC News. "Not being able to keep his hands to himself, talking when he's not supposed to talk, lack of concentration or ability to concentrate when he needed to."

Convinced Rowan suffered from ADHD, but without an official diagnosis, Haskell turned to the Internet in search of a treatment that would ease her son's attention difficulties.

ADHD is one of the most common behavioral problems in children, characterized by difficulty in sustaining attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.  It occurs more frequently in boys than girls, and is typically treated with drugs.

Haskell wanted a treatment for her son that wouldn't give him the side effects of traditional drugs, like Ritalin, commonly used to treat the disorder.  What she found, and began to use to treat Rowan, took her not to the medicine counter nor even the natural health foods store, but rather to her kitchen, where she brewed a pot of coffee.

Now, twice a day, seven days a week, Rowan gets a four ounce cup of coffee, delivered as consistently as, and just like, medicine.

Haskell, a writer for Café Mom's blog The Stir, says the caffeinated beverage, known for its ability to rev up a person's energy, actually makes her son less jittery.

"He doesn't overreact if we ask him to pick up Legos, rather than screaming and throwing himself on the floor," she said.  "And if we ask him to sit down and do homework, he can actually do it."

Rowan says he enjoys two things about his coffee regimen.

"It tastes good," he told ABC.  "And it calms me down."

Haskell blogged about her treatment on The Stir, and says plenty of parents claim similar success using coffee to treat ADHD.

Doctors, however, warn there is no proof that coffee works as a treatment for ADHD.  They also, more ominously, warn the well-documented, dangerous side effects of caffeine in children -- from a higher heart rate, to higher blood pressure and headaches -- may do more harm than good in the still developing bodies of young children like Rowan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio