- Posted August 8, 2013 by
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FDA Looking at Caffeine Safety, official says.
Caffeine has a reputation as offering a quick burst of energy to help you stay alert, but questions linger as to its safety. MedPage Today reported in an article on August 6, 2013 that the FDA is looking at caffeine safety. Medline Plus notes that caffeine has many effects on the body's metabolism, which includes stimulating the central nervous system.
For the majority of people, the amount of caffeine which is in two to four cups of coffee a day is not harmful. However, you can become restless, anxious, and irritable from too much caffeine. Excessive caffeine may also keep you from sleeping well and cause headaches, abnormal heart rhythms, or other problems. And when you stop using caffeine, you may have withdrawal symptoms.
There is no clear consensus on the safety of new uses of caffeine such as in energy drinks,
therefore making it difficult for the FDA to plan its next move on the stimulant. Michael Taylor, JD, deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, has said, "Caffeine is an extraordinarily complex scientific puzzle, regulatory puzzle, public health puzzle for us." The FDA is planning to work with the scientific community, the industry community, and with consumers to get to the bottom line in dealing with caffeine safety recommendations.
It has been publicly acknowledged by the FDA that it is examining the safety of super-caffeinated beverages such as Monster Energy in the aftermath of multiple reported deaths in children. However, the FDA hasn't come to any conclusions yet and remains in a fact finding mode.
There remain differing opinions about the risks and benefits of caffeine in diets. Stephen Schaffer, PhD, who is a pharmacologist at University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, has argued that other ingredients which are in energy drinks, such as ginkgo biloba and taurine, may offset the potential harm which high caffeine consumption may have.
Meanwhile, Andrew Smith, PhD, a psychologist at Cardiff University in Wales, has noted that excessive caffeine consumption could be problematic, particularly in sensitive individuals, which includes children. Furthermore, Steve Lipshultz, MD, a pediatric cardiologist at the University of Miami, disagreed says that evidence shows the high caffeine enery drinks increase children's risk of seizures, cardiac dysrhythmias, and behavioral abnormalities.
Nevertheless, a 1990 law on dietary supplements known as the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, states that the FDA has to prove a significant or unreasonable risk from a dietary supplement such as caffeine to take action, and so investigations are continuing.
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