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BA from Columbia College in NYC. MD from Northwestern University in Chicago. Trained in Internal Medicine. Mom of two kids. Medical experience in research, teaching, and patient care. Interested in public health education and in correcting medical misinformation in the media. So, I am a Real Doctor with Real Talk about Real Health for Real Teens. Real Talk doesn't replace a conversation with your doctor, your parent, or another supportive adult in your life, but Real Talk with Dr. Offutt can be a place to get involved in your own health!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Short and sweet – a little Real Talk about Powdered Caffeine


So, I love my coffee, I really do. And I know that caffeine is the nectar of life for many of you out there, but when I heard the news about powdered caffeine leading to at least one death in a teen, I thought we should take a minute to talk about it. Before I sat down to start writing, I wanted to see how easy it is to buy….. well, it’s super easy! Googled it and the first thing that pops up is it is available on Amazon. Now, just because something is on a particular website doesn’t mean it’s safe or approved or anything other than simply being for sale.

So, what’s the problem with powdered caffeine? I mean, isn’t it just a more efficient way of having coffee or soda or tea or whatever?

What is it? PURE, 100% pure, caffeine

How strong is it? 1 tsp (approximately) = 25 cups of coffee (approximately)

What’s the problem? Really, really small amounts lead to a caffeine overdose.

Caffeine overdose? Doesn’t that mean I’ll get a ton done, and no prob? Nope.
Symptoms of caffeine overdose are:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Irregular heart rhythm / heart beat
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Being really out of it (stupor)
  • Not knowing where you are or what time it is (disoriented)
  • And yes, death.


The amount of overdose is much more than you get from caffeinated beverages. And it is nearly impossible to measure safe amounts with your basic kitchen measures.

Questions? Just ask. And share the info with your friends.

Dr. O