Caffeine Inhalers: A Safe Energy Boost?
Caffeine inhalers are showing up at night clubs, fitness clubs, and college campuses across the United States. Are they a safe way to boost energy, or can they harm your health?
Instant Energy Rush
Are you someone who craves a daily caffeine fix? Do you need your morning coffee or glass of cola to start the day?
Ask around, and you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't enjoy caffeine on a daily basis.
According to a MedicineNet report, nearly 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine every day. They take it in many different forms: coffee, tea, soft drinks, pills, energy drinks, chocolate ... and the list goes on.
Caffeine inhalers are all the rage right now. They made headlines across America in recent months, but some people question the health risks of using these instant energy boosters.
Statistics show that caffeine inhalers are more common in the Northeast than other parts of the United States. Spotted in various social settings like dance clubs and fitness clubs, the inhalers are also popular on college campuses.
One shot of caffeine promises to deliver as much energy as your morning jolt. But is it a safe energy boost?
Dr. Kimberly Parks, a Boston cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says caffeine inhalers are as safe as coffee, if they are used in moderation. The potential for overdose is her main concern.
Caffeine inhaler products are not really inhaled into the lungs. Each puff delivers a shot of tiny caffeine particles that coat the mouth and are then swallowed. Most inhalers contain 100 milligrams of caffeine, an amount that is roughly equal to a large cup of coffee. Delivery occurs over five or six puffs.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate caffeine inhalers or other supplement products. This leaves the potential for adulterated content ingredients and inaccurate dosage labeling.
The quick ingestion rate could also have toxic side effects, especially when the product is combined with alcoholic beverages. AeroShot, which combines caffeine with B vitamins, sweeteners and flavorings, warns users not to use alcohol with the inhalers.
Recent health concerns have prompted the FDA to investigate the safety of caffeine inhalers. Further studies will determine if the manufacturers can brand the product as a dietary supplement.
Caffeine Health Effects
Caffeine is an alkaloid, a natural chemical compound that acts as a stimulant drug. It certainly has its perks (pun intended).
The natural substance stimulates the nervous system, boosts energy, reduces fatigue and increases alertness. It also improves focus, concentration and coordination. No wonder so many people rely on caffeine to wake them up and get them going.
Caffeine is safe in moderate doses, and it has potential health benefits. A growing body of research suggests that moderate consumption may reduce the risk of heart disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia and Type 2 diabetes.
However, heavy daily use can lead to caffeine dependence. High doses can cause intoxication that is characterized by insomnia, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, stomach upset, muscle tremors and irregular heart beat. If the dose is high enough, caffeine consumption can lead to death, usually due to heart arrhythmia.
Safe Caffeine Doses
How long do the effects of caffeine last?
"For better or worse, the effects ... are gone anywhere from 10 to 60 hours after the body ingests it, depending on [a person's] ability to metabolize caffeine," said Parks.
The typical daily consumption of caffeine, 200 to 700 milligrams per day, is safe for most people. This amount should not produce any adverse health effects.
This doesn't mean you should drink more caffeine or otherwise add the stimulant to your daily diet. But, studies show that small doses are relatively harmless.
So have your morning cup of coffee, or a few puffs on your inhaler, and enjoy the day!
What is your experience with caffeine inhalers? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your social networks.
- Associated Press. (February 20, 2012). "FDA to Look into Safety of Caffeine Inhalers." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- Hussar, April Daniels. (February 13, 2012). "Caffeine Inhalers: Are They Safe?" Self. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- Mayo Clinic staff. (March 9, 2012). "Caffeine: How Much is Too Much?" Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Parks, Kimberly A. and James Mojica. (November 29, 2011). "Are Caffeine Inhalers Safe?" Massachusetts General Hospital. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
- Stoeppler, Melissa Conrad. (February 3, 2011). "Caffeine Addiction: Can You Quit?" MedicineNet. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
The information presented in this article is not intended as health or medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional.
© 2012 Annette R. Smith
More in this Series
Most tongue problems are harmless and resolve on their own. Some may indicate a serious medical condition. Learn more about the causes and symptoms of six common tongue problems.
Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was out for the 2011 season with a Lisfranc injury. Learn more about this painful midfoot condition.