What the FDA’s New Ruling Means for Caffeine Supplements


Most of us need a little boost from a caffeinated beverage to get through the day, whether that boost comes from coffee, soda or energy drinks. For those who want a pick-me-up from another source, nutraceutical companies have been happy to supply alternatives. In powders, liquids or tablets, there are plenty of ways to add a jolt to your day besides java. However, recent headlines about dangerous caffeine levels in supplements and subsequent action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might have some manufacturers and consumers a bit worried.

What’s Safe

Odds are, your daily source of caffeine doesn’t present a health risk to you. According to Mayo Clinic, healthy adults can take in up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily1. To gauge how much you take in, a cup of coffee has about 95 mg, a 12-ounce can of soda has between 34-55 mg and an energy shot (depending on the brand) can have about 75 mg. When taken in moderation, these do not present a health hazard.

Some dietary supplements happen to contain caffeine, but they aren’t purely caffeine. A perfect example of this is a supplement containing green tea extract. The amount of caffeine in these supplements is very different from brand to brand, but they may contain as low as 4 mg or as high as 160 mg per serving. If the packaging clearly tells consumers how much caffeine they’re ingesting, the caffeine in these supplements shouldn’t present a health risk.


Sarah Beale is a content marketing specialist at MasterControl in Salt Lake City, where she writes white papers, web pages, and is a frequent contributor to the company’s blog, GxP Lifeline. Beale has been writing about the life sciences and health care for over five years. Prior to joining MasterControl she worked for a nutraceutical company in Salt Lake City and before that she worked for a third-party health care administrator in Chicago. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in business administration from DeVry University.

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