Report Details Current Knowledge of Caffeine Consumption Risks

Despite its widespread use and the growing number of food products containing caffeine, research has shown that greater health risks may exist for populations such as children, adolescents, and pregnant women. A report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) details the current knowledge presented by public health, medical, and food safety professionals, including safe levels of caffeine in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements, and describes studies that highlight the risks associated with caffeine intake.

IOM Workshop

A stimulant of the central nervous system, caffeine is the most frequently ingested pharmacologically active substance in the world, consumed primarily in the United States through coffee, tea, carbonated soft drinks, and energy drinks. In August 2013, the IOM convened scientists with expertise in food safety, nutrition, pharmacology, psychology, toxicology, and related disciplines, as well as medical professionals and experience in cardiology, neurology, and psychiatry for adults and children. Food industry representatives, regulatory experts, and public health professionals were also included. The workshop focused on the epidemiological, toxicological, and clinical literature in order to describe the health risks involved in caffeine consumption and identify safe levels of consumption for the general population and for vulnerable populations.

Risks of Caffeine Consumption

The report issued by the IOM details the input of these participating professionals and is broken down into topics such as the intake and exposure to caffeine, safety signals and surveillance, safe levels of caffeine exposure for vulnerable populations, and the effects of caffeine on the central nervous system, including behavioral effects. Several studies on the adverse effects of caffeine consumption are detailed, including one that points out the dangers of exercising after caffeine use, and another that explores the triggering effects of caffeine on cardiac arrhythmia.