Down to Two Cups a Day? Maybe Not, With Supplements

So you think you're ok. You've been able to cut down your coffee consumption to just two cups a day. But you may be up to three or four, without even knowing it, if you take certain supplements.

According to Genevra Pittman at, many supplements containing caffeine don't even mention it on the label, a new study has found. 

"The amount of caffeine in diet supplements varies widely and product labels are often inaccurate or have no caffeine information at all, according to a new study of supplements sold on military bases," she writes.

"Consumers really have no idea when they're purchasing supplements what's in them, even if they carefully read the label,"Dr. Pieter Cohen from Harvard Medical School in Boston, who worked on the new study, told Pittman.

Six of the products tested did not have caffeine levels on their labels, "but had very high amounts according to the chemical analysis - between 210 and 310 milligrams per serving. In comparison, an eight-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine," Pittman reports.
Cohen told Pittman those levels are especially worrisome for military service members abroad, because side effects of caffeine such as tremors and anxiety may hit them extra hard due to the stressful environment.
Too much caffeine, according to Cohen, "could push one over from just being a little on edge to having a full-blown panic attack."
But even those not in the military could be at risk, causing problems when the pills or powders are combined with energy drinks, coffee and other high-caffeine food and beverages, researchers said. 
Experts agree supplements (and vitamins, too) need to be better regulated.


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