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Editor's Note
April 8, 2013

Insufficient Information About Caffeine in Supplements Makes Me Jittery
Comment on “Caffeine Content of Dietary Supplements Consumed on Military Bases”

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(7):594. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.3448

Recent media reports of deaths related to consumption of drinks high in caffeine1 remind us that substances that are safe and even beneficial at usual doses (how many of us would have survived residency without caffeinated beverages?) may be harmful when consumed to excess. As demonstrated by the authors of this provocative Research Letter, consumers cannot be certain how much caffeine they are consuming in dietary supplements. The authors tested 20 different supplements sold at military installations: 5 had levels very different from what was advertised on the label, and 6 did not even state on the label the amount of caffeine in the product. This report contributes to other reports in this journal2 and other journals indicating that to protect the public we need tighter regulation of dietary supplements.

Meier B. Monster energy drink cited in deaths. New York Times. October 22, 2012.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/23/business/fda-receives-death-reports-citing-monster-energy-a-high-caffeine-drink.html?_r=0. Accessed November 30, 2012
Marcus DM, Grollman AP. The consequences of ineffective regulation of dietary supplements.  Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(13):1035-1036PubMedArticle