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Research Letter
Apr 8, 2013

Caffeine Content of Dietary Supplements Consumed on Military Bases

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Dr Cohen); Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland (Ms Attipoe and Drs Stevens and Deuster); and NSF International, Ann Arbor, Michigan (Mr Travis).

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(7):592-594. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.3254

Excessive caffeine consumption, particularly when combined with other stimulants, may increase the risk of hypokalemia, rhabdomyolysis, and other heat-related injuries among athletes and military personnel.1-3 Caffeine is consumed in a wide range of popular items including coffee, teas, sodas, energy drinks, energy gels, chocolate, gums, and over-the-counter medications. Dietary supplements, which are commonly consumed by military personnel,4,5 are a poorly characterized source of caffeine. Only with accurate information about the quantity of caffeine in dietary supplements can consumers and clinicians be assured of safe use. As part of an ongoing multidisciplinary collaboration to promote dietary supplement safety, we analyzed some of the most popular supplements sold on military bases to determine the accuracy of information available to military personnel and their health care providers regarding caffeine content in dietary supplements.