SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The FDA and some medical experts are warning consumers to stay away from caffeine powder after the sudden death of a high school senior.
18-year-old Logan Stiner of Ohio, had a lethal amount of caffeine in his system when he died on May 27th. His family believes he was taking caffeine powder.
Health officials want people to hold off on using the unregulated substance until they can conduct further studies.
The powder is popular among younger people who like to exercise and want an energy boost.
Caffeine powder is readily available online, and is less expensive than regular coffee.
Doctor William Meller of the MedCenter in Santa Barbara says the difference between a safe amount and a lethal amount is very small.
"It's almost impossible to measure this stuff accurately. One teaspoon of caffeine powder is the equivalent of about 25 cups of coffee and that's more than enough to kill you," Dr. Meller said.
The FDA says the suggested use is between 1/32th and 1/16th of a teaspoon. But, Dr. Meller says that's hard to measure.
"Nobody has that kind of measuring stuff around at their house. So they buy this white powder and think how harmful can it be? It's very easy to overdose," Dr. Meller said.
The FDA is encouraging people who continue to use the powder to use a micro-scale to get a more precise measurement.
While, the occurrence of death from caffeine powder is rare, it does happen.
Dr. Meller says people should focus on getting real nutrition instead of taking stimulants and supplements.
He said, "Our bodies are best adapted by getting our nutrition from food; real, recognizable and identifiable food. Taking anything in powder form and thinking it's better for you is a myth."