EFSA publishes its Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine
1 June 2015 • Author(s): Victoria White
EFSA has published its Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine, in which it estimates acute and daily intakes that raise no safety concerns for the general healthy population.
The opinion also advises on the consumption of caffeine from all dietary sources in combination with physical exercise, and on the possible risks of consuming caffeine together with alcohol, with other substances found in so-called energy drinks, and with p-synephrine, a substance increasingly found in food supplements.
The assessment was finalised following extensive input from Member States, consumer groups, industry and other interested parties. This included a two-month online consultation and a stakeholder meeting in Brussels.
It is the first time that the risks from caffeine from all dietary sources have been assessed at EU level. A number of risk assessments have been carried out previously by national and other authoritative bodies around the world, which were thoroughly analysed by EFSA’s working group.
The European Commission asked EFSA to carry out its assessment after a number of Member States raised concerns about adverse health effects associated with caffeine consumption – particularly cardiovascular disease, problems related to the central nervous system (for example, interrupted sleep and anxiety), and possible risks to foetal health in pregnant women.
Single doses of 100mg of caffeine may affect sleep duration and patterns in some adults
EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) reached a number of conclusions including the following recommendations:
- For adults, single doses of caffeine up to 200mg (about 3mg per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg bw)) from all sources do not raise safety concerns for the general healthy adult population. The same amount of caffeine does not raise safety concerns when consumed less than two hours prior to intense physical exercise under normal environmental conditions.
- Single doses of 100mg (about 1.4mg/kg bw) of caffeine may affect sleep duration and patterns in some adults, particularly when consumed close to bedtime.
- Intakes up to 400mg (about 5.7mg/kg bw per day) per day consumed throughout the day do not raise safety concerns for healthy adults in the general population, except pregnant women.
- For pregnant women, caffeine intakes from all sources up to 200mg per day consumed throughout the day do not raise safety concerns for the foetus.
EFSA has also published a lay summary explaining the conclusions and context of its Scientific Opinion.
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