Inhalable Caffeine? Think Again

By Sara Shipley, Nutrition and Dietetics Student

What will they come up next? A few months ago, AeroShot was released in the US(NY and Boston markets) from Breathable Foods. This product is an inhalable form of energy. It looks like a small bullet casing, silver and yellow- this powerful little shot packs a punch. It contains 100 mg caffeine, B vitamins and a slew of other flavorings and sweeteners. Manufactured in France, AeroShot is the brainchild of Harvard professor David Edwards. His company, Breathable Foods launched this product in Europe last year and this is not the first ingestible product they have developed. Le Whif, a breathable chocolate product.

AeroShot is marketed to athletes, students or tired professionals, age 12+ of course. The website touts ‘no calories, no liquid, no limit’.  Born from David Edwards’s idea that rather than ingesting nutrients, you could inhale them. On technicality, the website does not necessarily advise ‘inhaling’, but to ‘draw the powder gently into your mouth’.

So, we all know the benefits of caffeine when moderately consumed. It can pull you through an afternoon lull at work, it can jumpstart your cycle session at the gym or ‘the best part of waking up’- your morning joe. We also know the effects of overdoing it- feeling jittery, headaches and an elevated heart rate. So, naturally this product raises eyebrows- FDA namely…

  • Is inhaling caffeine safe?
  • Will abusing this product be harmful?
  • If unintended for youth- why does the marketing and advertising lean towards this population?

AeroShot refutes these concerns with several ‘scientific explanations’ on their website. Allegedly, AeroShot particle size is too large to enter lungs, rather it reaches your mouth and is swallowed and ingested into the blood stream. They go on to solidify the efficacy of their product by unsubstantiated clinical studies that ‘have shown that AeroShot delivers caffeine into the bloodstream at the same rate of drinking caffeine’. The convenience factor is the portability and quickness of ‘pulling it out of your pocket’”

Although this product is NOT currently banned, the FDA wants to warn consumers. The effects of inhaling caffeine have not been researched and therefore they want to raise a red flag to use this product with caution. They also want AeroShot to reconsider their marketing, as a recent report from the NY Daily News reports, “The Food and Drug Administration reviewed your website at www.aeroshots.com in February 2012 and has determined that the product AeroShot is misbranded,” … “We also have safety questions about the product.” In the past week alone, this story has been buzzing across all mediums- weighing in on the safety of this product. Creator and founder, David Edwards is quoted in Medical Daily online, “Even with coffee — if you look at the reaction in Europe to coffee when it first appeared — there was quite a bit of hysteria,” the Harvard University professor and AeroShot inventor David Edwards had told AP in February. “So anything new, there’s always some knee-jerk reaction that makes us believe ‘Well, maybe it’s not safe.”

Although this product is legal, interesting and yet another innovative tool to get you through your long, tiring days or hard workout- is this safe? Sure, in moderation everything is okay. But, the potential for abuse seems high. I’m curious to see how this controversy affects the life of AeroShot. In theory, it’s great. But, we all know that not everything theoretical is smart for the average consumer.

 

 

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