Originally published November 6 2013
Caffeine mints sold as candy kills a man who ate too many
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Energy drinks that are heavily laced with caffeine have become common in beverage coolers everywhere. They add to the already heavy caffeine consumption of many through coffee, tea and cokes. Energy drinks are usually more potent than coffees or teas, and teens have easy access to them.
Recently, a 40-year-old British male died from caffeine-packed mints.
John Jackson bought a package of energy mints called Hero Instant Energy Mints and died after eating some or all of the 12 mints in the package. Each Hero mint has the same amount of caffeine as a can of a potent energy drink. How many were eaten is uncertain.
Jackson was a heavy drinker and had already been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. The coroner's pathologist, Dr. Dragana Cvijan, said that that inhibited metabolizing the caffeine adequately. Although small traces of other drugs were found, Jackson's caffeine blood level was 155 milligrams per liter. It's established that 79 milligrams per liter can cause death.
She was surprised to find that it was his caffeine blood content that caused his death, and not liver failure. But she shouldn't have been surprised. Jackson's liver was already half-dead.
Anyone with a liver condition, whether cirrhosis or hepatitis A, B or C, should avoid caffeine, alcohol and over-the-counter pain killers with acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
Balancing out the caffeine issueTime for a perspective to neutralize any unfounded paranoia among coffee drinkers. A normal cup of coffee might bring the concentration of caffeine in your plasma to 2.5 or 7 milligrams/liter. Remember, Jackson's was 155 mg/L with a virtually useless liver.
There have been a few other cases of death or near-death from caffeine overdoses. But there were circumstances that made death by caffeine easier.
One death from caffeine in New Mexico, USA, was enhanced by heavy sleeping pill consumption (interesting combination), and another in New Mexico was using caffeinated beverages to shoot up her drugs.
A one-year-old almost died after accidentally eating some of her mom's caffeine diet pills. Caffeinated pills for staying alert are widely available over-the-counter. A teenage boy in Toronto barely survived after consuming over two-dozen caffeine pills known as "pink hearts."
There are other medical situations that can lead to disaster from what most consider moderate caffeine consumption.
A famous case in California involves a lawsuit against the makers of Monster energy drink, citing that 14-year-old Anais Fournier had consumed two 24 ounce cans of Monster before suddenly dying. That's not enough to cause a caffeine overdose unless there are other medical predispositions.
Anais had a rare condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects collagen synthesis and can lead to a collapse of the cardiovascular system. Her death was ruled as a cardiac arrhythmia brought on by excess caffeine.
But the arrhythmia was complicated by "mitral valve regurgitation in the setting of Ehrlers-Danlos syndrome," according to the coroner's report.
Jack E. James, PhD, editor of the Journal of Caffeine Research, is on a campaign to get the FDA to issue warnings on consumer items with added caffeine. But other than protecting the makers from lawsuits, that seems pointless.
Even the package of Hero mints recommends not exceeding five mints over 24 hours, and the makers caution those with liver conditions. Cigarette packages have warnings that are disregarded by many.
But in case you're concerned about death from caffeine, here's a link that will tell you how many beverages for your body weight it will take to kill you, provided you don't have a bad liver or heart condition (http://www.energyfiend.com).
Sources for this article include:
Journal of Caffeine Research (Jack E. James, Editor-in-Chief):
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