The supplement industry is witnessing an innovative shift, with the introduction of caffeine inhalers, or ‘vapes,’ coupled with other supplements like vitamins and herbal extracts.1 Inhalable caffeine is not just a novelty; it’s becoming a choice for many. These products have become increasingly popular due to their claimed benefits.
Table of Contents
Purported Benefits of Caffeine Inhalers
Caffeine inhalers are designed for rapid absorption, offering an instant energy surge, and they claim to eliminate common side effects associated with oral caffeine consumption, such as jitters. Furthermore, their ease of use adds to their appeal.2
Product Composition and Prominent Brands
Companies such as Eagle Energy, HealthVape, and CCL Supplements are some of the key players marketing these caffeine inhaler products. These vaporizers contain caffeine mixed with supplements like vitamin B12, ginseng, guarana, and amino acids.3
These products claim to be absorbed in 5-30 seconds, circumvent the jitters and crash from oral caffeine consumption, and are straightforward to use. The dosage typically involves 5-20 breaths per use, with the effects claimed to last around an hour.
However, as the consumption of caffeine shifts from the traditional oral route to inhalation, several safety concerns have been raised. Inhalation of caffeine and other ingredients has not been thoroughly studied, and there is potential for airway irritation.
The Question of Long-Term Safety
The safety of these products also depends on factors such as heating temperature and dosage. Furthermore, the long-term effects of inhaling these substances on lung health are still unknown4.
Limited Clinical Research
Despite these concerns, limited clinical research on inhaled caffeine supplements is available. A noteworthy study conducted on preterm infants discovered that compounded inhaled caffeine improved medication adherence and reduced rehospitalizations compared to intravenous caffeine.5 However, no studies were found that explored the effects of inhaled caffeine supplements on adults.
Regulation and Patent Trends
Interestingly, these inhaler products are not regulated by the FDA6. They are marketed as supplements, and none of the companies have gone through the FDA approval process for drugs.
The concept of inhaling medications or vitamins is nothing new, as evidenced by US Patent 5284133-A, which describes an inhalation device that includes a dose-timer to ensure that patients adhere to their prescribed dosage regimen.
It’s worth noting that technology similar to what’s described in European Patent 1392263-A2 has been used to deliver aerosols containing small particles. However, the fact that patents have recently been filed for a new disposable caffeine inhaler suggests that there may be growing interest in alternative methods of inhaling substances like caffeine.
This is further backed by research, such as the paper by WB Feldman et al, which explored the various patents and regulatory exclusivities related to inhalers for asthma and other respiratory disorders.
These findings reveal the significant amount of research and development dedicated to inhalers, and the possibility of alternative inhaler devices, such as the disposable caffeine inhaler, becoming available to consumers.
In conclusion, while early data on adherence and cost savings with inhaled caffeine seems promising, the safety and efficacy compared to oral caffeine consumption are still largely unknown. The lack of regulation and clinical trials, the potential for misuse and abuse, and the unknown risk/benefit profile require further research and evaluation.
- https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/eagle-energy-usa-inc-617712-12012021 ↩︎
- https://healthvape.com/products/energy ↩︎
- https://cclsupplements.com/products/ccl-caffeine ↩︎
- https://www.nutraingredients-asia.com/Article/2018/01/15/Inventor-s-wheeze-could-deliver-inhaled-nutrition ↩︎
- https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0275655 ↩︎
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10328096 ↩︎