Caffeine lovers beware: it may help you wake up in the morning, but the stimulant can also kill you.
It proved fatal for 23-year-old Michael Bedford, a British man who died in April after ingesting “spoonfuls” of a caffeine powder equivalent to roughly 70 cans of Red Bull.
Bedford swallowed two spoonfuls of the substance at a party with friends, according to reports in the British media, even though the powder he bought came with a warning to consume only one-sixteenth of a teaspoon.
He quickly got sick, threw up, began slurring his words, and collapsed.
“He was puking up blood and he was sweating really bad,” a friend, 17, told the Nottingham Evening Post.
Though he was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital, Bedford died shortly after swallowing the powder.
His death was ruled accidental in an inquest last week, but his family places the blame on the caffeine powder’s easy availability.
Bedford bought the powder online for just over five dollars, or 3.29 British pounds.
“It makes me feel sick [that these products can be bought so easily],” his grandmother Glenis Noble told the Post. “I feel like it should be banned.”
“I think there should be a warning on it saying it can kill,” added his aunt Sue Burton.
“This should serve as a warning that caffeine is so freely available on the Internet but so lethal if the wrong dosage is taken,” Coroner Dr. Nigel Chapman said at the inquest.
It’s just the latest report tying caffeine to serious health problems.
Last month, roughly 50 students at Central Washington University were hospitalized after drinking Four Loko, a beverage nicknamed “blackout in a can” that mixes a high percentage of alcohol with caffeine.
One can costs around $2.50, and is equivalent to consuming five to six beers and several shots of espresso at once.