Nestle claims to have created a way for people to get an all-day caffeine boost from a single cup of coffee.
Scientists at the Nestlé Research Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland, together with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and university ETH Zurich say they’ve found a technique which allows one little cup of coffee to release nutrients in a slow and sustained way.
The technique, which revolves around “cubosomes,” could potentially be used in a variety of other products, as well.
Cubosomes are microscopic capsules made of lipid molecules and water that contain a key ingredient or nutrient in foods – in this case, caffeine. The capsules break down in the body over time, slowly releasing their contents.
A Nestle spokesman said: “What if you could drink one beverage and enjoy the boost effect caffeine provides in a slow, sustained way throughout the day?”
The recommended daily limit for caffeine is 400mg – about 4 or 5 cups of coffee. And while there are many real benefits of coffee and caffeine, too much of it can make you sick.
People who drink too much coffee often wind up with a euphoric, almost manic response (drat!), followed by a caffeine “crash” when the high wears off. The new technique would prevent caffeine overdose by providing coffee sippers with an immediate boost, followed by all-day energy.
Unfortunately, there’s still a bit of a caffeine “slump” when the effect wears off.
It would be really hard to die from too much caffeine. The average 150-pound person would have to drink about 62 cups of coffee before they dropped dead. It only takes between 400-600mgs of caffeine to cause unwanted side effects, though.
Twitching uncontrollably at your desk qualifies as an “unwanted side effect,” but it’s a minor one compared to trouble breathing or sleeping, rapid or irregular heartbeat, changes in alertness, confusion, convulsions, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, increased thirst or urination, vomiting and even hallucinations.
(Note: I have never met anyone who has ever hallucinated from drinking too much coffee, but apparently it happens.).
So the new cubosome technique might be able to keep people awake without keeping them up all night, and that’s a good thing.
Coffee is just the tip of the spear when it comes to cubosomes, too.
“We are considering what the next steps are now in terms of further research and future product potential.”
“Future product potential” could include medicines (called nanomedicines).
Cubosomes have already been developed and commercialized by Swedish start-up Camarus Ab. The company’s FluidCrystal nanoparticles could soon deliver several months’ worth of drug delivery to cancer patients with a single injection. Theoretically, cubosomes could deliver medications at varying intervals, from daily to monthly.
Unfortunately, Nestle is corporation which offers questionable products, thinks water should be privatized, and opposes GMO labeling. So let’s hope another company can come up with something similar that we can support.
This post originally appeared at Natural Society.