While you may have joked about injecting coffee straight into your bloodstream on a Monday morning, chances are you don’t have to. If you drink coffee or tea every morning, or maybe have a bit of dark chocolate at night, a new study has found caffeine is already in our blood.

The study, published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis from Oregon State University, found evidence of our societal obsession with caffeine. In a test of 18 batches of “pure human blood serum” from multiple donors, researchers found that each one tested positive for caffeine.

But that’s not necessarily cause for worry. “From a ‘contamination’ standpoint, caffeine is not a big worry for patients, though it may be a commentary on current society,” said Luying Chen, a Ph.D. student. “But the other drugs being in there could be an issue for patients.”

The “other drugs” they tested for included anti-anxiety medication, an OTC cough suppressant, and a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. None of the samples showed traces of the diabetes treatment. Traces of anti-anxiety medication was found in eight samples and cough medicine was found in 13 of the samples.

This study took a small sample size, but found nearly all the samples were, on some level, contaminated. They also only looked for specific contaminants, but frighteningly that may not be all that’s in transfusions.

“Without doing a comprehensive survey of vendors and blood banks we can only speculate on how widespread the problem is,” said Richard van Breemen, Ph.D., the director of OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute. “Another thing to consider is that we found drugs that we just happened to be looking for […] how many others are in there too that we weren’t looking for?” 

This study was designed as a part of a project to test a method for looking at the interactions between botanical dietary supplements and drugs, so we’ll be interested to see what comes next from their research. 

Though caffeine in your blood isn’t something to worry about, there’s tons of great alternatives to our favorite caffeine-filled beverages and ways to hack your day to keep energy up without needing the boost.

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