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LeBron James in spotlight off-court, too. Is he selling caffeine to kids?

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“It is a terrible message to send children and adults alike that in order to get the best possible workout, Mr. James uses a cocktail of caffeine, a dependence-producing stimulant, and other substances that had to be cleared by the NFL policy against doping in sports,” says Andrea Barthwell, former president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. “These instances where top tier athletes attempt to increase their performance using chemicals rather than hard work are at the root of doping in sports and linked to the chemical culture where we are always looking for something to do for us what we should do for ourselves.”

Others say more research is needed on the long-term effects of caffeine before a product like this should be marketed.

“We simply don’t know what the use of this drug does to a human body over time, especially younger bodies,” says John Higgins, director of exercise physiology at Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute in Houston. “A majority of the studies examine what is the effect for today, or this week. The literature for what the effects are over years is very thin. That is what’s needed.”

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