A Stimulating Look at Energy Drinks

They are the new retail craze, available everywhere and promising instant  energy to get more done faster. The largest population they are pitched to is the “under 30” group. This includes high school and college students, as well as athletes both school age and professional.

Our over worked culture is moving beyond coffee for its morning wake up and afternoon pick–me-up to the energy drink solution. This popular product comes with it’s own health concerns. Energy drinks contain significant amounts of caffeine and sugar and can include other stimulants such as ephedrine, guarana, and ginseng, which all have been shown to have potential health concerns. Here are some points of consideration you may want to be aware of before gulping down a can or two of the elixir:

  • Energy drinks contain as much caffeine as in a cup of coffee. Consumed quickly as energy drinks are, the caffeine and sugar provide a jolt of energy by stimulating your stress system, but also raise your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, causing your heart to beat faster and work harder.
  • The contents of these energy drinks can produce symptoms that may include anxiety, insomnia, irritability and nausea that can be severe enough to require medical attention or hospitalization.
  • Energy drinks, if taken during exercise, can dehydrate the body and deplete much needed calcium and potassium.
  • Because of the energy provided by the caffeine and sugar in energy drinks, they have become popular as mixers with alcohol. This can lead to an individual not being aware of the level of intoxication, which might allow them to drive under the influence.
  • Bad reactions to energy drinks have been reported to U.S. poison control centers published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
  • In a report of nine cases of adverse reactions to the energy drink Redline, the patients reported nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, tremors, dizziness and numbness.
  • There is the impression that because these drinks are available over the counter and can be bought in any retail store, they are not a “substance” that we should use carefully.
  • While energy drinks can be part of a balanced lifestyle when consumed sensibly, as with all things related to health and lifestyle, we need to exercise moderation and good judgement to avoid problems that can arise from inappropriate or excessive use.

With all good wishes,

Copyright 2010 G. Donadio