Fatal Energy?


| 7 Comments
Now that finals are upon us, I'm sure many of us are going to be pulling all nighters. Whenever I need to stay up late to procrastinate...err...study, I look to coffee and energy drinks (I like blue Monsters). But what exactly are the side effects of having so much caffeine, especially in the form of high-energy drinks?

A handful of people have died from "energy drink" consumption, but are they really that bad? Are energy drinks really deadly?

The amount of caffeine in energy drinks is uncertain, since caffeine is an "uncontrolled substance." On the label of the Monster that I just finished, caffeine is grouped under the label Energy Blend, along with L-carnitine, Glucose, Guarana, Inositol, Glucuronolactone, and Maltodextrin. In the whole can, there are 2,500mg of Energy Blend, and the Daily Value is "not established." Also, something to note is there are 2 servings in one can, so if you are like me and drink a whole can at once, you are getting 5,000mg of "Energy Blend." As for me, I have no idea how to even measure or comprehend that number...so should I be worried?

Many articles that I read listed possible side effects of energy drinks to be: heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and cardiac arrest. Don't get too worried however, it seems that most of these side affects usually only affect people that have previous heart conditions, such as a heart arrhythmia. 

Overall, doctors suggest that drinking energy drinks IN MODERATION is okay, as long as you do it with caution and never mix it with alcohol. Also, energy drinks should not be consumed by children under 17. 

Do you use energy drinks and have you ever had a problem with them? If so, what was your experience?

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7 Comments

I found an article on NYtimes relating to energy drinks. There was a paper published on Pediatrics talking about the side effects of energy drinks among children and young adults. It claimed that "An average energy drink contains 70 to 80 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce serving," with the extra more by subsitances like kola nut, cocoa and guarana etc. The study stated that there is a strong linkage between these enrgy drinks with side effects of "heart palpitations, high blood pressure and even cardiac arrest and death" In some nations, they have the caffeine limit so they cant sell Red Bull or Monsters in stores. If that is the case, I wonder if we need some kind of limit on the amount of caffeine in the drink or not.
(http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/health/research/15risks.html)

As a journalist I find myself under pressure to meet deadlines and it's usually at the cost of a good night's sleep. I can say I've tried most of the mainstream energy drinks such as RedBull, Monster, Rockstar, Amp and Five Hour Energy. To answer your questions, no I have not encountered any problems, with the exception of occasional nausea but I usually attribute that to the fact I haven't slept. According to your blog post it seems that energy drinks aren't good for you. My question would be, what's the alternative? Humanity isn't going to change and they're still going to need a kick every now and then. I looked into alternative sources for energy such as the new Mio:Energy water enhancer and it seems that the only negative reviews toward the product is that it's not "natural" but then again, what is anymore? The International Business news reported that Kraft (Mio manufacturer) is marketing the product for adults only and do not recommend it for kids. I think that the people who are worried about consuming unnatural products and are still looking for a bit of energy should stick to green tea.

Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/kraft-foods-enters-energy-drink-market-caffeine-enhanced-mio-drink-366720

After examining the article featured in the entry, as well as those in the comments, I started to wonder if a third variable could be affecting one's susceptibility to dangerous side effects from consuming energy drinks. Perhaps the reason that the side effects from energy drinks are "heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and cardiac arrest" is because those that drink energy drinks are more likely to be stressed and these symptoms are likely to appear in stressed individuals?

I have used 5hour energy drink before. The first time I tries it, I followed the instructions on the back which said to take half of the bottle and that did absolutely NOTHING for me. It felt like the instant I started studying, I became extremely sleepy. I decided to give 5hr energy one last shot in hopes of it actually working for me this time, but instead of taking half of the bottle, I took the entire thing all at once straight to the head. Now, I don't know just how healthy that is, but I do know that it kept me up all night, and I was able to get tons of work done. The only side effect I felt form the energy drink was a jittery body, aside from that, everything was okay.

This was an interesting article. Energy drinks seem to improve alertness in people who are tired. I'm sure they won't kill you but they'll have a lot of side effects such as feeling jittery, insomnia, not to mention the excessive sugar you'll be consuming from the two servings you're drinking. I think it's bad how these drinks are marketed towards teenagers despite its age recommendation. Energy drinks can lead to caffeine addiction. A study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology revealed that popular energy drinks such as Red Bull and Red Devil included caffeine levels that were higher than the FDA limit for sodas. Caffeine can cause anxiety, panic, and occasionally stomach problems. So I think it'd be better if energy drinks we not drunk, and healthier alternatives, water being the best one, should be taken.

Every type of drug affects people somewhat differently. In this case, people are relying on heavy doses of caffeine in order to keep them energized and awake. I read a study years ago, and was then backed by my high school psychology teacher, which said that energy drinks act like a placebo effect. People feel that if they drink the beverage, then they will stay up. However, if they try to fight the drug somehow, then the brain will turn off its sensitivity to the caffeine, lowering the effect of the energy drink. This will cause people to drink more and more of these drinks, creating an unhealthy habit which could leave to some health issues that were listed in the blog post.

Personally, I never drink energy drinks or coffee. But I have heard that energy drinks can cause major health issues. According to this article that I found, the danger behind energy drinks lies in something called caffeine toxicity, an overdose of caffeine. Also, in my opinion, the whole not sleeping for an extended period of time factor could also contribute to these deaths and is definitely a part of the reason that drinking excessive energy drinks and coffee is dangerous.

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