Monday Sep 29, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- A review
published in Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found caffeine and
sugar, but not other ingredients present in energy drinks may cause a variety
of adverse health effects.
The review by Clauson KA and colleagues at Nova Southeastern
University in Palm Beach Gardens, Florid covered studies published between 1980
and Sep 2007.
Most energy drinks studied contain natural products such
as guarana, ginseng, and taurine.
products studied including Cocaine, Pimp Juice, Red Bull and Spike Shooter contained
caffeine at a dose anywhere between 80 and 300 mg and 35 grams of processed
sugar per 8-ounce serving.
Ingredients such as taurine, ginseng and guarana used in
the amount in energy drinks were not found to have any side effect.
However, caffeine, the major ingredient of energy drinks was
associated with adverse effects including insomnia, nervousness, headache, and
One adverse effect is commonly known as caffeine
intoxication and it could occur when more than 300 mg is ingested depending
upon body weight and levels of caffeine tolerance.
Caffeine intoxication may include symptoms like restlessness,
nervousness, excitement, insomnia, flushing of the face, increased urination,
gastrointestinal disturbance, muscle twitching, a rambling flow of thought and
speech, irritability, irregular or rapid heartbeat, and psychomotor agitation,
according to wikipedia.
The worst cases reported were four caffeine-associated deaths
and four separate cases of seizures associated with consumption of energy
drinks, according to the review study.
The authors concluded that the amounts of guarana,
taurine and ginseng used in energy drinks were below the levels that are
expected to have therapeutic benefits or adverse events, but caffeine and sugar
in the drinks could cause a range of adverse health effects.
Caffeine is a bitter xanthine alkaloid that acts as a psychoactive
stimulant drug and a mild diuretic--speed up urine production-- in humans and
Caffeine is not just used in energy drinks.
It can be present in other food and beverages
such as tea, coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks.
The problem with caffeine in energy drinks if any could
be the amount of caffeine, which varies greatly from brand to brand and it can
be anywhere between 50 mg and 505 mg per can or bottle, according to Reissig
CJ, Strain EC, and Griffiths RR at the Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine who recently published a report in Drug and Alcohol Dependence calling
for warning labels for energy drinks due to the large amount of caffeine.
Ingestion of too much caffeine in forms of energy drinks
or otherwise could potentially cause some adverse effects that are important,
yet unknown to many people including anxiety, sleep disorders, Parkinson's
disease, and effect on memory and learning, on the heart, children and pregnant
women, according to wikipedia.
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