Energy Drinks Can Cause Health Problems

Noble McIntyre on July 28, 2015

dangers of energy drinks Photo Source

What are energy drinks?

An energy drink is a legal, non-alcoholic beverage that is available in many supermarkets, convenience stores and other places where you would purchase beverages like soda or juice. These drinks contain large doses of caffeine, along with other stimulants like guarana and ginseng.

One 16-ounce energy drink can contain up to 200 milligrams of caffeine. One serving of Coca-Cola has 34 milligrams of caffeine, Mountain Dew has 55 milligrams and the average cup of coffee has about 95 milligrams for a cup. That means that a single 16-ounce energy drink likely has about double the caffeine of a cup of coffee. For an adult, that might be okay, but the Mayo Clinic recommends that adults consume less than 500 mg of caffeine in the course of a day. So, for children and teens who consume energy drinks, the amount of caffeine is far too much to be safe. Even for adults who take in too much caffeine can experience insomnia, tremors, abdominal pain, anxiety and irritability, and for children the effects are far worse.

What are the other energy drink ingredients?

Energy drink ingredients can include several teaspoons of sugar; vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12; taurine; sodium; guaranine; carnitine; inositol; maltodextrin and glucuronolactone. These chemicals are not necessarily dangerous individually, but together, they can give your body far more stimulant intake than it can handle.

As you probably know, food and drugs are strictly regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. But, these energy drinks label their ingredients as “dietary supplements”, rather than food, which means that they are not required to be regulated by the FDA. They don’t even need to label exactly how much caffeine the products contain. We also don’t know what effect the combination of stimulant ingredients has on the body.

One of the main issues with energy drinks is that they are marketed to people engaging in extreme sports – to be consumed at times when you need a burst of energy. Some consumers see these drinks on the supermarket shelves alongside Gatorade or Powerade and think it’s the same kind of thing, but it’s actually the opposite. Gatorade and Powerade are designed to rehydrate your body by bringing electrolytes back into your system once you’ve sweated them out. They are ideal—arguably better than water—to keep your body hydrated on a hot day or during exertion. Caffeine-based energy drinks have the opposite effect. These have what’s called a diuretic effect, so that they cause the body to lose water, which could cause a person to become dehydrated.

Who should avoid energy drinks?

Really, energy drinks are not good for anyone. You should specifically avoid consuming an energy drink if you are:

  • exercising;
  • drinking alcohol;
  • pregnant or breastfeeding;
  • with a pre-existing heart condition; and
  • under the age of 18.

These drinks have been linked to both heart and neurological problems, along with issues regarding mental health and substance abuse in teens. The CDC has suggested that caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol (which means that the alcohol is essentially “covered up”, but not that it helps you sober up faster), which increases the likelihood of binge drinking.

Energy drinks could cause heart abnormalities and neurological effects like seizures, though more research is underway to determine exactly why and how.

If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered harm after consuming a energy drink, the experienced attorneys at McIntyre Law are on the case. We’re working to get clients the compensation they deserve from having suffered as a result of these companies’ failing to warn consumers of the drinks’ risks. If you think you might have a case, contact us today for a free consultation. We want to hear from you!

Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law who focuses primarily on drug litigation and catastrophic injury cases. He is currently representing clients injured by the drugs Paxil, Levaquin and testosterone therapy drugs and by clients affected by oil field injuries. His goal has and continues to be to work diligently on behalf of his clients to achieve the highest and best result for his clients’ injuries while maintaining professionalism and abiding by all ethical standards of his profession. Read more about Noble McIntyre.

One response to “Energy Drinks Can Cause Health Problems”

  • Charlene
    September 3, 2015

    Have you seen any cases re: energy drinks and dehydration? I have a 20 year old son who has been to the Er 3x since his senior year in high school d/t dehydration. He plays football and drinks energy drinks. He's had work ups and they all come out ok except his kidney levels are elevated. I think he's becoming dehydrated from drinking the energy drinks. I would love to see energy drinks have more regulations esp towards teens/ young adults. Thank you for your time.

    Reply to Charlene's comment.

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