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Energy Drinks: The Hidden Dangers

written by: Deb Killion • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 10/3/2013

Energy drinks are popular with adults, teens and tweens. Filled with caffeine and sugar, they can give you a quick burst of energy, but there have been numerous health risks reported. Learn why you should be especially cautious if your child is consuming energy drinks.

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    Hidden Dangers of Energy Drinks There has been a lot of talk lately about the side effects of energy drinks and “extra caffeine" drinks. With more and more kids opting to drink these for a “quick boost" of energy before athletic events or other times, it has become a highly controversial topic. We have all heard of the isolated incidents, involving young people who seemed perfectly healthy who have a heart problem right after drinking these high energy drinks. But is there any evidence regarding this? Here are some facts about high energy drinks you should know:

    1) Disturbed Heart Rhythms: High energy drink effects can often include a dangerous disturbed heart rhythm and high blood pressure, according to new research presented at an American Heart Association conference this past spring. (Medical Daily, March 2013)

    2) Elevated Blood Pressure: Not only are people affected who are regular caffeine drinkers, but it seems to have an increased detrimental effect on those who rarely drink caffeine to begin with. Most high energy drinks have a much higher concentration of caffeine than a regular cup of coffee, so people who are not used to this level of caffeine may react negatively.

    3) Breast Shrinkage: A strange effect linked to some uses of high energy drinks include breast shrinkage in females. It is not yet known exactly what ingredient causes this, but it has been observed in some who consume above average amounts.

    4) Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Many people reported an upset stomach upset after drinking some of the high energy drinks, which is not surprising considering the mix of carbonated water, sugar, caffeine and other ingredients.

    5) Dizziness, Irritability, Nausea, Nervousness: Many people reported an increase in central nervous system reactions, including anxiety and increased agitation or apprehensiveness.

    6) Allergic Reactions: Some reported rash, itching, difficulty breathing, trouble sleeping, and other symptoms after drinking the high energy substances.

    7) Headache and Fatigue: An increase in headache and general fatigue were observed in many.

    8) B Vitamin Reactions: An excessive amount of B3 vitamin (Niacin) can cause flushing of the skin and may result in liver toxicity. Many of these drinks have high levels of ingredients.

    These are just some of the long list of symptoms documented by users of high-energy drinks. While we do not claim that all energy drinks will produce these symptoms, there has been plenty of evidence among consumers of some energy drinks to suggest that they are all capable of producing such symptoms, or similar symptoms, especially when taken in excess.

    Most of the research regarding the overall long term effects of energy drinks is still out for deliberation. But there is no doubt you should use extreme caution when drinking them. Of particular concern are young people, especially children, who drink high energy drinks, and then push themselves harder in athletic activities or other events. The already supercharged state of the chemistry in these drinks may form a lethal combination with heart irregularities when engaging in strenuous activities after drinking them.

    Know your child and what they are eating or drinking at all times, and look into the safety of such high caffeine drinks, which have many untested chemicals and other ingredients in them which may not be safe for everyone. The main problem with these types of drinks is that they are still new on the market and have yet to be tested over the long term.

    Read up on the effects for yourself and then you can make an informed decision on whether you think your child should drink them or not.

References

Nutrition and Academic Performance

Children who eat breakfast and have other healthy eating habits have been shown to actually perform better in school. Learn why this is so important and get tips to get your kid eating healthier today.
  1. The Link Between Nutrition and Academic Performance
  2. Boost Your Child's Brain Power With These Power Foods
  3. The Dangers of Junk Food for Young Students
  4. Energy Drinks: The Hidden Dangers