Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Energy Drinks – Busting Your Health for the Buzz

23.09.2008
Through the Institute for Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical Society, two physicians take a close look at energy drinks and provide their thoughts on how these drinks impact the human body.

Energy drinks: They're readily accessible, legal, and potentially addictive. They claim to improve performance, increase concentration, and stimulate metabolism, yet these highly caffeinated, sugar-laden beverages are causing considerable concern among health professionals.

Excessive caffeine has been linked to elevated heart rates, hypertension, anxiety, headaches, and interrupted sleep patterns. Some energy drinks warn that they're not for use by individuals younger than 18, those pregnant or nursing, or if there's a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, caffeine-sensitivity, glaucoma, and other ailments. But most carry no warning.

A recent statewide Patient Poll conducted by the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Institute for Good Medicine found that:

• 20 percent of respondents ages 21-30 had used energy drinks in high school or college to stay awake longer to study or write a paper.

• 70 percent of respondents knew someone who had used an energy drink to stay awake longer to study or work.

A cup of brewed coffee has between 80 and 135 milligrams of caffeine. Some energy drinks contain two to three times that amount plus the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of sugar.

Growing children and teens beware

"My colleagues and I are seeing more patients coming in with sleep disturbances, often caused by energy drinks," notes Philadelphia family physician and Chair of the Philadelphia Assembly, PA Academy of Family Physicians, Suzanne Steele, MD. Dr. Steele feels that most people should not be drinking these beverages, especially growing children.

"They can often be harmful. Energy drinks contribute to sleep disturbances, obesity, tooth decay, and dehydration. Children should be drinking milk instead to strengthen their growing bones. We're looking at a generation that will have serious problems with osteoporosis based on a lack of calcium intake and obesity from too much sugar. Brittle bones and too much weight on them just spells trouble."

Dr. Steele also cautions that if you have an undiagnosed heart condition, you could be risking your life by consuming so much caffeine. Additionally, combining alcohol and/or anti-depressants with energy drinks can be hazardous. "If you need an energy boost, eat a complex carbohydrate like organic trail mix or a spoonful of peanut butter and a glass of water. Increase your energy level slowly and safely, not with a caffeine/sugar rush."

Running on Empty

Elevated caffeine poses particular risks for athletes, according to Pittsburgh pediatrician Anthony Kovatch, MD, who runs regularly.

"In the humid heat of summer, you often hear of high school athletes having adverse effects," Dr. Kovatch says, cautioning that while some athletes consider energy drinks as performance boosters, they may in fact do the reverse. "If you drink this stuff because you’re hot, you’re defeating the purpose. Not only does caffeine raise your heart rate, it’s a diuretic. It increases the kidney's disposal of fluid from the body. You’re likely to go to the bathroom more often, which is a problem in the middle of any sporting event. And you may think you are getting hydrated, but instead, you're getting dehydrated. And that can be dangerous.”

Dr. Kovatch urges parents and coaches to discourage the use of energy drinks. “The level of caffeine in these drinks can be better tolerated by an adult body, but not in children and teens. If you’re getting ready for a sporting event, you’re already pumped up and the additional buzz can make you hyper, and then you lose your focus.”

Energy drink alternatives?

Drs. Steele and Kovatch suggest the following alternatives to energy drinks:

• Low fat milk
• Water, but not flavored waters. Try lemon and honey, or mint leaves in water.
• Diluted fruit juice
• Vegetable juice
For more information about the dangers of caffeine and energy drinks, visit http://www.myfamilywellness.org.

Chuck Moran | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.pamedsoc.org
http://www.myfamilywellness.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin
24.01.2017 | Carlos III University of Madrid

nachricht Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>