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
Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg
New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences