Drinks Guide  

Energy Drinks Are Not Good For Your Health
By Susan L Morris

Are you drinking energy drinks? If so, it's not for your health.

Energy drinks are carbonated drinks that have large amounts of caffeine and sugar with additional doses of Vitamin B, taurine ( amino acids), and guarana. Since last year more than 1000 cases of overdoses and side effects from energy drinks have been reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. These side effects include irritability, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, seizures, and strokes. These drinks promote dehydration and so should not be mixed with exercise or alcohol.

Many energy drinks are

heavy with sugar, the highest contains 58 grams of sugar for a 17 oz serving, that's equivalent to 3 candy bars. Caffeine in these drinks range from 10 mg to 160 mg per container. However, if guarana is one of the ingredients, its additional caffeine content is usually not included in the total.

Guarana is from a shrub native to Venezuela and is the highest source of caffeine - 3 times the amount of coffee. Studies have found that guarana in low doses (37.5 - 75 mg) has a positive effect on memory, mood, and alertness. Guarana is used in 2 of the top 10 energy drinks, one has 25 mg and the other 600 mg. large doses of guarana has been associated with a heart rhythm abnormality. Symptoms of guarana overdose include difficulty in urinating, vomiting, and abdominal cramps and spasms. You should get immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms after using a product with guarana.

Taurine is an amino acid that supports neurological development and helps regulate the level of water and mineral salts in the blood. It is also thought to have antioxidant properties. This supplement is generally considered safe up to 3000 mg per day. 3 of the top 10 energy drinks contain 2000 mg of taurine, 3 others contain 1000 mg. However, a study which compared a caffeine drink with taurine, one with just caffeine, and a placebo found that the caffeine and taurine combination increased in stroke volume, which is the amount of blood that is ejected every heart beat. There have not been enough studies about the combination of ingredients to really know the effects.

The Vitamin B that is added gives the appearance that these drinks are healthy. Of the top 10 the highest amount of Vitamin B is 10 mg of B6 and 5 micrograms (one millionth) of Vitamin B 12. The daily adult requirements for these vitamins are 1.3 mg for Vitamin B6 and 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B 12. The upper tolerable amount for Vitamin B6 is 100 mg per day and an overdose can cause neuropathy. There are no toxic levels established for Vitamin B12. Lower doses of B Vitamins in energy drinks have little effect on health.


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