Energy drinks can promise incentives, but experts are increasingly concerned that their cocktails of ingredients could have unwanted health risks.
A study published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that energy beverages with caffeine changed the electrical activity of the heart and raised blood pressure.
The extent of these electrical changes – indicating that the heart chambers are compressed and relaxed – are generally considered mild, according to the author of the study, Sachin Shahu, professor of pharmacy at the Pharmaceutical and Medical Faculties, Thomas J. Long at the University of the Pacific. However, people who take certain medications or have a specific type of heart disease may be at an increased risk of fatal arrhythmias, or improper heart rate, he added.
"Unlike medicines, supplements to food products and consumer products, they do not have to necessarily be tested for safety," Shah said.
The American Drinking Association stands for the safety of energy drinks, which indicates that many of their ingredients are found in conventional foods and that they are strictly studied for safety.
However, health experts, such as the World Health Organization, say they "can pose a threat to public health." Children do not need to consume them, the US Pediatric Academy warns.
Nevertheless, the global energy drinks market continues to grow. In 2013, it was worth $ 39 billion and is projected to reach $ 61 billion by 2021.
So what exactly is inside these drinks and how they affect your body?
Over the years, worried experts have been increasingly approaching the answers to these questions, said dr. John Higgins, sports cardiologist at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston.
Most energy drinks usually contain large amounts of caffeine; added sugars; vitamins, such as vitamins B; and legal stimulus, such as guarana, a plant that grows in Amazon; taurine, an amino acid that is naturally found in meat and fish; and L-Carnitine, a substance in our bodies that helps to convert grease into energy.
"All in all, the concern is that these vitamins, amino acids and plants are often in higher concentrations than naturally in foods or plants, and effects when combined with caffeine can be increased," Katherine Zeratski, a clinical dietician at the Maio Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota,earlier CNN.
Higgins, who led several studies on energy drinks and health effects, agreed.
They are some kind of black box. We do not really know much about them.
-Dr. John Higgins
With caffeine, sugar and stimulants, Higgins told CNN earlier that more research is needed to determine that these ingredients could affect the negative effects on health.
"They're some sort of black box. We really do not know much about them," Higins said.
"People must be aware of this," he said. "For certain groups, it can be potentially dangerous, such as those younger than 18 years of age, pregnant women, people with caffeine susceptibility, people who do not consume caffeine on a regular basis and people taking certain medications, such as Adderall due to lack of attention (disorders). "
Rachel Hicks, a spokeswoman for the American Drinking Association, has previously issued a statement from the group saying that many people around the world are surely consuming energy drinks for over 25 years.
"Many ingredients of energy drinks, such as vitamins B and taurine, are naturally found in many foods," it said in a statement.
"The fact is that energy drinks have been thoroughly studied and certified as safe for consumption by government security authorities around the world, including a recent overview by the European Food Safety Authority. US leading energy drinks volunteers pass all federal requirements when it comes to responsible labeling and marketing practices, including showing the total caffeine content – from all sources – on their packages, "the statement said." In 2015 EFSA again concluded that it is unlikely that energy drink ingredients, such as taurine, have a negative effect on caffeine or improve the effects of caffeine. "
Here's a look at how certain parts of the body can be affected after swallowing more than the recommended amount of energy drinks, experts say.
After drinking an energy drink, you may notice that the number of heartbeats increases.
Your fast-hearted heart could pose a health risk, as it turned out that energy drinks not only raise the level of stress, increase the number of heartbeats, They increased blood pressure, and it turned out that blood was a bit denser, Higgins said.
The effects that energy drinks can have on the heart and cardiovascular system can be a consequence of the interaction of caffeine with other ingredients, such as taurine, Higgins said.
Taurine, a common amino acid, can affect the level of water and minerals in your blood. Shrimps of guarana, plants from Amazon, are usually added with energy drinks andalready contain caffeine, which can increase the total amount of caffeine in the beverage.
"There were a few cases that described people who became intocardial after consuming more than one energy drink, and when they made some further analysis of these individuals, they failed to find anything abnormal except for a very high level of caffeine and taurine in toxicology, Higgins said.
"In one case, a young 28-year-old who drank eight cans of energy drink actually went into heart failure, and found that his heart arteries were completely closed. When they were able to open them, the test did not reveal anything bad about this person , except for having a high level of caffeine and taurine.
Possible interaction of caffeine with other ingredients in energy drinks can affect the function of your arteries by preventing them from spreading properly, especially during exercise, Higgins said.
"The blood vessels in the heart during exercise should become larger, they expand and become larger so that more blood flow can reach the heart," he said.
However, large amounts of caffeine can affect not only your body, but also your brain.
Depending on how much energy you consume, doses of caffeine equal to or greater than 200 milligrams may be associated with cocaine intoxication, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Health Sciences in 2015. Symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal irritation, muscle twitching, restlessness and a period of inexperience.
"To give you an idea of caffeine-containing products, the Java Monster contains 100 milligrams per serving, 5-hour energy contains 200 milligrams per portion, and keep in mind that it does not include the amount of other stimulants found in energy drinks that can improve effects of caffeine, "said Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, a nutrition specialist and vice president of the nutrition department at the University of California at Davis.
The US military has even warned that soldiers are spending too much energy drinks because it is associated with sleep disorders, which leads to a period of fatigue during the briefing or on the watch.
The members of the service who drank three or more energy drinks daily were more likely to report about four hours of sleep or less, on average, at night than those who drank two or less a day, according to a study conducted in 2010.
The Consortium for Health and Military Performance recommends that members of the service, from sailors to marines, limit caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams every four hours and no more than 800 milligrams per day, according to the Center for Public Health and Navy. .
Some papers and research have linked consumption of energy drinks with an increased risk of symptoms of health problems. However, a review article published in the Journal of Caffeine Research last year suggests that there is insufficient evidence to determine the cause or effect of the effect.
Now that energy drinks become more popular, especially among adolescents, many health professionals are concerned about the impact they may have on young consumers.
Large amounts of caffeine contained in energy beverages are usually the reason why the American Pediatric Academy has recommended that children avoid their consumption.
For adolescents aged 12 to 18, the academy recommends not exceeding 100 milligrams of caffeine per day, CDC says.
The introduction of caffeine greater than 100 milligrams per day is associated with elevated blood pressure in adolescents, said Zidenberg-Cherr earlier to CNN.
Around 1145 Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 were admitted to urgent emergency services in connection with energy drinks in 2007, the CDC said. That number rose to 1,499 in 2011.
As for most adults, it seems that up to 400 milligrams of caffeine is safe daily, according to Maio Clinic.
"Healthy adults who choose to drink energy drinks should not exceed one amount a day," Zeratski of the Maio Clinic said.
Some parents and children may not even be aware of the potential health risks associated with energy drinks due to the way they are sold, says Zidenberg-Cherr.
"There is no regulation of the marketing of energy drinks intended for young people," she said.
Energy drinks are popular among young athletes, especially for additional energy increases. However, the National Federation of State Secondary Schools recommends that they are not used for hydration before, during or after physical activity.
Moreover, a common ingredient in energy drinks, guarana, is mentioned in the NCAA banned drugs list for the period 2016-17, which is delivered online.
Higston, a sports cardiologist from Houston, said that while he was shopping at the store last night on Saturday, he saw a woman with 12 packings of Red Bull. Her son, for whom Higgins said he was about 11 years old and wearing football gear, was standing nearby.
They were waiting in line at the box office.
"She spoke, and the boy said," Oh, yes, our team will really be good today when we have Red Bull at half-time. "I was just thinking, wow, even in our time, we had oranges, bananas, water and juice, and they make energy drinks," Higins said.
"It kind of told me, Mom obviously did not understand that these are not like oranges or bananas or even juices," he said. "This is a completely different beast, and it's part of the confusion people have."
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