The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have warned about health threats posed by energy drinks, especially if they are consumed in large amounts. Because these beverages contain so much caffeine, they can cause severe problems related to heart rhythm, blood flow, and blood pressure.

Research has shown that energy drinks can disrupt sleep patterns, anxiety and even lead to dehydration, according to the NIH. Life-threatening health conditions can be avoided by being cautious when consuming these drinks or by not ingesting them at all.

The University of Maryland’s Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy said that the drinks contain large amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners compared to sodas and soft drinks, as reported by Fox News.

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Energy drinks also contain taurine, an amino acid which aids the effects of caffeine. Guarana, kola nuts and yerba mate are other ingredients that stimulate caffeine, the center said.

Children are particularly vulnerable to caffeine and should never consume energy drinks, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics. Those at the highest risk include kids with still-developing cardiovascular and nervous systems.

And those college students who like to mix alcohol with energy drinks should consider the serious risks such habits pose to their health. This mix can hinder adults’ awareness of their intoxication levels, which leads about 25 percent of them to drink significantly more than others who don’t mix the drinks, the NIH has informed.

Villanova University recommends healthy alternatives to stay energized without the consumption of energy drinks. Experts say people should eat a balanced breakfast and consume foods that contain soy. To stay hydrated and energized at the same time, they recommend drinking water and green tea.

Energy drinks consumption in the U.S.

A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Healthy Sciences revealed that consumption of energy drinks has steadily and alarmingly increased in the last 20 years, particularly among teenagers and young adults.

Energy drinks contain too much of a legal substance
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About 30 percent of young people regularly consume them, making energy drinks the second most common dietary supplement in the U.S. among young adults, the researchers found.

But energy drinks can lead to severe health issues and even death. In fact, a teenager died last April after consuming too much caffeine in a short period of time. He drank a cafe latte from McDonald’s and an energy drink over the course of just two hours. He later passed away at Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital.

The excessive amount of caffeine caused a cardiac event that led to arrhythmia, as reported by Fox News.

“Davis, like so many other kids and so many other people out there today, was doing something (he) thought was totally harmless, and that was ingesting lots of caffeine,” Coroner Gary Watts said in a news conference, Fox News reported. “We lost Davis from a totally legal substance.”

The research published in the International Journal of Healthy Sciences concluded that energy drinks have harmful health consequences despite their beneficial effects on physical performance. The study authors said in the paper that marketing of these products should be “limited or forbidden” until further research proves that they are safe.

Source: Fox News