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Cocktail of death: Top 13 Ingredients in energy drinks

There are many energy drinks out there, such as Red Bull, Rock Star, Full Throttle, and Monster. These all contain large doses of caffeine and other stimulants like guarana and ginseng.  If an energy drink advertises that it has no caffeine, then the energy comes from guarana, which is the equivalent of caffeine.The ingredients in energy drinks might not be as toxic on their own, but when they are combined together, they can be 10 times more potent and toxic. Here are the top ingredients that are found in energy dinks:

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1. Stimulants like caffeine and guarana: Energy drinks all contain large doses of caffeine and other stimulants like guarana and ginseng. The stimulants like caffeine can cause high blood pressure, heart palpitation, gastrointestinal disturbance (diarrhea), dizziness, irritability, nausea, nervousness, Headache and severe fatigue from withdrawal, allergic reactions (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, diarrhea, vomiting, asthma, swelling, …), dehydration and increase urination and even death.

2. Ginseng: Taking Ginseng on its own according to instructions from your physician is safe, but when combined with caffeine and other stimulants can cause low blood pressure, edema, palpitations, headache, insomnia, fever, appetite suppression, and miscarriage. Please consult with your family physician before adding ginseng to your regular diet and avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine as much as possible while taking ginseng supplements.

3. Ginkgo Biloba: Studies show that Ginkgo Biloba can be beneficial if taken in right dosage and according to your physician's instruction. The study by university of Maryland Medical Center shows that Ginkgo Biloba can promote healthy brain, help treat dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) and enhance blood circulation. Many of these so-called energy drinks have gained popularity by promoting the benefits of herbal ingredients such as ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba. However, according to many research and studies, no matter how beneficial these herbs are, they should be taken in recommended dosage and should not be combined with other ingredients such as caffeine and sugar. In fact, these herbs can be toxic if they are not taken in recommended dosage or are combined with other toxic ingredients in energy drinks. RockStar drink made a big headlined in 2012, when they got a warning from FDA about the unsafe use of Ginkgo in their drinks. 

4. Large amount of sugar: to be profitable, most energy drinks add cheap crappy sugar, or processed sugar coming from GMO corn, in form of high fructose corn syrup. These energy drink companies use deceptive labeling such as “natural cane juice” or “glucose”, but the truth is that white processed sugar, in specific, high fructose corn syrup have been linked to variety of health issues such as tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Click here to find more about toxic high fructose corn syrup.

energy drinks fatally caffeinated5. Taurine: Countries such as France, Denmark and Norway have originally banned energy drinks because of taurine. Besides, other potential harms, taurine can cause dangerously low levels of blood pressure. According to globalhealingcenter.com, in a study, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York say they were “surprised” to find taurine “extraordinarily active” on brain receptors. The researchers discovered that taurine works deep inside the brain, in the “regulatory” area of the thalamus, interacting with neurotransmitters. The author of the study Dr. Harrison says "Remarkably little is known about the effects of energy drinks on the brain. We can't even be sure how much of the taurine in the drink actually reaches the brain! Assuming that some of it does get absorbed, the taurine -- which, if anything, seems to have a sedating effect on the brain -- may actually play a role in the 'crash' people often report after drinking these highly caffeinated beverages. People have speculated that the post-Red Bull low was simply a caffeine rebound effect, but it might also be due to the taurine content."

Also, according to JK fitness blog, “on average, most people will intake anywhere from 40-400 mg of taurine per day through food products. The RDA of taurine is 2-6 grams per day (that is 2000-6000 mg per day).  One can of Monster energy drink can have up to 2000 mg of taurine. 

6. B vitamins: The excessive intake of vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 can have severe side effects on health.  Excessive amount of vitamin B3 can cause itchy or dry skin, gastrointestinal problems, liver toxicity, hyperglycemia, heart arrhythmias, hyperuricemia, and blurred vision. Excessive amount of vitamin B6 can lead to can lead to skin lesion, burning sensation and nervous problems. Here are the limits of vitamin B3 and vitamin B6:

7. Excessive amount of vitamin B3: According to JK fitness blog, based on the Food & Nutrition Board – Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of niacin is 14-16 mg/day and the maximum tolerable upper level daily intake of niacin is 35 mg from all sources like supplements, drugs, and fortified food. The “Monster” energy drink has 40 mg of niacin (B3) and if you drink one Monster a day, you’ve reached the Institute of Medicine’s limit for niacin intake.

8. Excessive amount of vitamin B6: According to JK fitness blog, The Food & Nutrition Board – Institute of Medicine has set the RDA of B6 at 1-2 mg per day and the maximum tolerable upper level limit of B6 consumption at 100 mg/day from all sources.  However, Monster energy drink has 4 mg per can and it exceeds the limits set by the Institute of Medicine.

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9. Inositol: Excessive amount of Inositol also known as vitamin B8 can cause symptoms such as Depression, Hair Loss, insomnia, panic attacks, BiPolar disorder, mental illnesses and diarrhea.

10. Artificial sweeteners: Not only the fat-free and sugar-free drinks that you have been consuming won’t help you lose weight, they also cause a verity of health problems and symptoms such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Click here to find more about the toxicity of artificial sweeteners  like aspartame, Acesulfame potassium (can cause cancer), sucralose and saccharin.  

11. L-Carnitine: L-Carnitine is a compound that is found in red meat and energy drinks. L-Carnitine has been linked to cardiovascular disease, headaches, vomiting and nausea.

12. L-theanine: L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and energy drinks. Many studies have shown that drinking green and herbal tea can have many benefits, so the energy drink companies are taking advantage of green tea benefits and labeling “green tea extract” on their products. However, L-theanine can be useful in green or herbal tea but might not be as beneficial when it’s combined with other ingredients in energy drinks.

13. Combing energy drinks with alcohol: Alcohol and energy drinks work against each other. Alcohol is a depressant and energy drinks are a stimulant. The combination of effects may be dangerous since it will mask your body from telling you what is really going on inside your body. There won’t be any signals from your body to inform you until, on occasions, it is too late.

In summary, if you have a history of irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart conditions or heart problems, or seizures or if you are pregnant, it’s best to stay away from consuming energy drinks – and even coffee, caffeine tea, and alcohol for that matter.  Any person, regardless of their health status, can be at risk of major side effects of these so-called energy drinks. Consumption of these drinks in addition to alcohol simply exasperates the danger and risk to your health. Finally, there is no place for energy drinks in the diet of a child or adolescent. 

Resources:

http://www.energyfiend.com/energy-drink-side-effects

http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-food/energy-drinks-health-risks.php

 

 

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