Update: Energy Drinks Worse for your Heart than Caffeine Alone, Study Finds
April 27, 2017 – A new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association (AHA) has linked the side effects of energy drinks to an increased risk for heart problems beyond those seen with caffeine alone. The researchers suspect that the “proprietary blend” of ingredients in commercial energy drinks may prolong caffeine’s activity in the body, prevent it from being excreted, or that these substances “may have activity of their own above and beyond caffeine.”
What’s the Problem?
Many adolescents and young adults use energy drinks to supply a much-needed pep to help get them through their day. However, these highly caffeinated beverages can cause severe cardiac side effects including sudden death, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology (CJS). An international research team led by Dr. Fabian Sanchis-Gomar of Madrid, Spain, said the main concern with energy drinks is that they can easily aggravate underlying heart issues and cause life-threatening arrhythmias in the hearts of the young people who drink them.
Many consumers balk at the amount of caffeine listed on their energy drinks’ labeling; however, the problem is that many additional sources of caffeine are contained in other ingredients such as guarana, ginseng and taurine. Ingesting high doses of any of these substances can be extremely dangerous to your health.
Caffeine Overdose Statistics
According to the CJS study, about one-third of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 consume energy drinks on a regular basis. An even greater number of young consumers use alternatives to these beverages, such as gums or inhalers.
The high amounts of caffeine in these products is a serious health concern, the study found. Of the 5,448 caffeine overdoses reported in the U.S. in 2007, 46% occurred in people under the age of 19.
How to Avoid an Energy Drink Overdose
Dr. Sanchis-Gomar recommended the following guidelines for young people to keep from over-indulging in energy drinks:
- One can (250 mL) of an energy drink per day is safe for most healthy adolescents.
- Avoid consuming energy drinks before or during physical activities.
- Adolescents with underlying medical conditions should talk to their doctor before consuming energy drinks.
- Excessive energy drink consumption together with alcohol or other drugs may lead to adverse health consequences, including sudden death.
Best-Selling Energy Drink Brands
According to Caffeine Informer, in 2013 the top-selling energy drinks in the U.S. were:
CSPI: 34 Energy Drinks Since 2004
At least 34 people have died after consuming energy drinks since 2004, according to the Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI). Most of the deaths have been linked to 5-Hour Energy (22) and Monster (11), with one fatality being connected to Rockstar.
CSPI said the reports do not prove that energy drinks caused the deaths; however, the center has petitioned the FDA to require warning labels on the beverages stating that they can cause severe side effects including high blood pressure, heart attack, convulsions or death.
“As I see in my medical practice, energy drinks are clearly causing symptomatic arrhythmias,” said Dr. Stacy Fisher, director of complex heart diseases at University of Maryland School of Medicine. “These new reports of deaths and other injuries raise the level of concern about the adverse effects of energy drinks.”
Redline Energy Linked to Stroke in Alabama Man
November 29, 2016 – Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have documented a case of stroke linked to Redline Energy Drink. The patient, a 57-year-old man with a history of high blood pressure, reported consuming an 8 oz. bottle of Redline about 15 minutes before suffering a brain bleed that caused tingling and shakiness in his arms and legs.
Study Finds Energy Drinks, Alcohol a Dangerous Combo
March 23, 2017 – A study published in this month’s Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that the risk of injury could be 20 times greater when people drink alcohol mixed with energy drinks. Increased risk of injury was due to intentional behavior, such as violence or attempted suicide, as well as accidental acts such as tripping or car crashes, according to the researchers.
Mother Wants Stricter Regulations Over Sale of Energy Drinks After Son’s Death
February 27, 2017 – A Florida mom who claims her 19-year-old son died after drinking just a half can of Monster Extra Strength is calling for tighter regulations over the sale and use of energy drinks by kids. Cheryl James is campaigning for the drinks to carry a warning for people who have heart problems, and also for there to be an age limit on purchasing the beverages, making it illegal for anyone under 21 to buy.
Father Claims Monster Energy Killed his Son
January 17, 2017 – A 19-year-old man allegedly died from a heart attack after consuming more than 3 cans of Monster Energy Drink, according to a lawsuit filed by his father. Dustin Hood died in 2015 after suffering cardiac arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. His father claims in the lawsuit that Monster Energy Drink killed the teenager due to caffeine overload.
Army Issues Warning on Energy Drink Side Effects
January 5, 2017 – The U.S. military is warning troops not to consume too many energy drinks, saying it could do “some serious harm to your body.” A post on the pentagon’s official science blog last week details the health risks of energy drinks, citing a study which found that soldiers were more likely to fall asleep on duty if they consumed multiple beverages a day.
Man’s Energy Drink Habit Led to Hepatitis, Study Finds
November 4, 2016 – A man who binged on energy drinks for three weeks developed acute hepatitis due to excess vitamin B3 consumption, according to a recent study published in BMJ Case Reports. The patient, a previously healthy 50-year-old man, reported experiencing malaise and anorexia, which progressed to nausea and vomiting after drinking 4 to 5 energy drinks per day at his construction job. A subsequent liver biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of acute hepatitis.
Study Links Energy Drinks to Traumatic Brain Injury in Teens
A study published in the September 16 online edition of PLOS ONE has identified a link between the consumption of energy drinks by teenage athletes and traumatic brain injury, or TBI. The researchers found that teens who reported suffering a TBI in the past year were 7 times more likely to report consuming at least 5 energy drinks in the previous week than teens who did not have a brain injury. Click here to learn more.
Vermont College Bans Energy Drink Sales due to Alcohol Abuse, High-Risk Sex
February 29, 2016 – Middlebury College in Vermont has banned energy drink sales on campus, saying they contribute to “problematic behavior,” including alcohol abuse and high-risk sexual activity. NBC News reports the college stated the beverages don’t contribute to the dining service’s mission to “nourish” students.
Just One Energy Drink May Increase Heart Risks, Study Says
November 8, 2015 – Consuming a single energy drink can cause short-term changes in healthy adults that could increase their risk of heart disease over time, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study found significant increases in both systolic blood pressure and norepinephrine levels among energy drink consumers. Click here to learn more.
Do I Have an Energy Drink Class Action Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Energy Drink Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by energy drink side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a class action suit and our lawyers can help.