Our world is going faster and faster. So, modern man does not have enough time to relax. Advertising market offers many artificial substitutes, which enable us to regenerate and reduce our fatigue, without any rest. Energy drinks, intended for people who engage increased intellectual, psychical or short-term physical effort, are extremely popular these days. Because of their composition of carbohydrates, caffeine, electrolytes and other substances, they accelerate normal metabolism, improve the efficiency of human body and increase the concentration. However, uncontrolled drinking of this kind of liquids may lead to dangerous health consequences. Let’s look at the potential risks of energy drinks consuming.
Children, adolescents and young adults
There is no doubt that those three groups are the main target for energy drinks producers. Vivid colors of bottles and cans and aggressive advertising campaigne – all of this is designed to attract attention of youth. If you drink energy drinks, you are stronger and faster, you are trendy. This type of strategy pays off. According to the newest studies, 30% to 50% of pediatric population regularly consume energy drinks. The researches revealed, that it is not neutral for their health.
Children are much more exposed on the higher doses of caffeine, one of the main ingredients of energy drink. There is no limit in the content of caffeine in energy drink container, therefore it might exceed safe norms, which are 2,5 mg/kg for children and 100 mg\kg for adolescents . It may lead to caffeine intoxication. Its symptoms are connected with antagonism to the adenosine receptors. Clinically overdose of caffeine results in agitation, tachycardia and arrhythmia, nausea, emesis, seizures, psychotic conditions . We have to be aware that the content of caffeine given on the label is sustained by substances such a mateine from yerba mate or guaranine from guarane , which often are the additives to the energy drinks. Furthermore, scientists found correlation between energy drinks consuming and worse bone mineralization during adolescense. Another case is that big amount of sugar in energy drinks may cause obesity, hyperglycemia, teeth decay and lower self-esteem.
Excessive consuming of the energy liquids may end up in hospital, because of the adverse outcomes, connected with caffeine intoxication, such as liver damage, kidney failure respiratory disorders, cardiac dysfunction, psychiatric and neurological disorders and even death. What is more, substances contained in energy drinks may interfere with drugs taken by people suffering from different diseases. They also may increase the symptoms of e.g. hypertension. But the biggest problem is, by far, the alcohol and its interactions with caffeine. It concerns not only adults, but increasingly often also youth and even children. In some countries very popular are drinks mixed with vodka and energy liquids, which may be very dangerous. Caffeine acts contrary to the sedative effects of alcohol, therefore you don’t feel that you are drunk, meanwhile the judgment, motor skills ant time of reaction are still impaired. It may lead to wrong choices and risk behavior, often ending up tragically . Very interesting are studies, concentrated on the positive correlation between the regular energy drink consumption and alcohol dependence.
The market of energy drinks is still expanding. The amount of consumers increasingly rise, while their average of age drops. Because the reports from all over the world confirm negative influence of energy drinks on our health, it is crucial to apply certain precautions. Firstly, maximum safe doses of caffeine must be determined. Furthermore, we have to know the long-term using consequences. Before that, it might be helpful to enter some sale restrictions to avoid uncontrolled consumption of energy drinks . American Academy of Pediatrics published recommendations regarding sport and energy drinks. They are related to patient and his parents education about negative consequences of energy drinks. Knowledge about the toxicity of this type of liquid may be a way to protect us and our children from its harmful influence on our organism.