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Are energy drinks dangerous?

Tod Cooperman, MD
Health Education

Many people turn to energy drinks for a quick "pick-me-up." In this video, consumer healthcare specialist Tod Cooperman, MD, weighs in on whether energy drinks are dangerous.

They come in a slick can and are marketed to increase stamina, concentration, weight loss and even improve athletic performance. Some energy drinks provide more than double the amount of caffeine as in your morning java. In the wrong hands and in the wrong amounts, this "jolt in a can" is anything but slick.

According to research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in an article in Pediatrics, as many as 30 to 50 percent of consumers drinking these energy beverages are children, adolescents and young adults.
Excessive amounts of caffeine can cause jitters, anxiety, a rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, seizures and even death. There have been reports of middle school age consumers who had to be taken to a hospital with many of the above symptoms and a teenager who even died after consuming multiple servings of an energy drink. In fact, over 45 percent of the reported cases of caffeine-overdose occur in individuals under the age of 19.

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Joane Goodroe
Nursing
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Researchers think energy drinks can bring health risks linked to caffeine overdoses to kids, teens and young adults. The researchers say many energy drinks have about three times the caffeine in a cola, some have far more, and caffeine doesn’t have to be listed on the label.

Their review of medical literature links energy drinks to conditions such as seizures and heart problems, and says some young people are especially vulnerable. At the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, researcher Steven Lipshultz says the drinks don’t help and can hurt: "My personal feeling is that children and teenagers and young adults should be discouraged from using this.’’

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.