Most energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine, which can provide a temporary energy boost. Some energy drinks contain sugar and other substances. However, this energy boost is short-lived and can be accompanied by other problems. For example, energy drinks that contain sugar can contribute to weight gain, and too much caffeine, or caffeine-like substances, can lead to:
– rapid heart rate
– an increase in blood pressure.
Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can be even more problematic. Energy drinks can lessen the feeling of drunkenness, which can lead to more drinking and alcohol-related injuries. For most people, the occasional energy drink is fine, but the amount of caffeine can vary from product to product. Try to limit yourself to no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day from all sources.
Energy drinks not recommended for these people
Energy drinks are not recommended for children and adolescents. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may want to avoid or limit the consumption of these beverages. If you have an underlying condition such as heart disease or high blood pressure, ask your doctor if energy drinks can cause complications.
If you’re constantly tired or exhausted, consider healthier ways to boost your energy. Get enough sleep, incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, and eat a healthy diet. If these strategies don’t seem to help, see your doctor. Sometimes fatigue is a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as hypothyroidism or anemia.
Taurine: a super amino acid?
Taurine, an important amino acid in several metabolic processes in the body, is said to have antioxidant properties. But little is known about the long-term effects of taking taurine as a supplement. Taurine is found naturally in meat, fish, dairy products and breast milk, and is also available as a dietary supplement. Although research is mixed, some studies suggest that taurine supplementation may improve athletic performance. And, in one study, people with congestive heart failure who took taurine supplements three times a day for two weeks showed improved exercise capacity.
Other studies suggest that taurine combined with caffeine improves mental performance. However, more research is needed and this finding remains controversial, as does the use of taurine in energy drinks. Remember that energy drinks may contain high amounts of other ingredients, such as herbal stimulants, caffeine, or sugar.
Svatlkova A, et al. A randomized trial of cardiovascular responses to energy drink consumption in healthy adults. JAMA. 2015;314:2079.
Arria AM, et al. Energy drink use patterns among young adults: Associations with drunk driving. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research. 2016;40:2456.
Wassef B, et al. Effects of energy drinks on the cardiovascular system. World Journal of Cardiology. 2017;9:796.
Seifert SM, et al. Health effects of energy drinks on children, adolescents, and young adults. Pediatrics. 2011;127:511.
Taurine. Micromedex 2.0 Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed Dec. 12, 2017.
Energy drinks. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/energy-drinks. Accessed Dec. 12, 2017.