Why Energy Drinks are Causing Health Concerns

Lately we’re hearing a lot about record numbers of people suffering health problems due to the consumption of energy drinks. It’s surprising how something as seemingly innocuous as a can full of vitamins, sugar, and caffeine can be harmful, but it’s happening and in record numbers.

Just last October, the FDA received reports of five deaths that were directly linked to Monster Energy drinks, the popular energy drink that contains over 150 mg of caffeine in a 16 ounce can. That’s in addition to 13 deaths over a four year period suspected to be related to the use of 5-Hour Energy, an energy shot containing caffeine and vitamin B12.

These statistics are definitely frightening, but they lead to a couple of interesting questions: Why are energy drinks safe for some people and not for others, and how can you tell which category you’re in? At last experts have finally uncovered what they believe is the reason that energy drinks kill.

Scientists at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., analyzed previously gathered data on the effect of energy drinks on heart health of healthy adults ages 18 to 45. The researchers were particularly interested in the data on the participants’ QT interval (the time that it takes for the electrical wave in the heart to reset between beats, as measured with an EKG) in 93 people who drank between one and three cans of energy drinks. What they found was alarming.

Their findings were that energy drinks definitely affect the human heart. Participants in the study had an average increase in systolic blood pressure of 3.5 points in 132 participants. More alarming were the QT intervals, which were 10 milliseconds longer than those who abstained. According to experts, any delay at all in QT intervals increases the risk of heart troubles.

If you find yourself facing a mid-afternoon slump that calls for an energy boost, why not try something to give you a push without stressing your heart? There are all kinds of ways to wake up without resorting to highly unregulated energy drinks.

Natural and safe energy boosts:

A glass of water. One of the body’s first signs of dehydration is sleepiness. A cool drink of water might be all you need to feel more alert.

A quick stretch. A few stretches and deep breaths can have better results than a can of sugary caffeine. 

A cup of coffee. Believe it or not, most nutritional experts say that a good old cup of Joe is safe and may even provide you with health benefits.

The bottom line when it comes to energy drinks is to be cautious. If you must imbibe, you should never mix cold medication or alcohol with energy drinks. And, of course, if you suffer from high blood pressure or a heart murmur, you should forego energy drinks completely. Talk to your physician, chiropractor or nutritionist to see if they have any alternatives to energy drinks.

Story credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/25/energy-drinks-heart-risk_n_2950486.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

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