Energy drinks, whether they are the little bottles or the huge cans, are big sellers. They are often used for those who don’t/won’t get enough sleep. Perhaps it’s studying for a test or spending more time with friends. How can a simple drink be a problem?
Energy Drinks and Alcohol: At first, these drinks were sold in the supermarket. They were very popular, but two problems came up. The first is that many of these products looked like a benign children’s drink. Then the reports of problems began to come in.
The mixture sends mixed signals to your brain. The stimulant affect of the drink makes you think you aren’t impaired. You don’t *feel* impaired. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. So, what happens if you mix the two? One of them is the possibility of alcohol poisoning. Another is a real risk for an accident or ticket for DUI. These drinks have been pulled from the market, but that does not stop them from being consumed in this manner…all you have to do is add alcohol.
Death Investigations: Before you feel relieved that you only use the drinks, beware. At least five deaths are being investigated as being from consumption of these beverages. This is not surprising. There are several possible ways these beverages could be dangerous.
Why? First off, they are often used to avoid sleep. Sleep is necessary, not a luxury. When you feel tired/fatigued, your body is telling you it needs rest. Guzzling a drink to stay awake is harmful, because you aren’t getting the amount of sleep you need to stay healthy.
There is also the caffeine content. While it isn’t considered a drug by many, it is to those in the health profession, but only at significant doses. Frequent hits of it can go over the line and cause serious problems, especially with the cardiovascular system.
Links are still tenuous, but at least two manufacturers are being investigated at this time. The FDA is looking into one and Sweden is looking into the other. At this time, the deaths may be because of heart arrhythmias.
If that’s not enough to give you pause, think about the possibility of developing an anxiety type illness. Caffeine and other stimulants often trigger the “fight or flight” response. It is beneficial in small amounts and for short term, but over time the stress can cause these disorders.
As a master herbalist, I’ve been against frequent use of these beverages for a long time. In many cases, having one isn’t a problem. The problems start when there is an underlying health condition or when the beverages are overused. Many young people are unlikely to be aware of the former and indulge in the latter. That is a recipe for disaster.