Energy drinks are beverages that are marketed for boosting energy levels, improving mental performance, and aiding weight loss. Popular brands contain high amounts of caffeine and sweeteners, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Because some energy drinks are marketed as “dietary supplements,” rather than beverages, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the safety of the ingredients. This lack of regulation means that manufacturers are responsible for the safety of ingredients, many of which do not have scientific evidence backing safety or efficacy.
The uplifting effects of energy drinks are well advertised, but a new report finds consumption among teenagers may be linked with poor mental health and substance use.
Researchers are calling for limits on teen's access to the drinks and reduction in the amount of the caffeine in each can.
The paper by researchers at the University of Waterloo and Dalhousie University, published in Preventive Medicine, found that high school students prone to depression as well as those who are smoke marijuana or drink alcohol are more likely to consume energy drinks than their peers.
“While it remains unclear why these associations exist, the trend is a concern because of the high rate of consumption among teenagers,” said Sunday Azagba, a researcher at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo and lead author on the paper. “These drinks appeal to young people because of their temporary benefits like increased …
Be sure to track all of your dietary sources of caffeine. While one or two cups of coffee may not create problems or an energy drink here or there may not cause damage, combining multiple sources of caffeine, leading to high concentrations of the drug in your body, could potentially lead to serious health effects. Also, be aware that the long-term safety of other ingredients in energy drinks is often unknown, and those ingredients could interact with prescription medications that you are taking. Discuss all dietary sources of herbal supplements and vitamins with your healthcare providers.
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