16th September 2019
Beware: Energy drinks may damage your kidneys and more
Dietary supplements and energy drinks are mired in controversy due to their possible side-effects. Read on to know more.
The market today is flooded with dietary supplements that perk you, help you lose weight, build muscle mass and more. In fact, these manufactured foods and drinks promise to make up for all nutrients that you may be missing from your foods. While some of these claims may be genuine, a majority of them are doubtful. There is often no scientific basis to some of the claims. Now reports are emerging about the possible harmful effects of all these supplements and drinks. This is especially true for energy drinks. These do spike up your energy levels, but when you reach for a bottle, you may not really think about its side-effects.
Let us take a look at what research says about dietary supplements with special emphasis on energy drinks and its health risks.
SUPPLEMENTS ARE DANGEROUS: RESEARCH
Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that dietary supplements for weight loss, muscle building and energy may increase the risk of many health disorders in children and young adults compared to consumption of vitamins. For the purpose of the study, researchers analysed adverse event that emerged between January 2004 and April 2015 in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System on food and dietary supplements database.
They looked at the relative risk for death, disability and hospitalisation in individuals between the ages of 0 and 25 years that were linked to the use of dietary supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building or energy compared to vitamins. They said that there were 977 single-supplement-related adverse event reports for the target age group. Of those, around 40 per cent reported severe side-effects including death and hospitalisation. In fact, researchers said that the risk of adverse health reaction increased by almost three times.
Supplements that boost sexual function and cleans the colon increases health risks by almost two times. Some supplements that boasts of promoting weight loss and muscle mass have been associated with stroke, testicular cancer, liver damage and also death. They say that this could be due to the adulteration. Many supplements contain some amount of prescription drugs, banned substances, heavy metals, pesticides and dangerous chemicals. The Journal of Adolescent Health published this study.
ENERGY DRINKS CAN CAUSE KIDNEY DAMAGE: EXPERTS
Another study from the same school published in Frontiers in Public health associated energy supplements with serious health complications. In fact, researchers of this study say that the risks increase manifold due to young adults’ habit of mixing energy drinks with alcohol, which can lead to dehydration and alcohol poisoning. They stress on the need to regulate the sale of such products to children and adolescents and urge policy-makers to set upper limits on caffeine.
Energy drinks may lead to risk-seeking behaviour, mental health problems, fatigue, increased blood pressure, dental issues, obesity and even kidney damage, say the researchers. Most of the health risks are due to high sugar and caffeine levels in these supplements.
HEALTH RISKS OF ENERGY DRINKS
Today, we see a lot of reports highlighting the health risks of supplements and energy drinks. This is especially true in the case of energy drinks because these are easily available and young children are also consuming them. Hence, it is necessary to highlight the possible health consequences that may come with it.
Energy Drinks Can Cause Cardiac Arrest
This is especially true if you have a weak heart. Energy drinks are known to cause heart contractions. Teenagers may report the development of heart-related problems after drinking too many energy drinks over an extended period of time. The main risks are usually an abnormal heart rhythm and increased blood pressure. This could be due to the presence of caffeine in such drinks. In fact, the high sugar and caffeine content may also cause the shrinking of the inner diameter of arteries.
It May Cause Migraines And Insomnia
If you consume too many of these drinks, you may experience severe headaches. This may be duet o changes in your caffeine intake. Also, since these drinks perk you up and keep you awake, you may have trouble sleeping at night. If this continues over time, it can lead to chronic insomnia and related problems like lack of concentration, fatigue and impaired brain function among others.
It Affects Mental Health
Energy drinks can cause stress, anxiety, risky-behaviour, panic attacks and aggression. A study by The Mayo Clinic says that it can stimulate the production of the stress hormone. Researchers saw an increase of 74 per cent in the levels of norepinephrine in participants who consumed energy drinks. A placebo caused an increase of only 31 per cent. It can also lead to addictions. People who have too many of these drinks or who are regular drinkers may exhibit withdrawal symptoms like nervousness and tremors if they don’t get their regular fix.
Energy Drinks Can Increase Your Blood Pressure
People with a higher risk of hypertension should avoid energy drinks. These caffeinated products may cause their blood pressure to spike. According to a study by researchers from the American Heart Association, energy drinks have a greater negative effect on blood pressure than drinks that contain caffeine alone as the active ingredient.
It Can Cause Vitamin Overdose
Most energy drinks contain vitamin B3. Drinking too many of these drinks can lead to an overdose. Symptoms of vitamin B3 overdose are usually a flushed skin, dizziness, palpitations, nausea, itching, gout and diarrhoea. It can also cause B3 toxicity.
WHO’S RECOMMENDATION FOR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Recognising the seriousness of the problem, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning about the dangers of energy drinks. They have also sent in a list of recommendation for government agencies regarding these supplements.
Fix an upper caffeine limit on such products.
Enforce labelling requirements and sales restrictions to minors.
Enforce regulation of the industry to responsibly market their products.
Train health care workers to recognise and treat overdose from energy drinks.
Screen patients with a history of substance abuse for heavy consumption of energy drinks.
Educate the public about the dangers of mixing energy drinks with alcohol.
Continue researching the negative side effects energy drinks have on young people.
Source: The Health Site
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