A very popular beverage in this country today is the energy drink, a beverage which supposedly provides the consumer with mental or physical stimulation. There are many different brands of energy drinks, and all usually contain large amounts of caffeine, herbal extracts, amino acids and other stimulants.
Energy drinks are used by consumers of all ages, but research has shown these drinks to be particularly attractive to the younger set, with approximately 66% of the beverages’ drinkers falling between the ages of 13 and 35 years old.
Consumption of a single energy drink will not lead to excessive caffeine intake, but consumption of two or more drinks in a single day can adversely affect the drinker. Adverse side effects include nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms and dyspepsia.
Unfortunately, these beverages have also been linked to more serious side effects. According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, 5-Hour Energy products have been linked to thirteen deaths and Monster drinks have been linked to five deaths. Although Red Bull and Rockstar drinks have not been linked to any deaths, their brands, along with Monster and 5-Hour Energy brands, have all been cited by the FDA for side effects that include increased heart rate and abdominal pain.
Because of the deaths and adverse side effects contributed to energy drinks, these beverages are now being investigated by regulators who will determine if the products may be dangerous and need to be regulated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has hired outside advisers to investigate the drinks to determine whether or not these beverages, if consumed in excess, may cause harm or even death, especially in the young or in those consumers with pre-existing cardiac conditions.
The outcome of the review will determine whether or not the FDA will regulate the use of energy drinks and/or require labels warning consumers of possible side effects.