Energy drinks are one of the most popular items on the market today. They supply mental and physical alertness for a short period of time. Most energy drinks contain common ingredients, such as sugar, caffeine, taurine, vitamins, riboflavin and many more. Two main ingredients come in all energy drinks, they are sugar and caffiene. One can of energy drink has approximately 80 milligrams of caffiene, which is equivalent to the amount of caffiene in a cup of coffee. Consumers of energy drinks are mostly athletes and students.
Energy drinks are still fairly new today, they were first created and introduced in Japan in 1962. Japan came out with an energy drink called Lipovitan D Drink. This energy drink was designed to help nightime employees stay mentally and physically alert, so that fatigue would not interfere with their quality and production levels. The first energy drink that was introduced to the United States of America was the "Jolt Cola" in the 1980s. Some businessmen from Asia picked up on the high potential of money making and started to introduce these energy drinks to different countries. These businessmen today are making billions of dollars due to the amount of energy drinks people buy and consume. There are more than hundreds of different brands of energy drinks on the market now. The most common energy drink on the market is Red Bull, which is considered a health product in Canada under the natural health product (NHP) regulations.
Sugar in energy drinks is broken down rapidly and is absorbed and digested by the body. Vitamins (group B) help release energy from food in the body. The addition of taurine in energy drinks is unclear but it is thought to have effect on muscle contractions of the heart. Caffeine works by blocking the effects of adenosine, adenosine is a chemical within the brain that is also involved in sleep. When caffeine blocks the effect of adenosine, the neurons in the brain start to react and the body starts to think that its in an emergency. This leads to the initiation of the bodys "fight or flight" response from the pituitary gland by releasing adrenaline. This hormone makes the heart beat faster and the eyes dilate. It also causes the liver to release more sugar into the bloodstream for energy. Caffeine also affects the levels of a chemical in the brain called dopamine. This whole physical response of the body due to the addition of caffeine and sugar makes you feel like you have more energy. The maximum consumption of Red Bull according to NHP is 500 mL per day, if there is improper use of energy drinks it leads to serious side effects.
The side effects of energy drinks are severe dehydration, heart problems, nausea, vomiting, diaherrea and some others. The high sugar content and caffeine can have a diuretic and laxative effect. Also your body has a sudden "crash" when the sugar leaves the bloodstream where your body feels exhausted. Also mixing alcohol and energy drinks together is very common. Energy drinks are a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, the mixture can effect your heart and may lead to seizures.
Caffeine is an addictive substance, therefore energy drinks containing the substance makes the drink addictive. Some countries like France, Norway and Denmark have banned Redbull because of a few deaths that arised from the consumption of energy drinks. A basketball athelete by the name of Ross Cooney consumed four cans of Redbull before his basketball game and passed away at the age of eighteen from cardiac arrest. There have been a few worldwide cases where an individual has been harmed, due to the consumption of energy drinks. Health risks are higher for people who already have minor health problems and people who abuse the consumption of energy drinks. So be careful and consume energy drinks properly!