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Energy Drinks - Linked to 7 Deaths

Updated on March 23, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Energy Drink Skyrocketing Sales

There are many new types of drinks on the market. Energy drinks have been around the longest and are very popular, yet absolutely not good for teens or children. They may not be healthy for adults either, depending on the amount of their consumption. These drinks have now been linked to seven deaths.

There has been warnings on the labels for many of these drinks, but now Monster drink for one is being allowed to remove the warnings. Additionally, the law did state that any ill affects must be reported, but as of yesterday that law was been abolished.

So, even after overwhelming evidence of the ill effect, apparently the manufacturers have won over the FDA to continue to see these dangerous drinks without warning labels.

One of the problems is teens use these drinks to perform better at sports or to stay up and cram for a final test. Teenagers often think they are invincible and just are not mature enough to make wise decisions. One death was a 14 year old girl who may have already had a heart problem, but she drank two Monster drinks within 24 hours of her death. The caffeine toxicity is thought to have caused a cardiac arrhythmia. In 2009, 13,000 emergency room visits were attributed to drinking these caffeinated drinks.There have been 2000 ER visits due to these drinks.

Some of the better known drinks energy drinks are, Red Bull, Spike, Shooter, Monster, and Redline, to name just a few. Monster holds a 35% corner of the caffeinated drink market. The US sale of these drinks has greatly increased between 2015-2017. Approximately 2.98 billion was spent in the US in the last quarter of 2017.

Energy Drinks


Monster Energy and Possible Effects

There are studies which have shown an improvement in cognitive and mental performance after consumption of an energy drink. However, excessive consumption can induce a mild to moderate euphoria. In addition, they can cause anxiety, agitation, irritability and insomnia. They have a combination of caffeine (an 8 oz. can has the amount of caffeine found in an 8 oz. cup of coffee) and there is sugar glucose in any energy drink.

Consumption of one energy drink a day is not typically a problem, but consumption of two or more drinks may lead to excessive caffeine intake. Caffeine is a diuretic and these drinks have no nutrients, which mean it is more likely you can have a crash and burnreaction when the caffeine leave your system. Some energy drinks have ginseng or guarana to enhance the caffeine effect.

Dr Whiting on the Dangers of Energy Drinks

Five Hour Energy Sounds Good, But?

Overall the diuretic component of too much caffeine causes many physical problems, particularly dehydration. Caffeine can also cause heart rhythm problems, seizures and ER visits. One of the more popular energy drinks,Red Bull, was banned in France after an 18-year-old athlete died within hours of playing basketball and consuming 4 cans of Red Bull. Five hour energy from a beverage sounds good, but be aware of the possible long term consequences.

Dr. Holly Benjamin of the American Academy of Pediatrics states children should never be given these drinks due to the caffeine and other stimulants that are not nutritional.

Some Relaxation Drinks

source impactlab
source impactlab

The New Relaxation Drinks

Relaxation drinks are also finding popularity, especially among young people.

There are several available, including; Drank,Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda, Vacation in a Bottle, and Dream Water, which are advertised as relaxing and able to reduce stress.

There is no law that stops teens from buying this drink. The companies suggest not drinking more than two 12-ounce bottles daily. These drinks are being endorsed by celebrities. The ingredients in these drinks tend to include:

  • Many drinks contain herbal, plant or hormonal substances, which may have side effects.
  • Melatonin, which is a naturally occurring substance in your body to induce sleep but it is not FDA approved as a food additive.
  • Kava root should be used cautiously, particularly in people with liver problems, as the FDA has linked ingestion of this substance to severe liver injuries.
  • Vacation in a Bottle does not contain Melatonin but L-Theanine, which is found in green tea and will relax you without putting you to sleep.
  • These drinks also sometimes contain Valerian root and rose hips.

These drinks can cause drowsiness and sedation. There is a big concern that there will be a trend with teenagers using these drinks to make a homemade concoction known as Purple Drink. Purple drink is a combination of relaxation drinks, cough syrup with codeine, promethazine and candy to get high.

Sippin Sizzurp Goes Mainstream, Extreme Relaxation Drink Being Sold In Stores

Four Lokos

The third new drink that has educators more concerned is Four Logo, which is a new energy drink fusion that contains 11% or 12% alcohol by volume per can. Interestingly enough, the formulations were developed by three alumni of The Ohio State University; Chris Hunter, Jeff Wright, and Jaisen Freeman.

In this drink you have the combined effects of caffeine and the equivalent of three beers, plus other amped-up ingredients, which is said to be incredibly intoxicating. It has even been referred to as "legalized cocaine in a can". Or “Blackout in a Can”. In this drink you have two diuretics, alcohol and caffeine, which can easily cause dehydration. You must be 21 to purchase this drink, for about $3.00 a can.

Four Loki has been banned in some states.

"Blackout in a Can"

Four Lokos Flavors

There are seven flavors to experiment with the supposed liquid YaYo. This malted energy drinkalso contains Taurine, Guarana and other possibly energy-boosting compounds, in addition to the alcohol and comes in the following flavors:

  • Four Loko Blue Raspberry
  • Four Loko Cranberry Lemonade
  • Four Loko Lemonade
  • Four Loko Orange Blend
  • Four Loko Fruit Punch
  • Four Loko Uva (Brazilian Berry)
  • Four Loko Watermelon

This drink is being seen more on college campuses and of course, there is concern that by officials that this drink can lead to an increase in teenage drinking and drunk-driving incidents.

In Summary

There is also concern that people will drink several energy drinks to get through the day, then have to drink several relaxation drinks to be able to sleep at night, so your metabolism is being controlled by drugs around the clock, which certainly isn’t healthy.

There are professionals that think the relaxation drink can be beneficial. Acupuncture expert, Tom Ingegno, states it is helpful to have a drink that you can enjoy to relax or one to drink before you go to bed.

However, he says if you have any concerns see your doctor before drinking them. Certainly one energy drink is not going to be a problem for most people, but if you are on blood pressure and heart medications, they are probably hot a good idea.

The two greatest concerns are the relaxation drinks being abused by using a drug recipe to make the purple drink which is popular with some teens and Four Loko. There are rappers that sing about this drink also, which encourages youth in the wrong direction.

The greatest concern is Four Loko due to it's caffeine and alcohol combination. Several states are trying to outlaw this drink as many students have ended up in the ER very drunk and in bad shape.

New Drinks on the Market

Do you drink any of the following drinks routinely?

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The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


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