Energy drinks could pose serious health risks for kids

Energy Drink

A new report says energy drinks can pose health risks to kids because of the amount of caffeine the beverages contain. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A recently published report says energy drinks could pose some serious risks for children. The report, appearing in medical journal Pediatrics, says the amount of caffeine in energy drinks may be dangerous for teens, along with other ingredients. The study suggests regulation to curb the risks.

Ingredients such as caffeine may be dangerous for teens

A recent study has concluded that energy drinks contain levels of caffeine that may be dangerous for children and teens, and other ingredients included as “energy boosters,” such as taurine and guarana, could pose risks as well, according to MSNBC. The report, titled “Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults” is being published in Pediatrics, a pediatric medicine journal. The report says consuming energy drinks poses a risk to children and teens because of the amount of stimulants. The amount of caffeine contained in energy drinks could lead to heart palpitations, stroke, seizure and death in some cases. The caffeine content of alcoholic energy drinks such as Four Loko, is said to pose risks to young people as well.

American energy drinks go unregulated

The report, which is available for free from Pediatrics in PDF format, says the drinks often contain more caffeine than labels disclose. Most already contain 70 to 80 milligrams of caffeine per each 8-ounce serving, which is nearly three times the amount of caffeine in a can of cola. Energy drinks also contain other ingredients, such as taurine and guarana. Guarana is a vine that produces a bean, like coffee, except guarana has three times the caffeine as coffee, according to ABC. Caffeine is a stimulant, which affects numerous bodily functions.

Possible side effects

The report highlights that poison control centers in the U.S. do not track possible energy drink overdoses. However, health care officials in Germany and New Zealand have linked energy drink overdoses to mild symptoms like nausea, vomiting and irritability and to serious side effects such as liver damage, respiratory distress, kidney failure, heart trouble and even sudden death. The American Association of Poison Control Centers started tracking health problems associated with energy drink consumption in 2010, noting 677 cases of energy drink overdose from October to December 2010. The AAPCCC also noted 331 cases since the beginning of 2011.

Sources

MSNBC

ABC

Pediatrics (PDF – Requires Adobe Reader)

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