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Energy drinks for energized drunks?

LINDSAY LOHAN DOWNING A RED BULL, CASE CLOSED!
Energy drinks linked to
risky behavior among teenagers


The International Herald Tribune

by Tara Parker-Pope

May 27th, 2008

 

Health researchers have identified a surprising new predictor for risky behavior among teenagers and young adults: the energy drink.

Super-caffeinated energy drinks, with names like Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle and Amp, have surged in popularity in the past decade. About a third of 12- to 24-year-olds say they regularly down energy drinks, which account for more than $3 billion in annual sales in the United States.

The trend has been the source of growing concern among health researchers and school officials. Around the country, the drinks have been linked with reports of nausea, abnormal heart rhythms and emergency room visits.

In Colorado Springs, several high school students last year became ill after drinking Spike Shooter, a high caffeine drink, prompting the principal to ban the beverages. In March, four middle school students in Broward County, Florida, went to the emergency room with heart palpitations and sweating after drinking the energy beverage Redline.

In Tigard, Oregon, teachers this month sent parents e-mail alerting them that students who brought energy drinks to school were “literally drunk on a caffeine buzz or falling off a caffeine crash.”

New research suggests the drinks are associated with a health issue far more worrisome than the jittery effects of caffeine — risk taking.

In March, The Journal of American College Health published a report on the link between energy drinks, athletics and risky behavior.

The study’s author, Kathleen Miller, an addiction researcher at the University of Buffalo, says it suggests that

high consumption of energy drinks is associated with “toxic jock” behavior,

a constellation of risky and aggressive behaviors including

unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence.

The finding doesn’t mean the drinks cause bad behavior. But the data suggest that regular consumption of energy drinks may be a red flag for parents that their children are more likely to take risks with their health and safety.

“It appears the kids who are heavily into drinking energy drinks are more likely to be the ones who are inclined toward taking risks,” Miller said.

The American Beverage Association says its members don’t market energy drinks to teenagers.

“The intended audience is adults,” said Craig Stevens, a spokesman. He says the marketing is meant for “people who can actually afford the two or three bucks to buy the products.”

The drinks include a variety of ingredients in different combinations: plant-based stimulants like guarana, herbs like ginkgo and ginseng, sugar, amino acids including taurine as well as vitamins.

But the main active ingredient is caffeine.

Caffeine content varies. A 12-ounce serving of Amp contains 107 milligrams of caffeine, compared with 34 to 38 milligrams for the same amount of Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

Monster has 120 milligrams and Red Bull has 116. Higher on the spectrum, Spike Shooter contains 428 milligrams of caffeine in 12 ounces, and Wired X344 contains 258.

Stevens points out that “mainstream” energy drinks often have less caffeine than a cup of coffee. At Starbucks, the caffeine content varies depending on the drink, from 75 milligrams in a 12-ounce cappuccino or latte to as much as 250 milligrams in a 12-ounce brewed coffee.

One concern about the drinks is that because they are served cold, they may be consumed in larger amounts and more quickly than hot coffee drinks, which are sipped.

Another worry is the increasing popularity of mixing energy drinks with alcohol. The addition of caffeine can make alcohol users feel less drunk, but motor coordination and visual reaction time are just as impaired as when they drink alcohol by itself, according to an April 2006 study in the medical journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

“You’re every bit as drunk, you’re just an awake drunk,” said Mary Claire O’Brien, associate professor in the departments of emergency medicine and public health services at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

O’Brien surveyed energy drink and alcohol use among college students at 10 universities in North Carolina. The study, published this month in Academic Emergency Medicine,

showed that students who mixed energy drinks with alcohol

got drunk twice as often as those who consumed alcohol

by itself and were far more likely to be injured or require

medical treatment while drinking.

Energy drink mixers were more likely to be victims or perpetrators of aggressive sexual behavior. The effect remained even after researchers controlled for the amount of alcohol consumed.

Energy drink marketers say they don’t encourage consumers to mix the drinks with alcohol. Michelle Naughton, a spokeswoman for PepsiCo, which markets Amp, said,

“We expect consumers to enjoy our products responsibly.

 

WHAT IS IN RED BULL ANYWAY???
Wired Magazine June 26, 2007

Meat Sugar, Caffeine, and Bile!

Glucose
Like most popular soft drinks, Red Bull is largely sugar water. But don’t count on its glucose to “give you wings,” as the ad says. Multiple studies have debunked the so-called sugar high.

Taurine
Also known as 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, taurine was originally isolated from bull bile in 1827.

Now made synthetically, it is the magical elixir said to bring out the kitesurfing extremophile in any Web-surfing nerd. Taurine’s actual effects, while not as drastic as the hype, are pretty wide-ranging, even from the amount found in a single can.

.

Not only is it an inhibitory neurotransmitter (in some cases acting as a mild sedative) and an age-defying antioxidant, it even has the potential to steady irregular heartbeats.

Glucuronolactone
Internet rumors claimed this was a Vietnam-era experimental drug that causes brain tumors.

Luckily, that’s not true. But don’t crumple up your tinfoil hat yet — hardly anyone has looked into exactly what this stuff does. So little research has been done on glucuronolactone (and most of it 50 years ago) that almost all information about it is mere rumor.

.

Users generally believe it fights fatigue and increases well-being, but that could turn out to be bull, too.

Caffeine
Ah, here are Red Bull’s wings.

All the things this drink is supposed to do for you — increase concentration and reaction speed, improve emotional state, and boost metabolism — are known effects of this white powder, a distant cousin of cocaine.

Niacin (niacinamide)
Also known as vitamin B-3, niacin increases so-called good cholesterol (HDL) by preventing the formation of triglycerides, making it a terrific cholesterol drug.

.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough niacin here to have this benefit. And it’s not even pure enough to give you the mild head rush dubbed the “niacin flush.”

Sodium citrate
Commonly used as a preservative in soft drinks and spreadable cheeses, sodium citrate also helps convert glucose into lactic acid during exercise, producing a measurable effect on athletic performance.

.

In at least one test, it shaved an average of 17 seconds off a 5K run.

Inositol
A carbohydrate found in animal muscle (sometimes called “meat sugar”), inositol is turning out to be a wonder drug that significantly reduces depression, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and obsessive- compulsive disorder.

.

It might even be what makes whole grains effective cancer fighters. Instead of being a bit player in Red Bull

(you’d need to drink as many as 360 cans a day to get its benefits), inositol probably deserves a drink of its own.

_______________________________________________________________________

August 21st, 2008 addition to this story!

.Red Bull drink

lifts stroke risk:
Australian study

By Rob Taylor

Reuters – Friday, August 15 03:27 am

 

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Just one can of the popular stimulant energy drink Red Bull can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, even in young people, Australian medical researchers say.


The caffeine-loaded beverage, popular with university students and adrenaline sport fans to give them “wings,” caused the blood to become sticky, a pre-cursor to cardiovascular problems such as stroke.

“One hour after they drank Red Bull, (their blood systems) were no longer normal.

They were abnormal like we would expect in a patient with cardiovascular disease,”

Scott Willoughby, lead researcher from the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, told the Australian newspaper.

Red Bull Australia spokeswoman Linda Rychter said the report would be assessed by the company’s head office in Austria.

“The study does not show effects which would go beyond that of drinking a cup of coffee.

Therefore, the reported results were to be expected and lie within the normal physiological range,” Rychter told Reuters.

Willoughby and his team tested the cardiovascular systems of 30 young adults one hour before and one hour after consuming one 250ml can of sugar-free Red Bull.

The results showed “normal people develop symptoms normally associated with cardiovascular disease” after consuming the drink,

created in the 1980s by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz based on a similar Thai energy drink.

Red Bull is banned in Norway, Uruguay and Denmark because of health risks listed on its cans, but the company last year sold 3.5 billion cans in 143 countries.

One can contains 80 mg of caffeine, around the same as a normal cup of brewed coffee.

The Austria-based company, whose marketing says “Red Bull gives you wings,”

sponsors Formula 1 race cars and extreme sport events around the world, but warns consumers not to drink more than two cans a day.

Rychter said Red Bull could only have such global sales because health authorities across the world had concluded the drink was safe to consume.

But Willoughby said Red Bull could be deadly when combined with stress or high blood pressure,

impairing proper blood vessel function and possibly lifting the risk of blood clotting.

“If you have any predisposition to cardiovascular disease, I’d think twice about drinking it,” he said.

 

 

 

3 Responses to “Energy drinks for energized drunks?”

  1. I agree that energy drinks that are being consumed are full of caffeine and risk the health of teenagers. I drink XS Energy drinks that are full of B vitamins and I drink the caffeine free. The vitamins are a great replacement for the popular drinks you are discussing.

  2. SOG knives…

    Interesting ideas… I wonder how the Hollywood media would portray this?…

  3. An EXCELLENT article, Rash!
    It has a ton of information that
    most of us are not really aware of…
    but need to be!

    I know I certainly learned something!

    Thanks for posting the link to this.

    Maybe instead of ‘Rockstar No Carb’,
    I’ll just drink a cup of home-brewed coffee
    now and then to get me going. 🙂


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