Energy crisis among teens

Nic Sloan, Co-Editor

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 Energy drinks are a common beverage enjoyed by teens and adults alike, but what’s really inside that can besides a quick energy boost? Energy drinks are considered any beverage which contains added sugar or stimulant compounds, generally caffeine. Some of the most common energy drinks on the market are drinks such as Monster, Rockstar, and Redbull. But energy “shots” also fall into this category, such as 5-Hour Energy.

  The average energy drink contains anywhere from 70-240 mg of caffeine in a 16 oz can or 2 oz shot. Whereas the average 16 oz can of cola for comparison contains only about 28 mg of caffeine.

  Most if not nearly all energy drinks typically contain ingredients such as guarana, taurine, and L-carnitine. These ingredients are found naturally, and are actually beneficial to many of you bodily processes. But too much of anything is bad, as energy drinks contain much higher concentrations of these ingredients than naturally found. Too much of these ingredients can cause problems with blood pressure, liver damage, kidney damage, nausea, and much more. This becomes especially concerning when the major ingredient, caffeine, is added in, and it may enhance the effects of the ingredients. Not to mention the effects that caffeine alone has.

  Energy drinks are most harmful in young adults, teens, and children, which is the largest demographic that use them. They also show increased signs of detrimental effects in pregnant women, individuals who struggle with caffeine sensitivity and/or addiction, and individuals who use certain medications, such as Adderall, regularly.

  There’s been dozens of reports of individuals going into cardiac arrest, elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, among other heart problems after drinking too many energy drinks. All of these reports were simply due to the fact that the victims had an overload of caffeine and taurine that caused their vital internal organs and processes to shut down.

  Any dose of caffeine 200 mg or above in a span of 4 hours is considered an unsafe amount for adults. Whereas for teens 12-18 years old, 100mg a day is the recommended amount by the CDC. Studies done by the CDC and other health organizations have shown that exceeding this amount of the recommended dose can lead to several neurological problems. Some of the symptoms found from the studies included restlessness, muscle twitching, anxiety, inexhaustibility, and insomnia.

  However, energy drinks aren’t necessarily a major health concern when compared to many other modern day health risks. They are comparable to alcohol in the sense that you should drink with moderation, as too much can be very detrimental. Limiting it to a few cans a week, and no more than one a day at the very least will generally keep you in good health.

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