Energy Drinks, Health Risk and Death Connection

14 05 2020

Updated: 14 May 2020, by Marc Woodard

So what energy, soda or caffeinated drink and in what volume is considered safe?

The following recommendations for caffeine ingestion vary, but a good average across the board looks to be: adults can consume around 400mg/day of caffeine, pregnant women should stay below 300mg/day. A five-year old child should consume no more than 1 soda/day at 45mg caffeine [at the most]. And if you include a caffeinated soda in a Childs daily diet, this would mean no chocolate, tea, or any other food source with caffeine in it.

“A five-year old child should consume no more than 1 soda/day at 45mg caffeine [at the most]. …” Or one cup of chocolate.

As a point of reference, 1 energy drink does not equate to an 8oz cup of coffee (130mg/cup). One energy drink for example can have the equivalence of several cups of coffee!

Energy drinks flooded the marketplace over a decade ago, with ever increasing popularity within the teenage demographic. Within youth sports for example, energy drinks seem to be the rage and norm… because of the quick boost one receives before exercise activities… and employee’s become dependent on the drinks to accomplish work.

So what’s the bottom line on health risk? Here’s just a few updated citations I found recently on the Internet.

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“Energy drinks ‘can be dangerous because large amounts of caffeine may cause serious heart rhythm, blood flow and blood pressure problems,’ the NIH (National Institution of Health) has warned.”

“Researchers with the American Heart Association have warned that energy drinks can be ‘life-threatening,’ especially for those already with high blood pressure or cardiac issues.”

“The drinks have led to death. E.g., In 2017, a South Carolina teenager died after consuming an excessive amount of caffeine in a short amount of time.”

“Children with still-developing cardiovascular and nervous systems are also at risk as caffeine could harm them. The American Academy of Pediatrics said children should “never” consume energy drinks.”

“‘These energy drinks – one of the biggest problems – is that we haven’t the faintest idea what’s in them,’ Dr. Steven Nissen, M.D. of Cleveland Clinic pointed out.” “The manufacturers of these drinks are not required, by law, to disclose the contents. Those who have performed independent analysis on them have learned, at least a few of the drinks, are just loaded with huge amounts of caffeine.”

We already know exercise increases heart rate and blood pressure. When Energy drinks are introduced into the circulatory system and one participates in sport activity your system becomes super revved. The problem is, if you have an undiagnosed health issue, where an increased surge in circulatory pressure could lead to a stroke or heart attack. This leads one to wonder – is there a connection between high-dose caffeination and teenage deaths on the football field?

In 2012, Swedish authorities warned and believed mixing energy drinks with alcohol and drinking energy drinks after exercise can cause death! There was no hard scientific evidence available then on that health risk connection. “We are going through the Autopsy reports… ” (Anders Glyn, of the Swedish National Food Administration). Dr. Dan Andersson of Stockholm’s South Hospital stated, “If you drink a lot of Red Bull, and you are dehydrated, and/or mix it with alcohol, it can be very dangerous.” There have been recent incidents where energy drinks mixed with alchohol

“Swedish authorities warned and believed mixing energy drinks with alcohol and drinking energy drinks after exercise can cause death!”

Back in 2012, within the United States there was a crack down on manufacturers and retailers who made and sold energy drinks with alcohol in it. The FDA sent warning letters to manufactures… banning specific types of energy and alcoholic drinks in several states because of overdoses.

“Tue 12 Jun 2018 at 1812 AEST | 2012 NZST It has been reported that a teenage girl in Sydney has died after drinking a cocktail of alcohol and energy drinks mixed according to a recipe she found online. It is still too early for doctors to say the exact cause of death, though mixing alcohol and energy drinks has been known to cause health problems and even death in the past. …”

There is “a growing concern over the potential connection of energy drinks, alcohol and teen sport deaths.”

READ OUR FULL ARTICLE WRITTEN ON TOPIC which provides poison control data and a growing concern over the potential connection of energy drinks, alcohol and teen sport deaths. Also, you’ll learn about other ingredients in energy drinks that the FDA does not require to be listed on consumer labels.

It’s what you don’t know about the chemical energy drinks that’s increasing children and adult health risk and cause of other illness and disease and shortened lifespans. And for this reason alone, stick to coffee, tea and decaffeinated drinks [if caffeine intolerant] and morning stretch exercises to wake up and get your day started. And remember… Too much chemical-stimulant-influence on the mind and body, in the long run is not a healthy habit for anyone.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2012-20 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Tigard Turns the Tide works together to prevent teenage substance use disorder

4 03 2020

We all understand how important teenage alcohol and substance use prevention education programs and resources are to any parent challenged with an addicted child or knows someone with a substance abuse disorder. But did you know that nine out of 10 adults with substance use disorders started using before age 18?

In surveys, Tigard High School (THS) 11th graders have self-reported substance use from 2012-17.  The data shows significant teenage substance use with significant increases over that five-year period. The most current study in 2017 revealed the following substance use percentages: 25% used alcohol; 22.8% used marijuana (these numbers are rising quickly since use of recreation marijuana for adults has been legalized); 15.1% used electronic cigarettes/vaping  (these numbers are rapidly increasing among teens); 9.7% used prescription drugs (without a prescription), and 7.6% used tobacco

Tigard’s population has an estimated 1.4% growth rate over the next few years and these numbers will no doubt increase without continued substance abuse prevention education and family resource(s) support.

At THS, Tigard Turns the Tide (TTT) has been instrumental in working with our youth to prevent substance use disorder since 1994. This was the year the organization was incorporated by Connie Ramaekers (a lifelong Tigard resident and teenage substance abuse advocate and educator).

Through THS, the Stop Tigard Underage Drinking and Drug Use (STUDD) club, many of our youth can remain alcohol and drug free in a positive environment.

Why should we all care about reversing the current trends? 

Because our children are our future. And just like good stewards of land, water and air, we need to nurture our children. It is they who will take care of our grandchildren and environment when we no longer can.

In my opinion, there is no other organization throughout Washington County that works harder to prevent teenage substance use disorder than TTT in partnership with our schools.

Lilian and Jack sum up a future of hope for a teen free substance abuse society through partnered prevention programs “where one person can make a difference in changing hearts, minds and lives of the many” and they do!

My freshman year I decided to join a club called STUDD. We had a school assembly with Chris Herren, a former NBA Basketball star. It was eye opening to see and hear someone who had everything and lost it all because of substance use disorder. Hearing Chris’s story told me there was hope. That is why TTT and STUDD are so important. They offer hope for the future and a platform to help and talk to my peers. Lilian, 11th grade

STUDD is more than a club It is a support system and a safe place for students to be actively involved and the opportunity to make a difference. STUDD provides positive peer pressure and peer pressure is huge at this time in our lives. Jack, 12th grade.

How do I identify the common signs of at-risk teenage substance abuse? 

If theres a family history of substance use disorder; a mental or behavioral health condition, such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); impulsive or risk-taking behavior; a history of adverse childhood events, such as bullying, a history of abuse, low self-esteem or feelings of social rejection, please talk to your primary care provider about your concerns. Your child’s mental health is as important as their physical health.

How can I help my child to be drug and alcohol-free?

You can learn more at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids  https://drugfree.org/article/prevention-tips-for-every-age/.  If you have concerns that your child might be using alcohol or drugs, a good place to start is your child’s primary care physician.  Your child’s mental health is as important as their physical health. 

Learn how to help prevent unhealthy substance use disorders and other behaviors. And you can learn more about volunteer opportunities at: www.tigardturnsthetide.org

Good health to you and your family!

 Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a Fit Healthy Lifestyle Consultant with MirrorAthlete Corp., and former Tigard City Councilor. A strong proponent of City involvement in expanding recreational opportunities for everyone. 2020 copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., To learn more about MirrorAthlete and free monthly newsletter, visit: www.mirrorathlete.com