Entries in Energy Drinks (7)


FDA Investigating Connection Between Energy Drinks and Heart Risks

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Food and Drug Administration is investigating possible links between energy drinks and sudden death.

According to a study presented to the American Heart Association, there is a connection. Energy drinks, which can have up to three times the amount of caffeine as colas, were found to raise blood pressure and change heart rhythm in a way that was associated with life-threatening arrythmias.

The study found that energy drinks could increase the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Young adults consume as many as half of the energy drinks in the United States.

The FDA regulates the amount of caffeine in soft drinks because they are classified as food. Because energy drinks are considered dietary supplements, caffeine levels are not regulated.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


5-Hour Energy Drinks Cited in 13 Deaths

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The federal government and the New York Attorney General's office are investigating claims that the drink 5-Hour Energy led to 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations over the past four years.

The popular energy shot -- which comes in 2 oz. packages and packs a powerful caffeine punch equal to two cups of coffee -- led the way in this new and growing energy drink segment over the past eight years.  Now, government officials are investigating whether the product, made by Michigan-based Living Essentials, does much more.

"If someone is to use multiple cans, now is when we start to see some of the side effects," Dr. Sean Patrick Nord, USC Director of the Section of Toxicology, told ABC News.  "You're getting astronomical amounts, 30 to 40 cups of coffee."

The recent Food and Drug Administration filings mark the second time in a month the agency has confirmed it is investigating claims that energy drinks are causing fatal reactions.  In October, Monster Energy, another popular drink that contains even more caffeine, was allegedly linked to five deaths.  The manufacturers point out that these are just claims, and there is no proven link between the drinks and the deaths.

In a statement overnight, 5-Hour Energy said the product is "intended for busy adults."  The company says its compact product contains "about as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee."

During an interview this September, Manoj Bhargava, the founder and CEO of 5-Hour Energy, told ABC News that when used as directed, the caffeine in his product doesn't do any harm.

"It's overblown.  When it's in small quantities … It's like this -- water is good, but if you have too much you drown," he said.

Most experts say the fatal dose of caffeine for an adult would be almost impossible to drink -- actually 50 to 60 times of what is contained in an energy drink.  But critics worry about children with underlying heart problems drinking them, and are warning that energy drinks may be more hazardous than coffee because of the temperature.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Energy, Sports Drinks Destroy Teeth, Says Study

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Sugar may rot your teeth, but the acid in energy and sports drinks will also do some irreversible damage to those pearly whites, say researchers.

A new study published in the journal General Dentistry found that energy and sports drinks contain so much acid that they start destroying teeth after only five days of consistent use. Thirty to 50 percent of American teens use energy drinks, the paper says, and up to 62 percent drink sports drinks at least once a day.

Damage to enamel can cause teeth to become sensitive to touch and temperature changes, and be more susceptible to cavities and decay.

“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” said Poonam Jain, lead author of the study. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

Jain and colleagues analyzed the acidity of 13 different sports drinks and nine energy drinks by submerging samples of human tooth enamel in each for 15 minutes. They then submerged the samples in artificial saliva for two hours. This was repeated four times a day for five days. The scientists observed damage to the enamel by the time the five days were up.

Energy drinks were the worst culprits, the researchers said. They said acidity levels vary among brands and flavors of energy drinks, and caused twice as much damage as the sports drinks.

“Bacteria convert sugar to acid, and it’s the acid bath that damages enamel, not the sugar directly,” said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Center. “So by incorporating a high acid load in a drink, we are just cutting out the middleman on the way to tooth decay.”

These drinks are glorified sodas, with as much or more sugar, said Katz.

“There may be a role for them for rehydration among endurance athletes under intense training conditions, but sports drinks make little sense for anyone else,” said Katz. “A far better approach would be working to improve sleep quality and quantity and overall health.”

“When these drinks combine a load of acid and sugar, they are detrimental to waistline and smile alike,” said Katz.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Can We Drink Our Way to Energy And Focus?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- There’s no shortage of energy drinks claiming to keep you focused and clear your mind.  But what’s really in these drinks?

The answer, according to several energy drink manufacturers, is citicoline, a stimulant added to many popular drinks, including 5-Hour Energy Shots.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that citocoline is now being added to more energy drinks and supplements. But do the facts support the claims?

One of the latest drinks to come to market, Nawgan (pronounced “noggin”), promises that one can a day can ”sharpen your mind.”  The site even urges users to track their mental performance using an online memory and focus test.

“It helps with alertness and concentration by providing nutrients the brain needs for alertness,” said Jim von der Hoyt, CEO of Nawgen, which is based in St. Louis, Mo.

According to a study on the company’s website, citicoline can help improve focus and mental energy, and potentially manage symptoms of attention deficit disorder.

Yet many experts caution consumers to beware of beverages making any health claims. In fact, studies regarding citicoline, better known by its brand name Cognizin, conflict with overwhelming evidence suggesting that the supplement is no better than a placebo.

And if consumers are buying these products to drink up the health claims on the bottle, experts say the desired quick fix may not be there. ”If you need energy, you might need more sleep, not a drink,” said Keith Ayoob, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Ayoob suggests that more research is needed before citocoline should be considered the go-to solution for focus or energy. "One study is never enough to build a drink on or change your entire diet,” he said.

The makers of Nawgen say the drink is not meant to be a cure-all. “We’re not the least bit claiming this is a medication at all. This is considered a functional beverage,” said von der Hoyt.

Americans spent about $9 billion last year on energy drinks, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Citocoline drink products account for only a portion of all energy drink sales.  In fact, in most energy drinks, it’s more likely caffeine or sugar providing the energy jolt.

In the U.S., citicoline is also marketed in much lower doses as a dietary supplement, found in capsules, drinks and gel packs.

Von der Hoyt said he does not consider Nawgen to be among the category of energy drinks -- rather, he says it’s an “alertness beverage.”

“It helps with alertness and concentration by providing nutrients the brain needs for alertness,” said von der Hoyt.

Beverage manufacturers and supplement makers in the U.S. are not required to prove certain health claims.  But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does require companies to ensure their products are safe before going to market. And once on shelves, the agency can review any product for safety.

In some European countries, citocoline is approved as a prescription drug to help improve memory decline and increase brain function immediately after stroke.

There’s no evidence suggesting that taking citicoline is unsafe, according to Ayoob, who added that it’s okay to drink if you like the taste. But the body creates the citicoline naturally, he said, and a healthy diet is more important to support daily function than consuming an energy drink.

“If somebody’s worried about brain function, what they don’t need is a drink,” said Ayoob. “They need to put efforts towards physical activity.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Caffeine Mist Is a ‘Club Drug,’ Says Schumer

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A caffeine mist marketed as “breathable energy” may become a health hazard for teens and young people, according to doctors and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

On Thursday, Schumer asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the product’s safety.

Aeroshot Pure Energy, made by Breathable Foods in Cambridge, Mass., comes in a lipstick-size  tube designed to spray a mist of caffeine and B vitamins that dissolve in the mouth, according to the company. Each tube contains 100 mg of caffeine, which is about the amount contained in a large cup of coffee. The product will be sold over the counter and is set to hit store shelves in Boston and New York City next week, at $2.99 per tube.

The company promotes the product as easy to use, calorie free and compact enough to fit inside a jean pocket or carry-on luggage. Schumer says Aeroshot’s availability and the company’s marketing could sway teens and young adults to mix it with alcohol, creating a potentially dangerous combination.

In a statement, Schumer called the product a “club drug” that is “designed to give users the ability to drink until they drop.”

Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida, told ABC News that while the product is not the same as such illegal “club drugs” as ecstasy, the marketing and availability of the product is “troublesome.”

“It’s a very clever marketing, obviously reaching out to young people who consume energy drinks,” Goldberger said. “If you put this into the wrong hands, it could have serious consequences.”

Goldberger said he worries that the product, which will be sold with no age restrictions, could easily fall into the hands of  children, for whom 100 mg of caffeine could have serious health consequences. He also said there is no way to guarantee that users won’t inhale the caffeine mist directly into their lungs, which would be dangerous.

Aeroshot has about half the amount of caffeine contained in  alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko and Joose, which were banned by the FDA in 2010 after reports that the drinks had sent some users  to the hospital.

In a statement on the company’s website, Breathable Foods CEO Tom Hadfield said the product had none of the “mystery chemicals” contained in other energy drinks and was not supposed to be mixed with alcohol. Also, “Aeroshot is not intended for use by children and is not marketed to children,” Hadfield wrote.

The FDA plans to review information about the product and determine if it meets federal safety and labeling standards, according to a spokesperson for the agency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Canadian Health Experts Take Aim at Energy Drinks

John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images(OTTAWA, Ontario) -- Energy drinks have been around for years. But as the market for these drinks grew, so did concerns about their safety.

Now a panel of experts assembled by Health Canada are calling for stricter control of Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar and a host of other so-called energy drinks.
These high-caffeinated drinks are classified as natural health products. But the panel says they are not foods. They are drug products and should only be sold on drugstore shelves under the supervision of a pharmacist, experts claim.

In fact, the specialists say "energy" drink is a misnomer. They suggest the products be renamed "stimulant drug containing drinks."
The panel also wants Canada to take the lead internationally by requiring warning labels on the cans about series adverse effects of the drinks.
In a report obtained by Postmedia News, the panel stressed that the health risks associated with these beverages outweigh their benefits.
The report was actually presented to the Canadian government almost a year ago. But details are only now becoming public as the government debates adopting tighter controls on the beverages.
Both the beverage industry and energy drink makers reject the panel's research and recommendations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Are Sports Drinks Better Than Energy Drinks for Kids?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's pretty common to see kids chugging a Gatorade or other sports drink at a sporting event, but nutrition experts and pediatricians want to make sure people know there's a right time and a wrong time to consume them.

In a report published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers highlighted the differences between sugary, stimulant-containing energy drinks and sports drinks, which come with carbohydrates, electrolytes and other substances designed to hydrate and replenish elements lost through sweat. The report also offers guidance on when it's appropriate for kids to drink them.

"Caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents," wrote the authors, Drs. Marcie Schneider and Holly Benjamin of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Furthermore, frequent or excessive intake of caloric sports drinks can substantially increase the risk for overweight or obesity in children and adolescents."

"The biggest danger is probably the displacement of adequate sources of calcium and vitamin D in the diet," said Dr. Stephen Cook, assistant professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. "These beverages are replacing milk, especially the very crucial time of immense bone growth and development."

Instead, athletes should only drink beverages like Gatorade in combination with water after prolonged, vigorous activity when they need to quickly replenish electrolytes. If kids get thirsty before, during or after practice, they should drink water.

Experts say the stimulants in energy drinks can be especially dangerous during intense exercise.

"Using the energy drinks -- as opposed to sports drinks -- as an aid to exercise implies that consumption could occur when heart rate is elevated, raising the risk for heart failure," said Dr. Jana Klauer, a New York physician in private practice who specializes in nutrition.

The report's authors emphasize that kids should never consume sports drinks with meals or just because they are thirsty. Nutritional guidelines recommend that children drink no more than one 8 ounce sugary drink a day, even if they're very active.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio