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Health eTips is produced by the staff of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The department consists of three divisions - Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services - that provide a wide range of services focused on enhancing the well-being of this community.

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May 10

Energy Drinks

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 2:26 PM by Doug Bolnick


Many people choose drinks with large doses of caffeine and other stimulants to get a boost. Others choose these products to improve performance. However, as some of these products contain double or triple the caffeine as a can of soda or a cup of coffee, there can be health dangers associated with excessive use of energy drinks.Cartoon of a young man examining his drink cup

Typically containing 75 to 200 milligrams of caffeine — or a combination of natural stimulants like B vitamins, guarana, taurine, ginseng or other ingredients — energy drinks will provide a temporary boost. In addition to the caffeine, these products often are high in sugar, with up to 27 teaspoons in some cans.

In moderation, caffeinated beverages are considered to be safe, but problems arise with excessive drinking. The desired energy surge can have the negative effect of boosting heart rate, increasing blood pressure and triggering heart complications. The diuretic effect of caffeine and other stimulants will increase urine output and excessive sweating, which can cause dehydration and cramping that hurt performance. Additionally, when used regularly, the products can disrupt routine sleep patterns, leading to irritability, anxiety and insomnia. A final concern is headaches related to caffeine withdrawal.

When combining energy drinks with alcohol, a number of serious concerns arise. The combination of stimulants with the depressants in alcohol masks intoxication. This can prevent an individual from realizing their impairments. As a result, research shows that those who combine energy drinks with alcohol often record a higher Blood Alcohol Content and are three times more likely to binge drink.

For those seeking an energy boost, there are healthier options. A proper diet will give you all the energy and nutrients necessary to function at a high level. A thorough checkup by your medical provider and regular, intense exercise will prepare your body to function at peak levels. Finally, as your body needs time to recover from the day’s activities, adequate sleep will improve your alertness for the next day.

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