Avoiding Caffeine Overdose from Energy Drinks

Posted on November 21st, 2008 by author  |  6 Comments »

When I was in high school, I tried energy drinks to keep me awake while I was studying for exams. A team manager in a basketball team I’ve been part of also gave me and my teammates Red Bull before every game.

Back then, I would try anything anyone gave me (of course as long as it isn’t drugs or anything illegal) as long as they were taking it too. It’s a good thing I didn’t really like Red Bull or other brands that much to regular drink some.

Red Bull, a product of Austria, sold almost 3.5 billion cans in 143 countries last year. It also owns almost half of the U.S. market for energy drinks. There are also a lot of other brands like Spike, Cocaine and Blow, to name a few.

These drinks, which are supposed to help you regain lost energy, have an alarming side effect – they increase your risk of getting a stroke!

Researchers from Australia have recently reported that just ONE can of Red Bull may increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, even in young people, and that taking Red Bull could be deadly when the drinker is suffering from stress or high blood pressure because it may impair proper blood vessel function.

If you look at the contents of a regular 12-ounce cola, you’ll find that it contains about 35 milligrams of caffeine. Because many energy drinks pass themselves off as “dietary supplements,” the FDA caffeine limit for soft drinks does not apply, and so, energy drinks may contain anywhere from 50 to more than 500 mg of caffeine.

Here are the brands with the most caffeine content (mg of caffeine per ounce):

  • Spike Shooter – 35.7mg/oz (16 oz = 570 mg)
  • Cocaine – 33.3 mg/oz (16 oz = 533 mg)
  • Redline RTD – 31.3 mg/oz (16 oz = 501 mg)
  • Blow – 30 mg/oz (16 oz = 480 mg)
  • Fixx – 25 mg/oz (16 oz = 400 mg)

I was shocked to find out that Ammo, which comes in a 1-oz can, contains 171 mg, while RedLine Power Rush, which comes in a 2.5 oz can, contains 140 mg/oz!

The symptoms of caffeine overdose are similar to mood disorders and can cause:

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness or psychomotor agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) and
  • Death!

Yes, you read that right. Sweden’s National Food Administration actually investigated Red Bull after the deaths of three consumers in 2001.

As I’ve said earlier, since the FDA limit on caffeine for soft drinks does not apply to energy drinks, these caffeine-packed brands do not need to warn consumers of the potential risks of caffeine overdose.

If you often take energy drinks, just check their labels and you will find that composition wise, they don’t differ too much from carbonated beverages because they both contain little nutritional value. The B vitamins and taurine that these energy drinks contain are only negated by their high amounts of caffeine and sugar.

To help you kick the energy drink habit, try to find out why you lack energy in the first place. Is it because you lead a stressful lifestyle at work and at home? Do you have poor nutrition, harbor negative emotions and lack exercise and sleep?

You can increase your energy by simply addressing the above factors. Minimize stress in your life. Eat healthy. Take some dietary supplements. Get enough exercise and sleep.

I’ve personally applied these steps and I can tell you know that I’ll never drink a can of energy drink ever again. I hope you can say the same thing.

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