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Energy drinks lead to serious health problems

Photo By: dollargeneral.com


Courtney Heinnickel, Staff Writer

Many college students are familiar with the large variety of energy drinks on the market today, and many may also have a preference as well. With so many different brands, flavors, prices, and designs, it’s no wonder why students are relying on them to stay awake through the long nights of studying. However, there are many underlying risks that come with these drinks. Studies show that energy drinks increase stroke risk by 500% due to irregular heartbeats. The primary ingredients of most energy drinks are caffeine and sugar. Many energy drinks also contain aspartame, the artificial sweetener that has been linked to neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic, fetal, and carcinogenic effects.

One example of this danger resides in the famous drink Red Bull which has recently been associated with cardiovascular problems, including stroke and heart attack. It has been banned in Norway, Denmark, and Uruguay, and France stopped selling it between 1996 and 2008. Red Bull thickens the blood and provides the body with an unnatural level of stimulation. Scott Willoughby, the lead researcher from the Cardiovascular Research Center at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, reports that one hour after drinking just one can of Red Bull, blood consistency of the research participants became abnormal and resembled that of a heart patient. Willoughby warns that when combined with stress or high blood pressure, Red Bull can cause damage to blood vessels and creates the risk of blood clotting. This is especially dangerous for people who have a predisposition to cardiovascular disease.

Red Bull’s primary ingredients are caffeine and sugar. It also contains aspartame, the artificial sweetener that causes previously mentioned effects. Red Bull’s original manufacturer in Austria even warns their customers not to drink more than two cans a day. It also contains different chemicals that have not been properly researched yet. Many people also combine it with alcohol, which adds to the potential dangers. This includes mixing a stimulant with a depressant. This can overload the body and lead to serious health problems. According to an article published in 2001 in the journal Medicine, Science, and Law, when combined with ephedra, which is also a stimulant, Red Bull can cause acute psychosis.

Red Bull may have some of the most studies, but many of these energy drinks that are on the market also contain similar ingredients. About 20 percent of the population is sensitive to caffeine, and for them, just one energy drink could cause a heart-rhythm problem. It is also worth mentioning that after consuming an entire can of Red Bull, the effects only last for about twenty minutes before leading into the crash effect.

Perhaps less notable, the ingredients inside each can of an energy drink can also lead to weaker teeth. The chemicals inside the drinks deteriorate the teeth and can cause them to become weak and brittle over long periods of time and consumption.

Although these drinks can help with late nights and study sessions, the effects may only be short term placebo effects. Keep these statistics in mind the next time you crack open an energy drink to get you through a study session.