Energy drinks are beverages which contain chemical constituents that are said to improve physical and mental performance. Most of them primarily contain varying amounts of caffeine, guarana, ginseng and taurine. This study aims to provide a critical review regarding the adverse effects of excessive daily intake of energy drinks. Five commercially available energy drinks were used as the subject of the study. The average consumption of a certain component was compared to the serving size included in each product. It was found out that the consumption of the ingredients more than the recommended amounts per day may cause physiological side effects. There is no medical use for energy drinks, however several ingredients in some of these drinks have been found to be helpful in the medical perspective.
Keyword(s): energy drinks
In the past decades, the beverage industry paved the way to the rise of caffeinated energy drinks in the market. Back in early 1960s, it first appeared in Europe and Asia in response to the consumers’ demand for a dietary supplement that would result in increased energy (Reissig et al., 2009). Basically, energy drinks refer to beverages that contain mainly caffeine, alongside other active constituents which includes varying amounts of guarana extract, taurine, vitamins, amino acids and herbal extracts. These purportedly provide benefits such as increased mental alertness, physical endurance, performance and stamina (Simon and Mosher, 2007; Babu et al., 2008). Conversely, there is inadequate evidence that consumption of energy drinks can significantly improve both physical and mental performance (Scholey and Kennedy, 2004).
The wide availability and distribution of energy drinks makes them readily accessible for purchase by adolescents. Market surveys indicate that 31% of those aged 12 to 17 are regular consumers of energy drinks, as are 34% of aged 18 to 24 (Simon and Mosher, 2007). Concerns have been raised regarding the effects of the ingredients present in energy drinks on children and adolescents. This study was conducted due to the core objective of making the public aware of the adverse effects of energy drinks, especially to children. Adverse reactions and toxicity from high-energy drinks mainly root from their caffeine content (Reissig et al., 2009). The fatal dose of pure caffeine in adults is 5 to 10 grams when taken orally and 3.5 grams by injection. In children, the fatal dose is much lower (Health Canada, 2000).
Children who consume too much caffeine are at higher risk for behavioral effects, such as anxiety, mood changes and loss of attentiveness. A daily intake of less than 45 to 85 mg is recommended, depending on the child’s health condition (Health Canada, 2003). Based on a survey, it was found out that 42.3% of the youth (ages 11 to 18) consumes energy drinks (O’Dea, 2003). At risk children having excessive daily intake of caffeine should be limited to no more than 2.5 mg caffeine/kg body weight, and may need to avoid consuming energy beverages with higher caffeine content. Adolescents should limit caffeine consumption as well as intakes greater than 100 mg/day for reports says that it has been directly correlated with an increase in blood pressure (Savoca et al., 2004).
2. Materials and Methods
2.1 Research Design
The research is focused on the components of energy drinks where five products were sampled namely Product A, B, C, D, and E. The researchers acquired a sample of each product.
2.2 Sampling and Acquisition of Samples
Products A, B, C, D, and E were randomly sampled. Fish bowl sampling was used where the names of these products were written on a piece of paper. Out of 7, 5 products of energy drink were picked from a bowl. Slovin’s formula was used and the margin of error was set to 20%. One out of seven is the probability of each to be chosen. The 5 energy drink products were acquired through purchase.
2.3 Gathering of Information
Each of the products underwent examining of the researchers. The composition information has been referred to for the determination of ingredients of each product. The data was listed and tabulated (Refer to Table 3.1). This was done to compare their components and to determine which products share the same components. Nutrition information was also included.
2.4Analysis of the Components
The ingredients of products were analyzed through research. The researchers studied the primary and side effects of some of the ingredients. The average consumption of an average human of a certain component was compared to the serving size included in each product.
3. Results and Discussion
Figure 1. Nutrition Information and Ingredients of Product A.
SERVINGS PER PACK: 1 SERVING SIZE: 180mL| | PER 180mL (1 serving)| %RENI* or %U.S.-DRI**|
Calories| 50Kcal| 2%|
Total Fat| 0g| -|
Sodium| 0g| -|
Total Carbohydrate| 12.5g| 10%*|
Sugar| 12.5g| -|
Vitamin B1| 1.2mg| 100%|
Vitamin B2| 1.7mg| 131%|
Niacinamide| 20mg| 125%|
Vitamin B6| 1.9mg| 146%|
Inositol| 50mg| -|
Ginseng| 25mg| -|
Royal Jelly| 100mg| -|
Iron| 5mg| 42%|
Taurine| 1000mg| -|
Caffeine (anhydrous)| 50mg| -|
*Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intakes fro Filipinos
**U.S. – Dietary Reference Intake (used if no RENI)
Ingredients: Sucrose, Taurine, Citric Acid, Nature-identical Flavors, Royal Jelly, Sodium Benzoate, Inositol, Caffeine, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Sucralose, Ginseng Extract (Panax), Mulitivitamins, Pure Water
Figure 2. Nutrition Information and Ingredients of Product B.
SERVINGS PER PACK: 1 SERVING SIZE: 330mL| | PER SERVING| %RENI*|
Energy| 211Kcal| -|
Carbohydrate| 54g| -|
Vitamin B3| 10mg| 62%|
Vitamin B6| 1.3mg| 102%|
VitaminB12| 1.3mcg| 55%|
Ginseng Extract| 9.9mg| -|
Inositol| 23mg| -|
Taurine| 145mg| -|
*%RENI are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Maltodextrin, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Taurine, Potassium Sorbate, Caffeine, Sodium Benzoate, Allura Red(Colorant), Inositol, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Modified Food Starch, Panax Ginseng Extract, Niacinamide, Ascorbic Acid, Cyanocobalamin, (0.1%) Pyridoxine Hydrochloride.
Figure 3. Nutrition Information and Ingredients of Product C.
SERVING SIZE: 1 SERVING SIZE: 150mL| | PER SERVING| %Daily Values*|
Calories| 110| -|
Total Fat| 0g| 0%|
Sodium| 240mg| 10%|
Total Carbohydrate| 26g| 9%|
– Sugars| 26g| -|
Protein| less than 1g| -|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Ingredients: Taurine – 1,000 mg, Caffeine – 75 mg, Inositol – 50 mg, Lysine – 50 mg, Choline Bitartrate – 50 mg, Nicotinamide – 20 mg, Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6) – 1.3 mg, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12) – 2.4 mcg, Tartrazine
C.I. 19140 (Yellow 5), Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Sugar and Artificially Flavoured.
Figure 4. Nutrition Information and Ingredients of Product D.
SERVING SIZE: ≈ 1.5 SERVING SIZE: 8 fl. oz. (240mL)| | PER SERVING| %Daily Values*|
Calories| 195| -|
Total Fat| 3g| 1.2%|
Sodium| 49mg| 2%|
Total Carbohydrates| 39g| 15%|
Protein| 3g| 1.2%|
Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vit. B1)| 1.35mg| 90%|
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6)| 1.35mg| 68%|
Niacinamide| 7mg| 37%|
Vitamin B12| 0.70mcg| 12%|
Taurine| 105mg| -|
Inositol| 16mg| -|
*%Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Ingredients: Water, Sugar, Citric Acid, Flavoring, Sodium Citrate, Taurine, Caffeine, Sodium Benzoate, Tartrazine, Inositol, Ginseng Powder, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Sunset Yellow, Thiamine HCl (Vit. B1), Pyridoxine HCl (Vit. B6), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12).
Figure 5. Nutrition Information and Ingredients of Product E.
INGREDIENTS| A| B| C| D| E|
Water/Carbonated Water| +| +| +| | +|
Sucrose| +| +| +| +| +|
Glucose| +| | | | |
Citric Acid| +| +| +| +| +|
Glucuronolactone| +| | | | |
Taurine| +| +| +| +| +|
Sodium Citrate| +| | +| | +|
Sodium Chloride| +| | | | |
Natural Flavors| +| +| | | |
Artificial Flavors| +| | +| +| |
Caffeine| +| +| +| +| +|
Inositol| +| +| +| +| +|
Guarana Seed Extract| +| | | | |
Panax Ginseng| +| +| +| | +|
Niacin (Vit. B3)| +| | +| +| +|
Panthotenic Acid (Vit. B5)| +| | | | |
Riboflavin (Vit. B2)| +| | | | |
Pyroxidine HCL (Vit. B6)| +| | +| +| +|
Cynocobalamin (Vit. B12)| +| | +| +| +|
Eu Energy Blend| +| | | | |
Maltodextrin| | | +| | |
Sodium Hexametaphosphate| | | +| | |
Potassium Sorbate| | | +| | |
Sodium Benzoate| | +| +| | +|
Calcium Disodium EDTA| | | +| | |
Modified Food Starch| | | +| | |
Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C)| | | +| | |
Lysine| | | | +| |
Choline Bitartrate| | | | +| |
Tartrazine| | | | +| +|
Food Coloring| |
Allura Red| | | +| | |
Caramel Color| +| | | | |
Sunset Yellow| | | | | +|
Thiamine HCl (Vit. B1)| | | | | +|
Ginseng powder| | | | | +|
Ferric Pyrophosphate| | +| | | |
Sucralose| | +| | | |
Multivitamins| | +| | | |
Table 3.1. Common ingredients present among the energy beverages.
Table 3.1 shows the ingredients of products A, B, C, D, and E. Any formulated energy drink may contain the ingredients listed above. All 5 contain carbohydrates, particularly sucrose, and citric acid. Product C has the highest average quantity of carbohydrates which includes sugar, per serving with 54 g. It is followed by Product E with 39 g., Product A with 34 g., Product D with 26 g., and Product B with 12.5 g., respectively. Product A, C, D, and E has Niacin, Pyroxidine Hydrochloride and Cyanocobalamin.
Riboflavin is present in Product A while product E has Thiamine Hydrochloride. Vitamin B12, Cyanocobalamin, which is present in Product A, C, D, and E has quantities 2 mcg, 1.3 mcg, 2.4 mcg, 0.70 mcg per serving respectively. In Vitamin B12 Dosing Guidelines for General Supplementation, the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin B12 for 14 years old and above is 2.4 mcg daily. An intake of one serving of Product D could supply the daily need of the body of an average teenager and adult while product per serving is 0.83 % of our body’s needs for B12 everyday (http://women.emedtv.com). The RDAs indicate the adequate intake of a body for a nutrient.
Panax Ginseng is found to be present in Products A, B, C, and E. This ingredient is claimed to play a role on mental, physical and sexual performance. It is said that it could lower blood pressure and control blood glucose but there is no current scientific evidence yet on its efficacy (Ernst, 2002).
Up to 3,000 mg day of supplemental taurine is safe as considered (http://www.mayoclinic.com). Taurine is an amino acid that may lower blood pressure where systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure in subjects with hypertension have been reduced by 6 grams of supplementary taurine every day (Kohashi et al., 1988). Taurine is present in Product A, B, C, D, and E. It is claimed to control hypertension yet there is insufficient evidence that it can significantly lower the risks of diabetes and epilepsy according to what it is claimed to be.
The caffeine present in coffee and pharmaceutical drugs is said to be unhealthy. The caffeine naturally contained in a few herbs such as Yerba Mate, Guarana, Kola Nut, and Green Tea, is naturally occurring caffeine, also known as “bio-caffeine” and is non-addictive. Moreover, herbal teas are stimulants in nature due to other chemicals beside caffeine. These other stimulants found naturally occurring in herbs, i.e. “mateine” (found in Yerba Mate), have similar reaction on the body like caffeine does, but they are not addictive at all (http://dherbs.com/). All products were found out to contain caffeine. But among the other products, only Product A has guarana extract (1 gram of guarana is approximately 40 mg of caffeine). Canadian Guidelines recommend an intake of no more than 85 mg/day for people with ages ranging from 12 years old and above. In a research conducted by Warzak et al. (2010), the hours of sleep is negatively correlated with the amount of caffeine intake.
Consumption of caffeine may also affect cognitive decline due to its association with a wide range of clinical variables (Ritchie, 2007). Caffeine may cause a persistent effect on the neurochemical system (Sobotka, 1989). Caffeine on children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was more effective than no treatment in declining impulsivity, aggression, and parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of children’s symptom severity, compared with Methylphenidate and Amphetamines (http://jad.sagepub.com/). Caffeine is a potent stimulant, thus it may reduce daytime tiredness and improve mental focus. However, researches are still a must regarding caffeine’s effects on the functioning of adolescents and adults with ADHD.
After examining the ingredients of the energy drinks, the consumption of the ingredients more than the recommended amounts per day may cause physiological side effects. Caffeinated beverages, to be considered safe, must be limited of no more than the adequate intake of an average man, if a serving is formulated to be consumed once daily. Limited ingestion of these energy drinks most likely does not cause adverse effects. Energy drinks are composed mainly of carbohydrates and different ingredients like taurine, caffeine, and Panax Ginseng which are safe provided that it would be consumed in proper amounts. Caffeine, which is common to many energy drinks, was found out to decline some behavior impairments associated with ADHD such as aggression and impulsivity.
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