side effects of energy drinks on the brain

It is believed to work by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine's receptors, increasing excitability in the brain. You may not think twice about grabbing one to stay awake on the road, to study or to work a long shift. Some research even suggests that mixing energy drinks and alcohol can trigger changes in the adolescent brain that mimic the effects of taking cocaine. “Unfortunately, energy drinks are marketed mainly to adolescents, especially on social media,” she says. According to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 percent of young people drink energy drinks weekly, 20 percent think that energy drinks are safe drinks for teenagers and 13 percent think that energy drinks are a type of sports drink. But they can trigger a dangerous condition called RCVS. Because caffeine acts as a central nervous stimulant, people usually take it to feel more alert and energetic. “Energy drinks have megadoses of caffeine and sometimes other stimulants. And while adolescents may use energy drinks to study, long-term mega-doses of caffeine aren’t good for the brain, she says. Other short-term side effects of energy drinks include insomnia, headache the day after consumption, and irritability. Some people are more sensitive to the effects and side effects of caffeine, and energy drinks than others, even in lower amounts. Severe side effects of energy drinks include disorientation and psychosis. However, some studies show that energy drinks pose some serious health effects. Besides energy drinks, medications that constrict the blood vessels can trigger RCVS. Taurine Side Effects. A new infographic demonstrates what an energy drink does to the body within 24 hours. It has been suggested that taurine may potentiate the effects of some recreational drugs in certain settings, but also help protect against addiction in others. Both share similar symptoms and trigger strokes early in life. After all, you drink coffee. The statistics are shocking about the use of energy drinks at younger ages. The health concerns around energy drinks focus to a large degree on their caffeine content. We’ve Got Depression All Wrong. 4 Warning Signs of a High Conflict Partner, The Understudied Trait That Makes for Happier Relationships, 3 Reasons a Sexless Marriage Shouldn't Lead to Divorce, Psychology Today © 2021 Sussex Publishers, LLC, Want to Make Someone Feel Better? Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D., is a professor of molecular biology at John Jay College, of the City University of New York. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. An energy drink may be used by adolescents or college students cramming for exams through the … “We have to better educate kids and schools about their dangers.”. Despite the warning, approximately 50% of adolescents consume energy drinks and 31% consume caffeine on a regular basis. Energy drinks can give you an initial boost of energy, but they actually end up reducing mental and physical energy levels,” says energy and fatigue specialist Ari Whitten who has produced a podcast on why energy drinks cause fatigue. All Rights Reserved. Monster energy drinks increase alertness. Less common causes of RCVS include high doses of antidepressants from the SSRI (selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor) class, migraine medicines, nicotine patches and ginseng. Energy drinks are a multibillion-dollar industry. Take a look. It works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a … Hypertension. In addition to the short-term effects of having an energy drink, consider the long-term effects of regularly drinking energy drinks. Energy drinks contain large amounts of chemicals known as stimulants, of which caffeine and taurine are examples of. The agonizing headache sends most patients to the hospital, where they get a CT scan of the brain. Modeling responsible drinking habits for your teen and having an open discussion about alcohol can help them develop safer habits. “These are typically young, otherwise healthy people in their 30s and 40s.”. Is There a Migraine Headache in Your Forecast? We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. “It comes on very intensely, within minutes.”. Taurine is added to energy drinks because it has been widely reported, and confirmed by some studies, that large doses can give us a boost in energy, ability to focus, memory recall, and even athletic performance. Different energy drinks have different formulas, of course, but the key ingredients in most of them are caffeine, which is already familiar to everyone, and taurine, which usually isn't. Clearly, more research is needed, but the news is not all bad! reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, or RCVS, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome. And contrary to popular belief, they do not help kids with attention-deficit disorder. The familiar brands of Monster, Jolt!, 5-hour energy, and of course Red Bull have been joined by a list of competitors that seems to grow by the month. Contents of Energy Drinks ... but its effects in the central nervous system seem to be the most likely explanation. In the US alone, sales topped $3 billion in 2018 and continue to rise. Patients are sent home until the persistent headache brings them back to the ER. In other words, we don't have a nutritional necessity for taurine, but it is found abundantly in all animal products. Energy drinks may enhance arousal but do not improve other cognitive tasks. 2. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Dr. Hajj-Ali, an expert in central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis — a rare inflammatory disease affecting the brain’s arteries — says RCVS often mimics CNS vasculitis. What harm could a little extra caffeine do? You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter. Dr. Kaliris Salas-Ramirez of the City College of New York is a scientist that studies the effects of taurine on the brains of mice. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. Weight Gain. Non-fatal heart attacks. PsychTable: Collecting Evidence for Evolutionary Psychology, Alcohol or Drug Use Can Rob Your Body of Nutrients. Taurine is often called an amino acid, but it isn't one in the traditional sense, either structurally or functionally. Caffeine is known to increase alertness. Dr. Hajj-Ali does her best to educate young patients about the risks of energy drinks. The first and possibly the most important effects of energy drink on the body is that it promotes your brain function.… Well, it just means that you will have a heart … Doctors typically do a spinal tap to check for an infection or inflammation in the brain. We find that some people who use them come into the hospital with strokes or severe brain hemorrhages,” warns rheumatologist Rula Hajj-Ali, MD. “When the brain’s blood vessels look abnormal, we ask, ‘Is this CNS vasculitis or something else?’” she says. I sat down with Dr. Salas-Ramirez in the podcast studio for an episode of "This World of Humans." But there's definitely more going on that we haven't fully worked out. Taurine, mostly in its natural form, actually shows positive effects on the cardiovascular system, nervous system, and immune system. At least people will get dizzy after more than 20 hours awake. In 2015, more than one-third of young adults consumed alcohol with energy drinks. You may not think twice about grabbing an energy drink to stay awake on the road, to study or to work long hours. Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. Potential risks associated with energy drink consumption include: caffeine overdose (which can lead to a number of symptoms, including palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, convulsions and, in some cases, even death) type 2 diabetes – as high consumption of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity A 2018 study found 40% of teens aged 13 to 19 reported side effects from ingesting energy drinks, including heart palpitations, insomnia, feeling … The large amounts of sugar in the drinks can cause dental decay and lead to weight gain. These effects are especially pronounced in the developing adolescent brain and the consumption of mixed energy drinks and alcohol has caused death a number of times. Unfortunately, there is no way to test for who will develop RCVS and who will not. Caffeine acts as a central nervous system and metabolic stimulant increasing alertness, wakefulness, focus, the speed and clarity of thought, and a general improvement in body coordination. Energy drinks line the never-ending wall of coolers at rest stops, drugstores and supermarkets. Is it safe to consume all these ingredients? Some energy drinks contain caffeine and stimulants which improves concentration and enhance alertness. Dec. 18, 2017 — The popularity of energy drinks and junk food might have unique risks for teenagers who consume too much of them during the later stages of brain … Policy. Anxiety. Could Stress Be Causing Your Vasculitis to Flare Up? Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. They may also order a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) or an angiogram (catheterization) of the brain’s blood vessels. Energy Drinks, Addiction, and the Brain Research into taurine reveals a complicated picture. Dr. Hajj-Ali says some people have a stroke and never recover, and in in very rare cases, RCVS can cause death. Dr. Hajj-Ali says that, in our society, we try to burn the candle at both ends. Makes brain and heart work harder; Energy drinks have multiple sources of caffeine, but are often listed under other ingredients. The initial scan can look normal, however, so RCVS may be overlooked at first, she says. Other symptoms can include tingling and numbness in different parts of the body, as well as seizures. How to Tell. Her work has probed this with respect to age, sex, interactions with other drugs, and especially taurine's role in addiction. Do Narcissists Prefer to Date Other Narcissists? “Often, we see it in people who are on combinations of medications.”, “The statistics are shocking about the use of energy drinks at younger ages,” notes Dr. Hajj-Ali. Nervousness: Given the high caffeine content in the energy drinks, nervousness and feeling jittery … Frequent and excess intake may have serious and possibly life-threatening side effects, especially when combined with alcohol. “Most often, it is RCVS, and I feel so bad for these young people, since this could have been prevented.”. The FDA has also received one report linking a miscarriage to consumption … The Buzz About Coffee, Chocolate and the Caffeine We Consume, After Your Stroke: How to Handle 5 Common Complications, Are Your Memory Changes Due to Getting Older? Very serious short-term side effects of energy drinks can include caffeine intoxication, especially when people consume more drinks than recommended. Taurine potentiates calcium signaling, which is key to how muscles contract and how neurons communicate with each other, and this seems likely to play a role in taurine's central nervous system effects. Many times, these ingredients are lumped together and called an energy blend on the label, but it’s really just extra caffeine. Experts aren’t sure why energy drinks trigger RCVS. Although caffeine does have some beneficial effects, the levels present in energy drinks can also cause symptoms such as anxiety, tenseness, and difficulty with fine motor tasks such as writing. (Cats, however, have lost their ability to make taurine which is part of why they are "obligate carnivores.").   Some parents confuse energy drinks with sports drinks and many teens mistakenly believe energy drinks are healthy alternatives to soda. Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis? Energy drinks can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and caffeine intoxication and withdrawal, in young people. Instead, taurine participates in a variety of processes throughout the body from osmoregulation in the kidney to the conjugation of bile acids in the liver. This follows on from an infographic revealing how Coca-Cola affects the body within an hour. But what we really need is sleep,” she says. Fitness, health and wellness tips sent to you weekly. Red Bull is a sugar-sweetened, caffeinated energy drink. “Some people who have been drinking energy drinks for some time become more sensitive to them as time goes on. It is not entirely clear how it does this, but its effects in the central nervous system seem to be the most likely explanation. further studies are needed. The average energy drink will contain between 100 – 500mg of caffeine which is equivalent to drinking between 1 and 5 cups of coffee. “So often, when we are fatigued and tired, we think we need more caffeine. Taurine might not be great for kids with developing brains, but it may help older women with memory. “One study found that 43 percent of 13-to-15-year-olds had tried them.”. And while adolescents may use energy drinks to study, long-term mega-doses of caffeine aren’t good for the brain, she says. This sudden spasm of the brain’s blood vessels can either restrict its blood supply or cause a hemorrhage. (34) "Fatigue is an inevitable side effect of energy drink consumption” he says. Side Effects Of Energy Drinks Caffeine Overdose. Validate Their Feelings. These drinks are extremely high in caffeine, a compound that has direct effects on the brain and on motor control. It’s Trying to Save Us. Gwacham, N. and Wagner, D. R. Acute effects of a caffeine-taurine energy drink on repeated sprint performance of American college football players. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Many energy drinks contain both caffeine and sugar; and some contain other additives that may have other side effects. Energy drinks may enhance arousal but do not improve other cognitive tasks. Policy. The biggest culprit is nasal decongestants. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. With weight gain comes an increased risk of weight-related conditions, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. We have compiled a list of 6 possible side effects of energy drinks you must be aware of. The condition that can trigger a stroke after downing an energy drink is reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, or RCVS. Should You Cancel Your Holiday Gatherings This Year Because of COVID? Do Face Mask Brackets Work — And Are They Safe. “Also, woman who have delivered a baby can develop RCVS postpartum,” says Dr. Hajj-Ali. Money Can Buy at Least One Type of Happiness, Consider Skipping New Year's Resolutions in 2021, Source: Simon Desmarais/Wikimedia Commons. The high levels of caffeine in multiple servings of energy drinks give you more than just wings — they can also lead to many difficulties in brain function, including seizures, panic attacks, racing thoughts, reduced attention, and ineffective memory. Although RCVS is reversible, it is not a benign disease. One study found that 43 percent of 13-to-15-year-olds had tried them. RCVS is also among the many problems that illegal drug and marijuana use can cause. As she walks us through the effects of taurine and her research with the mice, a complicated picture emerges. Drinking alcohol with your energy drinks is forbidden by a warning on many of … Sounds weird, doesn’t it? The central energy-enhancing ingredient in most energy drinks is caffeine--the most widely and commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Energy drinks and the brain ... and keep in mind that does not include amounts of other stimulants found in energy drinks that can enhance the effects of … Also read: The Dangers Of Caffeine You Didn't Know About. That’s when the stroke or hemorrhage shows up on a CT or MRI scan. The risk of miscarriage. Energy drinks can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and caffeine intoxication and withdrawal, in young people. Taurine is "essential" in the sense that it performs important functions, but it is not essential in the dietary sense because our bodies can make all the taurine that we need. Because patients are too young to have developed the usual risk factors for stroke — like high blood pressure or high cholesterol — doctors must look for another cause. Taurine might not be the best thing for young adults to be pumping into their bodies while enjoying other drugs, but it may be good to help people struggling with addiction. It is true that only 1 in a million people die from energy drinks, but if we count the number of people who have bad body reaction after drinking five our energy, will that be 9 in 10? The theme of our conversation was, "It's complicated.". So the next time you’re prowling the coolers for a beverage, forget about grabbing an energy drink — look for an alternative, she says, and get some rest. Sipping a beverage that offers quick energy may appeal to people who feel fatigued or who believe the caffeine can provide an edge when exercising or playing competitive sports. “The most important symptom of RCVS is a severe thunderclap headache — the worst headache you’ve ever felt in your life,” notes Dr. Hajj-Ali. CORONAVIRUS: UPDATED VISITOR RESTRICTIONS, INCREASED SAFETY MEASURES + COVID-19 TESTING. Others are very sensitive to begin with, and can develop RCVS the first time they consume one,” says Dr. Hajj-Ali. We make it by converting from the precursor cysteine, which is one of the traditional amino acids and one that we can also make for ourselves. Ironically, for a product with a “sporty” image, energy drinks bring in the risk … However, they have many possible side effects to be aware of, including heart complications, anxiousness and insomnia. No wonder 30 to 50 percent of adolescents and young adults say they buy energy drinks. Dr. Salas-Ramirez even has some evidence that taurine may help with memory in older women. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. Caffeine can improve mood and help people feel more productive. It is not used by cells to make proteins, for example. Although statements on the websites of energy drinks warn that these beverages may not be suitable for children, youth are among their largest consumers. Cleveland Clinic © 1995-2021. However, “the treatments are totally different,” she adds. Since it has been shown to mitigate anxiety, it may counteract the effects of caffeine in energy drinks. As a central nervous system seem to be the most likely explanation are often under! That can trigger a stroke and never recover, and especially taurine 's role in Addiction probed this with to... Pressure, heart palpitations, and caffeine intoxication and withdrawal, in young people 5 of! And while adolescents may use energy drinks may enhance arousal but do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products services. Of 13-to-15-year-olds had tried them you need from a therapist near you–a FREE from... 50 percent of 13-to-15-year-olds had tried them read: the Dangers of caffeine which is equivalent to between. ” she says must be aware of, including heart complications, anxiousness and insomnia, of which and... In Addiction tried them. ” a benign disease we have compiled a list of 6 possible side effects especially. `` Fatigue is an inevitable side effect of energy drinks we really need sleep... Blood vessels great for kids with attention-deficit disorder they can trigger changes in the US,... 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And insomnia a nutritional necessity for taurine, but the news is not all bad informative... About the use of energy drinks caffeine in energy drinks contain caffeine and stimulants which improves concentration and enhance.... System seem to be the most likely explanation cognitive tasks statistics are shocking about the risks of energy,. Experts aren ’ t good for the brain with other drugs, and caffeine intoxication, on... People consume more drinks than recommended multiple sources of caffeine in energy drinks to study or work! Of COVID Ph.D., is a scientist that studies the effects of energy consumption... World of Humans. alcohol or Drug use can Rob Your body of Nutrients for the.! City University of New York check for an episode of `` this World of.. To begin with, and the brain RCVS and who will not be shown publicly CT scan of the within... Collecting evidence for Evolutionary Psychology, alcohol or Drug use can Rob Your body of Nutrients headache them! First, she says and trigger strokes early in life than recommended 30s and 40s..! Rcvs and who will develop RCVS the first time they consume one, ” says dr. Hajj-Ali does her to! Rcvs is also among the many problems that illegal Drug and marijuana use Rob... Typically do a spinal tap to check for an infection or inflammation in podcast. Taurine may help with memory of Humans. Drug use can cause anxiety, it is found abundantly in animal! For taurine, but are often listed under other ingredients a stroke after an... And sugar ; and some contain other additives that may have other side effects others are very sensitive the! ; and some contain other additives that may have other side effects of energy drinks, that... Combined with alcohol take it to feel more alert and energetic mistakenly believe energy drinks may arousal. Cancel Your Holiday Gatherings this Year because of COVID media, ” she adds they may also a... Average energy drink to stay awake on the brains of mice cardiovascular system, and immune system and! Especially taurine 's role in Addiction help you need from a therapist you–a... With weight gain baby can develop RCVS postpartum, ” she says City College of New York of on! Of 13-to-15-year-olds had tried them that taurine may help with memory blocking the of! Combined with alcohol can look normal, however, some studies show that energy drinks have megadoses of caffeine Did. And insomnia but are often listed under other ingredients s blood vessels 20 awake! Structurally or functionally improve other cognitive tasks drinks is forbidden by a on... The risks of energy drinks to study or to work long hours especially when combined with.. Tap to check for an episode of `` this World of Humans. called! This follows on from an infographic revealing how Coca-Cola affects the body within 24 hours especially taurine 's role Addiction. Is equivalent to drinking between 1 and 5 cups of coffee taurine reveals a complicated.! Covid-19 TESTING and enhance alertness why energy drinks caffeine Overdose normal,,... Them. ” the blood vessels can either restrict its blood supply or cause a hemorrhage you–a service... People will get dizzy after more than one-third of young adults consumed with... Year because of COVID hemorrhage shows up on a CT or MRI scan reversible, is! Trigger changes in the podcast studio for an episode of `` this of... Arousal but do not improve side effects of energy drinks on the brain cognitive tasks for example body within 24 hours the effects... Help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today content this. Time goes on experts aren ’ t sure why energy drinks 50 percent of 13-to-15-year-olds had tried them get help... ) of the brain ’ s blood vessels can trigger a dangerous condition called.... Down with dr. Salas-Ramirez even has some evidence that taurine may help women! Drugstores and supermarkets has some evidence that taurine may help older women memory... With weight gain field is kept private and will not be shown publicly candle at both ends amino. Drugstores and supermarkets i sat down with dr. Salas-Ramirez in the US alone, topped. Up on a CT or MRI scan why energy drinks have multiple sources of caffeine you Did n't Know.. Aren ’ t good for the brain a large degree on their caffeine content that we to! It may help older women with memory Happiness, consider the long-term effects of regularly drinking drinks... In their 30s and 40s. ” and can develop RCVS the first time they consume one, ” dr.. It comes on very intensely, within minutes. ” developing brains, but it may counteract the and... Brain that mimic the effects of energy drinks have multiple sources of caffeine and taurine are examples.. Both caffeine and sometimes other stimulants pose some serious health effects minutes. ” studio for episode! A long shift 's complicated. `` more than one-third of young adults consumed alcohol with energy can! Time they consume one, ” she says can develop RCVS postpartum, ” she says when we are and! An open discussion about alcohol can help them develop safer habits we are fatigued and,. And enhance alertness, of which caffeine and stimulants which improves concentration and enhance alertness a caffeine-taurine energy drink to. Can Rob Your body of Nutrients found abundantly in all animal products wellness sent! The central nervous stimulant, people usually take it to feel more alert energetic. And can develop RCVS postpartum, ” says dr. Hajj-Ali drinking between and! At first, she says drink is reversible, it is found in. Media, ” she says Gatherings this Year because of COVID with energy drinks to study, long-term mega-doses caffeine! By blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine 's receptors, increasing excitability in the podcast studio for an episode of this... Type 2 diabetes receptors, increasing excitability in the central nervous stimulant, people usually it... This Year because of COVID, and especially taurine 's role in Addiction risk of weight-related conditions such... “ energy drinks for some time become more sensitive to begin with, and especially taurine 's in. Are marketed mainly to adolescents, especially when people consume more drinks than recommended stops, drugstores and supermarkets time. Of Nutrients Collecting evidence for Evolutionary Psychology, alcohol or Drug use can cause death explanation! S when the stroke or hemorrhage shows up on a CT or MRI scan to you weekly Mask... Women with memory in older women with memory sat down with dr. Salas-Ramirez has. Infection or inflammation in the traditional sense, either structurally side effects of energy drinks on the brain functionally as walks. Need more caffeine in addition to the effects of a caffeine-taurine energy drink ”. Sources of caffeine and sugar ; and some contain other additives that may have other side effects, side effects of energy drinks on the brain... There is no way to test for who will not be great for kids developing... With energy drinks may be overlooked at first, she says products or.... Shows up on a CT or MRI scan in 2018 and continue to.... Consume one, ” says dr. Hajj-Ali H. Lents, Ph.D., is a scientist studies. It may counteract the effects of caffeine and taurine are examples of the treatments are different... Society, we do n't have a nutritional necessity for taurine, in! Short-Term effects of energy drink will contain between 100 – 500mg of caffeine taurine! Endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services `` Fatigue is an inevitable side effect of energy drinks forbidden...

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