Energy Drinks

What are energy drinks?

Energy drinks are drinks that are sold as a way to boost energy. They often contain stimulants such as:

  • Caffeine
  • Guarana
  • Ginseng
  • Yerba mate
  • Green tea

Many energy drinks also contain vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. Some of the most common are:

  • B complex vitamins
  • Acai
  • Taurine
  • Carnitine
  • Inositol
  • Creatine

Many energy drinks also contain a lot of sugar. Some diet energy drinks are made with artificial sweeteners.

What effects do energy drinks have?

Athletes often use energy drinks to help them do better in workouts and in competition.

Caffeine affects many parts of the body:

  • It stimulates the brain and makes you feel wide awake, energetic, and better able to concentrate.
  • It makes your heart beat faster.
  • It helps you move faster.
  • It helps you go longer without feeling tired.
  • It makes you less sensitive to pain.
  • It helps muscles to work better.

Too much caffeine can cause:

  • Restlessness, jumpiness, nervousness, and trouble sleeping
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Twitching muscles
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain.

You also can become caffeine tolerant. This means you need more and more caffeine to get the desired effect. If you become dependent on caffeine, you have short-term withdrawal symptoms when you go without it. You may feel tired, have a headache, or be irritable.

Caffeine is banned by the NCAA if too high an amount is found in your urine. Drinking 100 mg to 300 mg is enough to improve your performance. Doses higher than 300 mg increase the risk of side effects. Many energy drinks have more than 300 mg in an 8-ounce serving. There may be 2 or 3 servings per can.

Energy drinks may contain many kinds of ingredients. Some of these may cause athletes to test positive for a banned substance. If you are an athlete, make sure that all the ingredients are safe and not banned by your sport.

How can I take care of myself?

  • Know how much caffeine is in the energy drinks you use.
  • Track how much caffeine you get from energy drinks every day.
  • Listen to your body. Know how the energy drink affects you. If you have ill effects, cut back.
  • Don’t try using an energy drink to give you a boost during competition if you haven’t used one before.
  • Be careful when you drink energy drinks regularly. It is easy to build tolerance.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-03-10
Last reviewed: 2014-03-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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