A recent article posted on the Cleveland Clinic website quoted one doctor as saying otherwise healthy patients in their 30s and 40s can develop strokes or brain hemorrhages from drinking too many energy drinks.
An excess of caffeine and other stimulants in energy drinks can cause cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), a sudden spasm in the blood vessels of the brain. This can cause a stroke or brain hemorrhage.
A thunderclap, or intense, headache, may occur within minutes of consuming an energy drink (or several drinks), and may also cause seizures, tingling and numbness. Some people develop sensitivity to energy drinks after they’ve used them for awhile, while other people develop RCVS right away.
Energy drinks are especially harmful to teen-agers. These drinks can cause anxiety, heart palpitations and high blood pressure in otherwise fit adolescents. Long-term use of energy drinks by teens may cause chronic health problems. One study showed that 43 percent of 13 to 15 year olds had tried energy drinks.
Energy Drinks Are Packed with Sugar and Caffeine
Energy drinks have more calories, caffeine, and sugar than many soft drinks. The sugar and caffeine in cola and energy drinks will boost metabolism, but may ultimately lead to a crash when the effect fades.
A can of Red Bull has 38 grams of sugar, which is the total amount of sugar men should have in a day, and 13 more grams than a woman should consume. Every can has 159 calories.
A Monster Energy Drink contains 113 calories has 79 grams of caffeine and 26 grams of sugar. A large can of RockStar Energy Drink has 278 calories, 158 grams of caffeine and 59 grams of sugar.
In addition to sugar and caffeine, energy drinks also contain ingredients that can be healthy. You’ll find taurine in many energy drinks. Taurine is an amino acid used in body processes, and you’ll find it in your heart, retina and platelets.
Taurine production in your body increases when you’re under stress. You’ll find taurine in fish, red meat and dairy products, but it’s also used in supplements and powders.
Seeds from the South American Guarana plant have more caffeine than any other natural source. You may develop headaches, heartburn, insomnia or irregular heart beats if you consume too much guarana.
Although some of the ingredients in energy drink sound healthy, they can cause problems if you overindulge or have a pre-existing medical condition. If you feel your heart pounding or fluttering after consuming energy drinks or any high-caffeine beverage, stop drinking it and substitute a healthier drink.
You may gain weight due to added sugar and calories in most energy drinks. Overuse may lead to increased heart rate and cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure. Anxiety and caffeine jitters, as well as a caffeine dependency, are also possible.
A small amount of caffeine daily won’t hurt most people. If you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure or heart disease, limit your intake of caffeine.
Alternatives to Energy Drinks
It’s way too easy to grab an energy drink when you feel tired. Convenience stores, supermarkets and vending machines are stocked with all brands of energy drinks. You may think it’s a fast way to boost your mid-day slump, but there are safer ways to increase your metabolism. Here are a few of the best alternatives to energy drinks:
Hydrate with water. Water is needed for the cells in your body to work properly. Bring a water bottle with you to stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration drains you of energy; when you’re well-hydrated, you’ll feel livider. You don’t necessarily need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Drink when you’re thirsty, or at least every few hours.
There are several types of refreshing tea you can drink to increase your energy
Green tea has less caffeine than coffee or black tea. This Japanese favorite also contains a catechin polyphenol called EGCG, which prevent cell damage and slows the aging process.
Anti-inflammatory ginger tea improves blood flow and reduces tensions to relieve sluggishness. Ginger also helps your body secrete adrenal catecholamines to regulate energy. Drinking ginger tea can also stop bloating after overeating, and reduce congestion due to the common cold.
Black tea has less caffeine than coffee and more than green tea – 47 milligrams for every eight ounce cup. Like green tea, black tea has calming L-theanine to smooth out the effects of caffeine.
The health benefits of black tea include a better immune system and lower chance of heart disease.
Black tea is made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, like white tea and oolong tea. Plain old Lipton tea is a good choice, but there are several tasty brands, from English breakfast teas to cinnamon-flavored tea.
Coffee contains polyphenols, antioxidants which can reduce oxidative stress in your cells. Consume moderate amounts of coffee daily, as too much coffee can make you jittery and cause your energy to wane as the caffeine loses its power.
Wheatgrass for Energy
Wheatgrass doesn’t have added sugar or artificial sweeteners. It contains hundreds of nutrients your body needs for optimal health, and you don’t need to worry about calories.
The vitamins and minerals in wheatgrass include potassium and magnesium (for improved heart health, muscles and bones), zinc (for immunity and healing), Vitamin C (body tissue repair, wound healing), B-complex vitamins (energy, nerve function, appetite, and emotional balance), Vitamin K (blood clotting) and hundreds of enzymes.
Wheatgrass is safe and effective when taken in pill or wafer form. REVV Natural Energy Supplement from Wheatgrass Love has 100% natural wheatgrass, caffeine, and periwinkle herb (for increased focus). REVV also has L-taurine, the same ingredient used in energy drinks, in a small but effective amount.
Choline (a lesser-known B vitamin), synthesizes two essential phospholipids needed for cell membranes. It is found in eggs, fish, poultry, meat, potatoes, milk, mushrooms, and other foods, but is also a vital ingredient in REVV.
Take REVV to relieve a mid-afternoon slump, or use it to increase focus for school, work or an athletic competition. Learn more about REVV at Wheatgrasslove.com.