Energy drinks: Getting wings but at what health cost?

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Reprinted from Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences Vol. 30 No.6 
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.12669/pjms.306.5396

Energy drinks: Getting wings
but at what health cost?
Nahla Khamis Ibrahim1, Rahila Iftikhar2 

SUMMARY

Energy drink consumption represents a global public health problem, especially among adolescents and young adults. The consumption of energy drinks has seen a substantial increase during the past few decades, especially in the Western and Asian countries. Although manufacturers of energy drinks claim that these beverages are beneficial in that they can boost energy, physical performance, and improve cognitive performance, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support these claims. The known and unknown pharmacology of the constituents of energy drinks, supplemented with reports of toxicity, raise concern for the potentially severe adverse events linked with energy drink use. Limited numbers of reviews have been published on this important subject..The aim of this review was to identify the major ingredients in energy drinks and to delineate the adverse effects related to their consumption.

Methods: Electronic databases of PubMed, Clinical Key, and Google and Cochrane library were extensively searched for energy drink articles. More than hundred articles were reviewed, scrutinized and critically appraised and the most relevant forty articles were used.

Conclusion: Energy drinks & its ingredients are potentially dangerous to many aspects of health. Measures should be taken to improve awareness among adolescents and their parents regarding the potential hazards of energy drinks. Furthermore, the sale of energy drinks on college and university campuses and to adolescents below 16 years should be prohibited.

KEY WORDS: Adverse health effects, Energy drinks, Soft drinks, Caffeine.

1. Nahla Khamis Ibrahim,
     MBBCh, MPH, Dr.PH, DHPE.
2. Rahila Iftikhar, FCPS, MRCGP.

Correspondence:

Nahla Khamis Ibrahim,
Prof. of Epidemiology & Public Health,
Family & Community Medicine Dept.,
King Abdulaziz University,
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
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