Children, Adolescents and parents need to be educated regarding potential hazards of consuming energy drinks

Print

After Fast Food, Energy Drinks may become another Public Health problem

Children, Adolescents and parents need to
be educated regarding potential hazards
of consuming energy drinks

Some of the known adverse events include increase in heart rate
& blood pressure, adverse affect on arterial stiffness, Myocardial
infarction, overweight and obesity, increase in the risk for
diabetes, cardio-metabolic diseases, hypokalemia, renal
impairment & dental erosions

Increasing use of energy drinks by children, adolescents in the Asian countries are likely to emerge as another public health problem. First they were addicted to the Fast Food and now energy drink producers are attracting the youth who are not aware of their adverse effects. In a comprehensive Review published in the current issue of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences (www.pjms.com.pk) entitled “ Energy Drinks: Getting Wings but at what Health Cost” Nahla Khamis Ibrahim and Rahila Iftikhar from Saudi Arabia have highlighted the potential hazards associated with the consumption of energy drinks. They have supplemented their observations with numerous international scientific studies conducted in different countries of the world which have referred to these potential adverse effects. They have suggested that children, adolescents and parents need to be educated regarding the adverse effects of Energy Drinks.

Some of the known adverse events related to the consumption of Energy Drinks include increase in the Heart Rate and Blood Pressure, adverse effects on arterial stiffness, myocardial infarction, overweight and obesity, increase in the risk of diabetes and cardio metabolic diseases, hypokalemia, renal impairment and dental erosions. They have concluded that 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.

They have further stated that “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”.

It may be mentioned here that Energy drinks’ are fortified beverages with added dietary supplements which are different from soft drinks. They contain higher levels of caffeine in addition to sugars and other dietary supplements. Producers of energy drinks claim that these beverages contain natural ingredients that increase energy, attention, and improve sports performance and concentration time; however, health professionals are concerned about the adverse effects associated with these products.

It will be interesting to note that the first energy drink was introduced in Austria in 1987 while it was launched in the United States in 1997. Later over two hundred new brands of energy drinks were launched between 2006 and 2007. The Energy Drinks are reported to be available in over 140 countries, and half of the consumers of these drinks consist of children, adolescents and young adults. People are advised that energy drinks should not be used to substitute water in between meals.

According to reports some of the ingredients in these energy drinks can also increase anxiety and tension. More recent findings have demonstrated a significant association between energy drinks and dental erosion. Some of the reports also suggest that energy drinks can precipitate first-onset seizure and contribute to stroke but, there is insufficient evidence to support these findings. Healthcare professional are advised that at the clinical level, they should inquire about the misuse of energy drinks at every clinical encounter, mainly with adolescents. A history of energy drink consumption should be comprehensive covering the amount of cans consumed, volume, duration, type of energy drink consumed, and drink-mixing habits. Medical counseling and education may be useful, the authors conclude. This article has been published in Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences Vol. 30 No.6. November-December 2014 published ahead of print. Full abstract is also published in this issue. For details click at: http://pjms.com.pk/index.php/pjms/article/download/5396/2789

© Professional Medical Publications. All rights reserved.