An energy drink is consumed to provide the user with both mental and physical stimulation. Sepkowitz (2013) notes that energy drinks contains stimulant drugs. One example of these drugs is the caffeine that is the main component of any energy drink. Examples of energy drink include the Red Bull and Monster Drink. Apart from caffeine, these drinks contain sugars, amino acids and herbal extracts. Soft drinks, tea and coffee also contain caffeine but are not classified as energy drinks. In this context, Energy drinks have different uses, variation, and their consumption has various effects on human health.
Uses of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are consumed so as to provide the user with the benefits from caffeine and other benefits that are provided by other ingredients of these energy drinks. They are mostly consumed together with alcohol and this is mainly in colleges. The energy drinks are often advertised in a way that tends to show that they have benefits. For instance, it is argued that the energy drinks contain some supplements such as the dietary supplement that provide detoxification. These supplements are also argued to help an individual sustain mental problems, reduce chances of heart illness and muscle fatigue. However, there is no enough evidence that support these claims. The claims are seen as only a way to convince people to buy and consume more of the energy drinks. There are various ways that the drinks have been described in order to market them widely. The terms used in the marketing of the energy drinks include such terms as ‘’gives you wings”, ‘’ is scientifically formulated’’ and other terms. These terms are only used to ensure that the drinks sell. Mostly, these drinks are consumed in social setting either as a mixture of alcohol or as a beverage.
There are various kind of energy drinks. For instance, energy shots are a kind of energy drinks that are specialised in such a way that they are sold in smaller bottles and not cans. Energy shots have caffeine, vitamins and other ingredients, as any other energy drink. Energy shots are considered as a concentrated form of energy drinks. These type of energy drinks are marketed as low-calorie that can be taken in one swallow. The second type of the energy drinks are the caffeinated alcoholic drink. An example of this type of energy drink is the Red Bull. According to Howland & Rohsenow (2013), these drinks are mostly used as mixtures with alcohol. An example of such a mixture is the Vodka Red Bull. These type of energy drinks contains a bigger percentage of caffeine that the energy shot. The third type of energy drinks is the relaxation dinks. These drinks are sold as ‘anti-energy ’, ‘chill out’ or ‘relaxation’ drinks. Examples of these drinks are the Lava Cola and the Malava Kava. These type of energy drink were introduced into the market from the year 2008. They have continued to be popular. These drinks contain melatonin and theanine.
Energy drinks are consumed by sportsmen and women especially in athletics so as to give them muscle simulation and enhance their performance. However, the use of energy drinks in sports is illegal and can lead to ban and fines. The drinks are also used to stimulate the body during the act of sex. Doctors advise against the use of energy drinks to stimulate the body during the intercourse as it has disadvantages. The drinks are widely used by the military to simulate their bodies. In most cases, energy drinks are consumed by individuals just for pleasure. Mostly, this is done by combining the energy drink with alcoholic drinks.
Red Bull was introduced into the United States in the year 1997. The sale of the drink was successful mainly because the drink was popular with the athletes. The drink improved their performance and hence the drink became a success story with its sale growing exponentially to reach $8.9 billion in 2011. This was 33% of all soft drink that are was sold in the United States during the same period. The drink is commonly consumed by the young population especially the young men. In the year 2007, there was an introduction of about two hundred brands of energy drinks in the United States. These statistic show how the drink is commonly and widely used among the population of the United States.
Effects of Energy Drink Consumption on Human Health
Gunja & Brown(2012) shows that the consumption of energy drinks, results to a couple of side effects. The side effects of the energy drinks are mostly attributed to the fact that these drinks have a variety of ingredients. These side effects include;
Palpitations: This is a condition whereby the heartbeats increases to an extent that they become noticeable. Consumption of excessive caffeine that is found in the energy drinks is a major cause of palpitation.
Tremor and Shaking: Most people who have become addicted and dependent on the energy drinks report shaking, especially of their hands and legs, when they go a long period without the use of the drinks.
Restlessness: The use of energy drinks renders an individual restless and they become agitated.
Chest pain: most people who have used the energy drinks for a long period have reported experiencing chest pains.
Dizziness: the excessive use of the energy drinks results to dizziness and lack of concentration.
Paraesthesia: Doctors warn that individuals who use the energy drinks excessively, have a tenderness of suffering from tingling and numbing of their skin.
Insomnia: Excessive consumption of energy drink will result in lack of sleep.
Respiratory distress: the caffeine found in the energy drinks increases heartbeat that later result into an increased blood circulation. Due to this, an individual suffers from respiratory distress.
Headache; the use of energy drinks will result into an individual suffering from headache.
The studies show that there is an increased use of energy drinks by the young generation as well as the children. Some report to have used the energy drinks unknowingly while the highest percentage consume these drinks as a result of peer pressure.
As has been seen above, energy drinks exist in different uses, and they exist in different types. The drinks are commonly used by sportsperson, military and young men in college campuses. However, the use of energy drinks has gone up to the under age and this exposes them to the side effects. Seifert,Schaechter, Hershorin & Lipshultz(2011) recommended that effort should be put to stop the use of the energy use. This effort could be educating children, sportsperson and other user on the health risks of the energy drinks, ban the sale of the drinks to persons of underage, and promoting the use of water in sports as a way to stop the use of energy drinks in sports.
Gunja, N., & Brown, J. A. 2012. Energy drinks: health risks and toxicity. Medical Journal of Australia, 196(1), 46-49.
Howland, J., & Rohsenow, D. J. 2013. Risks of energy drinks mixed with alcohol. Jama, 309(3), 245-246.
Marczinski, C. A., Fillmore, M. T., Henges, A. L., Ramsey, M. A., & Young, C. R. 2012. Effects of energy drinks mixed with alcohol on information processing, motor coordination and subjective reports of intoxication. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 20(2), 129.
Seifert, S. M., Schaechter, J. L., Hershorin, E. R., & Lipshultz, S. E. 2011. Health effects of energy drinks on children, adolescents, and young adults. Pediatrics, peds-2009.
Sepkowitz, K. A. 2013. Energy drinks and caffeine-related adverse effects. Jama, 309(3), 243-244.
Schneider, M. B., & Benjamin, H. J. 2011. Sports drinks and energy drinks for children and adolescents: are they appropriate?. Pediatrics, 127(6), 1182-1189.