Originally published June 23 2011
Doctors warn about dangers of energy drinks
by Nicole Parsons
(NaturalNews) They are easy to come by, lining the shelves of gas stations, convenient stores, supermarkets and even drug stores. However, in a new report, experts are now urging children and teenagers to avoid consumption of energy drinks.
"Children never need energy drinks," Says Dr. Holly Benjamin of the American Academy of Paediatrics who worked on the new report, "They contain caffeine and other stimulant substances that aren't nutritional, so you don't need them."
Experts fear that kids are more vulnerable to the contents of the drinks than adults. Benjamin went on to say that "if you drink them on a regular basis, it stresses the body. You don't really want to stress the body of a growing person."
The report speaks of the jumble of ingredients in the energy drinks which include vitamins and various herbal extracts which could have potential side effects that are not yet entirely understood.
Benjamin goes on to say that while there aren't a great deal of documented cases of harm linked directly to the drinks, the stimulants contained within can disrupt the hearts rhythm and in some rare cases can lead to seizures. She states that she recently saw a 15 year-old boy with ADHD who came to the hospital suffering from a seizure after drinking two bottles of Mountain Dew, a soft drink containing caffeine. The boy had also been taking stimulant ADHD medications and perhaps the combination of the drug and the extra caffeine had pushed him over the edge.
"You just never know." She said, "It's definitely a concern."
In an earlier published review on energy drinks Florida Pediatricians also described cases of seizures, heart problems and delusions in people who had consumed more than one non-alcoholic energy drink. While the group admits that such cases are rare and cannot be directly related to the drinks, they continue to urge caution, especially in children with medical conditions.
Sales of non-alcoholic energy drinks in the United States are expected to hit $9 billion dollars this year alone with kids and teens accounting for half of those sales. Manufacturers of the products claim that the drinks will enhance both mental and physical performance and were quick to downplay the report which was published in February, stating simply that the effects of caffeine are well known and so the product should be treated accordingly.
Benjamin, unsurprisingly, concludes that for most children, water is the safest and most effective thirst quencher.
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