Monday, July 06, 2009

Researchers seek answers to energy drinks

Johns Hopkins University is offering teens a chance to participate in the rare research study that advances medical science while quizzing them about their consumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks. JHU researchers are probing the effects of the drinks - Red Bull, Rockstar and alike - which can bring on many troubling health effects. Kid athletes who drink them, especially on hot days, have suffered dehydration, tremors, heatstroke and heart attacks, notes USA Today.

The article points out that some experts have called on the Food and Drug Administration to require manufacturers to post warnings on their bottles about possible health consequences. That isn't possible because the FDA doesn't have regulatory authority over such drinks, agency officials told USA Today.

Also problematic are the attitudes and habits of kids. Many fail to realize energy drinks are potent and potentially dangerous, viewing them no differently than sport drinks like Powerade and Gatorade. Youth players also are increasingly viewing the sports nourishment as a substitute for their normal meals, skipping them routinely and "substituting protein bars and shakes for real food."

From the article:

"Eric Small of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan told of treating a 17-year-old female runner suffering from chest pains and fatigue. She collapsed at the finish line of a race and was rushed to an emergency room. It turned out she liked to skip breakfast in favor of drinking two or three cans of Red Bull each morning, Small said.

"They think being lighter and eating less and drinking less will improve their performance," Small said."

Volunteers are still needed for the study. (Scroll down to heading: "Caffeine Use.")

No comments: