Are energy drinks a hazard to our health? Recent news regarding a wrongful death lawsuit involving a 14-year-old girl who died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy within 24 hours suggests this may be a possibility. Should the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) step in and do more to regulate the use of energy drinks?
The New York Times reports a letter was released by the FDA on November 21 discussing the future plans of the administration regarding energy drink-related injuries and deaths. The letter states the FDA plans to “seek advice from outside experts to help determine whether energy drinks posed particular risks to teenagers or people with underlying health problems.”
Health Hazards Linked to Energy Drinks
Numbers show the amount of people visiting the emergency room for energy-drink related reasons has increased ten-fold since 2005. This year, the FDA reports 18 deaths related to the consumption of drinks such as 5-hour Energy and Monster Energy. The lack of awareness regarding the high volume of caffeine contained in the drinks could be a factor, especially in regards to heavy consumption.
Among the reports of injuries or deaths caused by energy drinks, which include 5-hour Energy, Monster Energy and Rockstar energy drinks, WebMD reports the following:
- Deaths due to heart attack or suicide linked to 5-hour Energy
- A miscarriage linked to 5-Hour Energy
- Convulsions, life-threatening fear, deafness and hemorrhage linked to Monster Energy
- Hospitalization due to irregular heartbeat, severe diarrhea, migraine, psychotic disorder, heart attack, and/or vomiting linked to Monster Energy
- Disability from irregular heartbeat or stroke linked to Rockstar Energy
- Hospitalization due to psychotic disorder, increased heart rate or loss of consciousness linked to Rockstar Energy drink
The FDA reports, however, that “there is no scientific literature that calls into question the safety of taurine and guarana, two ingredients often used in energy drinks” yet the AP reports the administration is now “studying energy drinks to see if they posed a risk when consumed by ‘vulnerable groups’ such as young people, or in excess,” but is not planning to take action against the energy drink manufacturers any time soon.
When consumed in moderation, energy drinks are as safe as consuming a few cups of coffee. It’s when heavy consumption comes into play that serious health hazards sometimes arise.