How Energy Drinks Can Adversely Affect the Body

How Energy Drinks Can Adversely Affect the Body

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Energy drinks are often labeled in sporty logos that imply physical activity and healthy habits.  About 30 to 50 percent of teens and young adults consume energy drinks, and they are also marketed as a quick energy booster for adults of all ages. However, some energy drinks may not be any better than soda! Due to the fact that they contain high amounts of sugar and stimulating compounds that can adversely affect your health, for example, high blood pressure (hypertension), dehydration, headaches, and possible seizures, it’s important to be informed about what goes into your body.

The concentrated amounts of caffeine and other ingredients found in energy drinks can also lead to adverse effects in some cases. The jolt of energy from your energy drink likely comes from caffeine and caffeine-containing ingredients such as guarana. Caffeine and other energizing compounds found in these drinks, such as taurine, are diuretics. Studies have found, that many commercial energy drinks contain both of these substances, however, caffeine is the primary cause of water loss from the body. Dehydration can cause serious damage to the body. So, before you reach for that energy drink, do yourself a favor and do some research. Here are some of the ways that energy drinks affect the body:

Your brain: Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical that helps you sleep (which is why too much can lead to insomnia). But, it also fires off neurons in your brain to keep you alert, causing your pituitary gland to initiate the "fight or flight" response. That's your body's natural reaction to prepare for a threat.

Your bloodstream: After the "fight or flight" response is activated, your pituitary gland releases adrenaline, which sends a signal to your liver to pump more glucose (energy) into the bloodstream.

Your heart: Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster and causes your pupils to dilate, effects that can last longer than you might like. In fact, a recent study found that healthy people who drank caffeine and taurine-packed energy drinks saw increased heart contraction rates up to an hour later.

Back to your brain: With more glucose in your bloodstream and your body in fight-or-flight mode, the increased dopamine levels trick your brain into believing that you have more energy than you actually do, making you feel tired and fatigued later on.

Your skin: Sweat excessively while exercising and you'll lose water and electrolytes—both of which sports drinks work to replace. Reach for the wrong energy drink after that, though, and you'll only dehydrate yourself more.

Your body: Too much caffeine can produce a diuretic effect, which can also mean dehydration. If you overdo it, you could feel jittery, anxious, and irritable from too much of the stimulant and a lack of water.

To learn more about the effects that energy drinks have on your body, call Physican’s WEIGHT LOSS Centers to speak with a nutritionist at (410) 309-6570 to request an appointment.