The pros and potential risks of energy drinks

Everyone loves caffeine. The temporary boost of energy, the increased alertness, and sometimes just the overall taste. But not everyone knows what goes on in your body for this all to happen. 

The maximum amount of caffeine recommended daily is 400 mg. While a normal cup of coffee is 95 mg, energy drinks have a lot more. One popular drink Celcius has 200 mg of caffeine per serving. Other popular drinks such as Bang and Reign are some of the most highly caffeinated, containing 300 mg of caffeine. 

Several ingredients enter your body when you consume energy drinks. The main five are caffeine, sugar, taurine, guarana, and B vitamins. Web MD explains how these ingredients affect you; caffeine depletes water from your body which leads to dehydration and during exercise your body cannot replenish those nutrients. The sugar in these drinks can help provide a quick energy boost but can lead to a crash later on. Although Taurine is similar to amino acids and is known to increase your blood pressure, still little is known about the long-term effects. Guarana is found in plants and is even stronger than caffeine, it works by stimulating your muscles, heart, and nervous system.

The consumption of energy drinks has increased over the past few years. The reason is athletes think it will improve their athletic performance. While lots of studies have shown that drinking energy drinks in moderation can have potential benefits; including endurance or explosiveness, they also can lead to some pretty harsh side effects. 

“With regular consumption of energy drinks, they can lead to increased blood pressure and consequently incites problems such as hypertension, tachycardia, and nervousness, all of which can lead to cardiovascular disorders,” The National Library of Medicine describes.

All this proven information about the downsides of energy drinks doesn’t stop most athletes from consuming them. Although athletes should be aware of the potential risks and side effects, many believe that the benefits outweigh the risks. They may also be influenced by social media and marketing campaigns that promote these drinks as necessary for an active lifestyle. 

In 1985 the NCAA banned the use of caffeine (guarana) and other stimulants as performance-enhancing substances. Guarana is still banned to this day as the NCAA is looking to ensure fair play in college sports and prevent any unfair advantages to athletes who are trying to enhance their energy levels. 

Celsius, which includes guarana, is completely banned by the NCAA which is also served as a reminder for athletes to be aware of what they are drinking and ensure they know what can put them at risk for failing a drug test.

It’s important for all athletes to understand the potential risks of energy drink consumption and to use them in moderation, if at all. You should be aware of alternative sources of energy and hydration, such as water, tea, kombucha, and healthy snacks. (UHealth)