New Research Questions Health Benefits and Risks of “Energy Drinks” – Researchers in Florida have published a review of data they say seriously calls into question whether so-called “energy drinks” confer health benefits, and have also expressed grave concerns about the potential health risks of such products, especially among young people.
The study, published this week in the prestigious medical journal “Pediatrics,”concludes that energy drinks “have no therapeutic benefit,” and that many ingredients are understudied and not regulated. “The known and unknown pharmacology of agents included in such drinks, combined with reports of toxicity, raises concern for potentially serious adverse effects in association with energy-drink use. In the short-term, pediatricians need to be aware of the possible effects of energy drinks in vulnerable populations and screen for consumption to educate families.” The researchers recommended that long-term research should focus on understanding the effects in at-risk populations, toxicity surveillance should be improved, and regulations of energy-drink sales and consumption should be based on appropriate research.
The History of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks acting as an alternative to coffee were first introduced in Europe. The market received a significant boost when Red Bull entered the US market in 1997. After this successful market introduction, various beverage companies including Coca-Cola and Pepsi entered the market. Austria-based Red Bull remains the market leader according to market research statistics. The current U.S. domestic market may exceed $10 billion.
Recent years have witnessed the emergence of several new energy drinks. They include KMX of Coca-Cola, 180 of Anheuser-Busch, Hansen’s Energy, and Adrenaline Rush of PepsiCo’s SoBe. Pepsi had earlier introduced AMP under the Mountain Dew brand and also Extreme Energy by Arizona Beverage Company was launched. Growth of the current worldwide market for energy drinks is estimated at 17.8%. Major producers are focusing heavily on marketing, targeting the promotion of energizing conception, result-oriented marketing and product positioning and a greater push into developing markets.
Energy Drink Side Effects
According to data from the Pediatrics study, energy drinks are consumed by an estimated 30% to 50% of adolescents and young adults. Frequently containing high and unregulated amounts of caffeine, these drinks have been reported in association with serious adverse effects, especially in children, adolescents, and young adults with seizures, diabetes, cardiac abnormalities, or mood and behavioral disorders or those who take certain medications. According to researchers, of the 5448 US caffeine overdoses reported in 2007, 46% occurred in those younger than 19 years. Several countries and states have debated or restricted their sales and advertising.
A Threat to Public Safety
The new research was published at a time in which the energy drink industry has come under increasing fire from health care professionals. In an editorial published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Amelia Arria from the University of Maryland School of Public Health and Mary Claire O’Brien from Wake Forest University School of Medicine wrote that energy drinks are “just as great a threat to individual and public health and safety” as the ‘premixed’ alcoholic energy drinks recently deemed unsafe by the FDA. “Although more research is necessary, so are proactive steps to protect public health,” said Arria and O’Brien. “To promote informed consumer choices, regulatory agencies should require specific labeling regarding caffeine content, with warnings about the risks associated with caffeine consumption in adolescents and in pregnant women as well as with explicit information about the potential risks associated with mixing energy drinks with alcohol.”
Do I Have an Energy Drink Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in dietary supplement lawsuits and are currently investigating the link between energy drinks and associated side effects. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has consumed an energy drink and subsequently given birth to a child with birth defects or suffered from a severe side effect such as a caffeine overdose, organ injury or failure (kidney, liver, etc), heart attack, stroke or death you should contact our lawyers immediately by clicking the link below or calling toll free 1-(949) 557-5800. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.