Generally energy drinks include methylxanthines (including caffeine), vitamin B and herbs. Other common ingredients are guarana, acai, and taurine plus various forms of ginseng, maltodextrin, carbonated water, inositol, carnitine, creatine, glucuronolactone and ginkgo biloba. Some contain high levels of sugar, and many brands also offer artificially sweetened 'diet' versions. The central ingredient in most energy drinks is caffeine, the same stimulant found in coffee or tea, often in the form of guarana or yerba mate.
There is an ever-growing array of power drinks on the market. The most familiar ones are: AMP Energy, Battery, Burn (energy drink), Coca-Cola Blāk, Cocaine, Diet Pepsi Max, Full Throttle, Jolt Cola, Monster, Mother (energy drink), Mountain Dew MDX, Powerking, Red Bull, Red Eye, Red Rooster, RockStar, RELOAD, Rip It, Spike Shooter, Tab Energy, Tiger Energy Drink, Venom Energy, Wired Energy Drink / Wired Sugar Free.
Consumption and Standard Dose:
- These are advertised as soft drinks that provide energy to improve the physical activity of the drinker.
- A standard drink can be a shot size 100 ml, regular size 250 ml or large size 500ml and the average caffeine per serving is 80 mg compared to 23 mg for a can of Coke and 56 mg for a cup of coffee.
- Energy drinks affect the same person differently at different times. This can depend on body weight, metabolism, tolerance/experience, food in the stomach and other factors.
- Consumption of energy drinks may induce mild to moderate euphoria primarily caused by stimulant properties of caffeine increasing cognitive and physical endurance
Overdose and other negative effects:
- Consumption of two or more beverages in a single day can result in excessive caffeine intake and induce agitation, anxiety, irritability and insomnia.
- Other stimulants such as ginseng are often added to energy beverages and may enhance the effects of caffeine, and ingredients such as guarana themselves contain caffeine.
- Adverse effects associated with caffeine consumption in amounts greater than 400 mg include nervousness, irritability, migraines, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), and stomach upset.
- Energy drinks do not provide electrolytes, and have a higher likelihood of an energy "crash-and-burn" effect.
- Caffeine in energy drinks can excrete water from the body to dilute high concentrations of sugar entering the blood stream, leading to dehydration.
- Energy drinks have been linked with reports of nausea, abnormal heart rhythms and emergency room visits.
- The drinks may cause seizures due to the "crash" following the energy high that occurs after consumption.
Dangerous Drug Combinations:
- Energy drinks are often used as mixers with alcohol. While energy drinks are stimulants, alcohol is a depressant: by mixing the two you're sending mixed messages to your nervous system which can cause cardiac related problems.
- Alcohol makes a person dehydrated, which is one of the reasons why people have hangovers, and the caffeine in the energy drinks is a diuretic that also causes people to lose water. So it makes the effects of dehydration worse. Both the caffeine in energy drinks and alcohol are known to act as diuretics and so could lead to excessive dehydration.
- You might feel that you can party for a long time, but in reality you are just going to have a greater hangover effect the next day.
- Mixed with ecstasy and other stimulants, this can cause severe dehydration by increasing body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate.