Health Female Adda
1 year ago
ALERT: Popular Energy Drink Linked to Five Deaths

This Monday, the FDA announced an investigation into five deaths and a heart attack allegedly tied to consumption of Monster Energy drink.

The investigation was launched after the death of a 14-year-old girl, who died of a heart attack due to caffeine toxicity after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy, which together contain 480 milligrams of caffeine. That’s the caffeine equivalent of 14 cans of Coke.

“In moderate levels, caffeine is not harmful,” says Keri Peterson, M.D., physician on the Women's Health advisory board. Even in not-so-moderate levels, caffeinated beverages typically aren’t deadly. Death from caffeine toxicity is rare, with toxic levels estimated to fall between 150 and 200 milligrams per kilogram of body weight—that’s about 50 cups of coffee for a 150-pound woman, consumed in a very short period of time.

But because energy drinks are considered dietary supplements, their contents aren’t currently FDA regulated.

“Many of these drinks not only have very high caffeine levels, but they also combine them with other herbs that contain caffeine such as guarana and yerba mate, which can cause significant side effects,” Peterson says.

While the FDA isn’t certain whether Monster Energy drinks were the direct cause of the reported deaths, or whether preexisting conditions, alcohol, or drugs played a role, there were more than 13,000 emergency department visits related to consumption of energy drinks in 2009—up nearly tenfold since 2005, according to a 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report.

In light of this alarming stat, one thing’s for sure: it can’t hurt to be more mindful of your caffeine consumption. While your caffeine tolerance depends on your size and current consumption habits, the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs recommends no more than 250 mg of caffeine, or about three 8-oz cups of coffee, a day.

And if you really want to avoid common caffeine side effects such as sleeplessness, jitters, irritability, headaches, and nervousness, Peterson recommends no more than 200 mg of caffeine a day. Top that, and you could suffer from a host of even more serious health issues: a Polish study presented by the European Society of Hypertension in 2012 found that subjects who drank an energy drink containing 360 mg of caffeine developed anxiety and insomnia, with significant increases in heart rate and blood pressure compared to a control group that took placebos, and participants who took energy drinks with just 120 mg of caffeine. (Find out more about how caffeine effects your bod.)

Another study found that consuming over 200 mg of caffeine can lead to a blood pressure spike of up to 14 points, putting you at heighten risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, and more especially if you already have high blood pressure. For these reasons, Peterson recommends that those with high blood pressure steer clear of caffeine altogether.

Finally, check the chart below to help you put a cap on your daily intake of caffeine.

Beverage

Standard serving (oz.)

Caffeine Content (mg)

Mega Monster Energy

24

240

Red Bull

8.3

80

5-Hour Energy

1.93

207

Espresso

2

30-90

Brewed Coffee

8

102-200

Brewed Tea

8

40-120

Bottled iced tea

16

10-100

Soft drink

12

71 or less

Coffee-flavored ice cream

8

50-84

Dark chocolate bar

1.45

31

Hershey’s Chocolate Bar

1.55

9

Excedrin (Extra Strength)

2 tablets

130

NoDoz (Maximum Strength)

1 tablet

200

Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock
More from WH:
4 New Energy Drinks: Should You Chug Them?
The Truth About Energy Drinks
The Surprising Perks of Coffee Drinks

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