When it comes to having enough energy to push through a workout or be on top of your game, proper sleep, hydration and nutrition are your best resources. But, many athletes, especially in their teens and early twenties, are tapping into energy drinks with large amounts of caffeine to push them through to the next level. The question being asked by many is how safe are these drinks and how much is too much.
An earlier study this year by John Hopkins University recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration enforce more detailed labeling for energy drinks specifying the exact amount of caffeine present in the drinks. Some drinks can contain up to 180 milligrams of caffeine, almost twice the amount of a cup of coffee. The other problem is that most teens and young adults do not just stop at one and have no idea just how much caffeine they are consuming. Most of the drinks are also laden with sugar and the amino acid taurine.
According to The Mayo Clinic, when it comes to taurine and energy drinks in general, moderation is also important. “Little is known about the effects of heavy or long-term taurine use. It's also important to remember that other ingredients in energy drinks, such as high amounts of caffeine or sugar, can be harmful. For example, too much caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, interrupt your sleep, and cause nervousness and irritability.”
The prior mentioned study found that consuming too many energy drinks could lead to negative health consequences such as caffeine-related disorders causing dependence, withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, elevated heart rate, stomach disorders and even death due to cardiac arrest.
The FDA does limit the amount of caffeine found in soft drinks, but because energy drinks are considered dietary supplements, they’re not placed under the same stringent guidelines. For example, I can remember when some of my softball teammates would be bouncing off the walls after one Mountain Dew, which contains 54 mg. of caffeine and still under the FDA cap of 71mg. of caffeine per 12oz.