athlete drinking water

Nov 14, 2019 / Sports Medicine

Understanding the Risks Associated with Energy Drinks

Pediatric sports medicine physician Jane S. Chung, M.D., warns families that energy drinks are not recommended in the pediatric population. Energy drinks thought to be an ergogenic aid which suggests they have performance enhancing effects. The concerns are two-fold. First, drinking the beverages may cause physical consequences. Second, those who drink them are more inclined to participate in other risk-taking behaviors. Read more to understand why it is important to educate young athletes about these popular drinks.  

Risks Associated with Consuming Energy Drinks
Energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine, along with herbal blends (high doses of vitamins and amino acids) and we do not know how young pediatric bodies will respond to these products. There are concerns for safety regarding the contents and concentration of products in these drinks and they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who regulates products to ensure safety. Because the production is not regulated, there are risks of contamination and impurities. Energy drinks often contain high concentration of questionable contents and have been reported to cause adverse effects such as stomach (gastrointestinal) issues, nausea, shaking, overstimulation (affecting sleep, training, performance), anxiety, irritability, insomnia, headaches, and even cardiac arrhythmias, seizures and death.

Risk-Taking Behaviors Increased in Those who Consume Energy Drinks
Consumption of energy drinks has been associated with increased risk-taking behaviors. Therefore, children and adolescents who choose to drink energy drinks may be more likely to look for other supplements or participate in other activities that are known to be risky in this age group.

Chung says, “Energy drinks are appealing to young athletes because of their advertised benefits in physical and mental performance, while others take it for increased physical and mental sharpness. It is not recommended in our young athletes and pediatric population because of the lack of evidence and research in regard to long term consequences and negative effects.”

Read the full report by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in the Contemporary Issues Paper : Energy Drinks.

You May Also Like: