Anenergy drink is a beverage that claims to increase the drinker’s energy. Someof them may be carbonated while the others are not. Red bull and shark are themost popular drinks in our country, Myanmar.
The chemical components of energydrinks are caffeine, B vitamins, various forms of sugar, and small amounts of guarana,ginseng, ginkgo biloba extract, taurine, glucuronolactone and L-carnitine. Themajor component, caffeine stimulates the brain to keep us alert, releasingadrenaline, which then signals the liver to release stored glucose into the vessels,thus, tricking our brain to believe that we have more energy than we really do.Adrenaline raises our heart beats and dilates the eyes.
Energy drinks can causeinsomnia interfering with the ability to perform tasks that need heavyconcentration. Diuretic effect will be triggered also causing dehydration,anxiety, and irritability. Panic attacks and migraine headaches can also occurfrom the caffeine withdrawal. Taurine, an amino acid, regulates skeletal musclecontraction and may reduce the damage caused by the exercise. Normal people whodrink many energy drinks will have increased heart rates up to an hour later.People with certain heart problems can undergo cardiac arrest after having toomany energy drinks. There is a study which shows the connection between energydrinks and cardiac problems. Another component, glucuronolactone claims tofavor natural defense mechanism of the body but there is no sufficient researchto prove whether this compound is effective in increasing energy.
B vitaminsare used as coenzymes for proper cell functions. They are needed to transform thoselarge amounts of sugar from energy drinks into energy. Guarana is a tropicalfruit rich in caffeine and it is used to increase energy.
However, sinceguarana contains caffeine adding it will increase the overall amount ofcaffeine in the energy drinks. Ginseng is also added in some energy drinks dueto the growing popularity of its effects in certain health tonics but theamount of ginseng in the energy drinks is barely noticeable. Ginkgo bilobaextract has been said to possess antioxidant properties. However, no detailedresearch has shown that it has an important effect of increasing energy. L-Carnitine,a compound made in the liver and kidneys, increases fat metabolism, oxygenconsumption and also affects recovery from exercise injury. Sugars are thebasic source of energy in the body, with glucose being the main carbohydratethat can easily be oxidized for energy synthesis.
However, exposing too muchexcess sugar to the body can lead to insulin insufficiency and obesity. If thiscontinues, the cells will become unable to secrete sufficient amount of insulinto maintain normal blood glucose levels. Eventually, pancreatic cells producinginsulin will deteriorate leading to type 2 diabetes. Drinking too much energy drinkscan result in liver or nerve injury, various cardiovascular problems, seizuresand ultimately death. If pregnant woman excessively consumes these drinks, itcan lead to many defects in unborn child and even results in stillborn. Whileenergy drinks may provide short and rapid effects, they are not actually goodfor our body in the long run.