Energy Shots: Are They Safe?
All through college, my friends and I depended on energy drinks quite a lot to get us through the demanding student life. They kept us awake when we pulled all-nighters in the library, kept us attentive during long, boring lectures and kept us energized for anticipated night outs!
Understandably, energy shots have also been embraced by stressed-out workers because they promise quick, convenient boosts with much fewer calories and sugar compared to regular size energy drinks.
In 2004, a company called Living Essentials pioneered energy shots with 5-hour ENERGY drinks. We have compiled a few concerns that anyone taking energy shots should be keen to take note of.
- Amount of caffeine in Energy Shots
When comparing energy shots and regular energy drinks, the amount of caffeine in them is quite the same. This caffeine is usually the magic ingredient that provides instant energy in these drinks or shots.
Because of the amount of caffeine, health experts urge users to be keen while consuming the drinks, especially if they will drink other caffeine loaded drinks like coffee or green teas. Consuming very large amounts of caffeine during the day tends to induce health problems.
Usage of too much caffeine can cause:
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
It is quite important to note, however, that the manufacturers of energy shots are not legally bound to disclose the contents of their caffeine products, but they advise that children, pregnant women, caffeine-sensitive individuals and nursing mothers should avoid energy shots.
They also advise that you have no more than 2 bottles of the drink a day.
Specifically, the makers of 5-Hour Energy claim that out of all their products, only one of them has as much caffeine as a premium cup of coffee does. Say the premium cup of coffee was a Starbucks cup, then the 8-ounce cup would contain about 180 milligrams of caffeine.
In an article from WebMD a professor of nutrition, Chris Rosenbloom, RD, Ph.D., claims that in small doses of 200 to 300 milligrams, caffeine is ok, but more than that should alert you to cut back.
A concern, however, is that sportsmen and women who consume energy shots before sports, may be overdoing it as their heart rate and blood pressure would be quite high, which could trigger health issues such as heart attacks.
- Other Ingredients
Makers of energy shots are usually not forthcoming with the ingredients in their drinks, but Energy Shots also contain mixes of amino acids, and vitamins with a few vitamins immensely passing the daily threshold amount.
Most nutritionists will be worried about the amounts of phenylalanine that you ingest. People with a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria are unable to break down this amino acid. Many manufacturers of diet sodas will use an artificial sweetener called aspartame, but have their product come with a warning for phenylketonurics as aspartame also consists of phenylalanine.
For individuals with this genetic disorder, phenylalanine will get converted to a chemical that can trigger seizures and can even cause mental retardation in young children.
Most importantly, we, however, need to constantly prompt ourselves that caffeine, is a drug, which has the potential ability to support our attentiveness and responsiveness, but doses that are too high will come with unwanted side effects like anxiety, and even diarrhea.
There are no safe chemicals. It is also important to note that one shot of 5-Hour Energy holds 150 percent of the approved daily allowance for niacin, which is found in bread, cereal and animal produce.
- Real Reasons for Fatigue and Tiredness
Most individuals do not investigate the real reasons for their fatigue before consuming Energy Shots. Sometimes, it’s ok to consume them a few times in a year to make you more responsive and alert during an important presentation that you need to ace or an exam.
However, if you’re constantly reaching out for an Energy Shot, something could be wrong with your body and you need to seek medical attention. It could also be your body telling you to kick back a little and have a little more sleep. Some of the ways to boost your energy levels naturally include:
- Avoiding huge portions of sugar and fat
- Regular exercise
- Sleeping enough
Not skipping meals.