There sure are a lot of energy drinks out there now days. I went to the store recently and counted 17 different energy drinks. And this is probably only of fraction of the total number of energy drinks on the market today.
And just the sound of the names of these energy drinks is enough to wake up the most lethargic person: Venom, Amp, Red Bull, Full Throttle, Rush, Shark, Piranha, Fuse, Hype, Back Mamba, and Atomic X, just to name a few.
There also seems to be a lot of controversy these days about the health effects of energy drinks.
So, out of curiosity I recently did a little research on the ingredients contained in these vitamins for energy
and their health effects.
Energy Drink Ingredients
The ingredients contained in the different brands of energy drinks are many. The ingredients common to most energy drinks are taurine, glucuronolactone, inositol, B vitamins, caffeine, sugar, carbonated water, natural flavors, and natural ingredients.
Taurine is a derivative of the sulfer-containing amino acid cysteine. Taurine is often found in infant milk formulas. Taurine helps carry minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium throughout the cells. This helps generate nerve impulses. It is also an antioxidant and is believed to steady irregular heartbeats.
Glucuronolactone is a naturally occurring carbohydrate produced by the human metabolic system. It is believed to improve memory and concentration. It can have stimulant and anti-depressant effects.
Inositol is instrumental in how the brain uses serotonin, a chemical that is the same that is boosted by the anti-depressant drugs prozac and zoloft.
B vitamins are necessary for a variety of things. Vitamin B-3 (niacin) metabolizes energy from fat and carbohydrates and can help the body use energy by releasing it from food. Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) improves mood and boosts energy. Vitamin B-6 helps in the formation of red blood cells, which provides better oxygen utilization. Vitamin B-12 also helps in the formation of red blood cells and helps break down sugar stored in the body to use as energy.
Natural ingredients found in energy drinks include ginseng extract, L-carnitine, guarana extract, milk thistle extract, green tea extract, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, L-trosine, fruit juices, and citric acid. The amount of these natural ingredients varies among energy drinks, and is usually a proprietary blend.
One could do a Ph.D. dissertation on the ingredients contained in energy drinks. Because of time limitations, this article focuses on the ingredients that receive the most attention regarding health effects: caffeine and sugar.
Caffeine is a stimulate. The chemical name for caffeine is 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine. Caffeine is found in many products (coffee, soda, chocolate, etc.) including energy drinks.
Caffeine does not provide true energy. It injects adrenaline into your system, which gives you a temporary boost but leads to a feeling of fatigue after it wears off.