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Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks are drinks that are touted to give Energy, usually being a drink of caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone and B-complex vitamins with one or two random things thrown in to sound pretty and for marketability. They should be treated like a carbonated sum of the parts.

Our evidence-based analysis on energy drinks features 67 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel .
Reviewed by
Examine.com Team
Last Updated:

Summary of Energy Drinks

TL;DR - contains multiple supplements

Energy Drinks are a classification of drinks designed to provide acute neural benefits such as stimulation, focus, and anti-fatigue. Most energy drinks have caffeine as their primary ingredient.

'Energy Drinks' are fairly well studied as a combination of ingredients, and even more so as isolated ingredients. That being said, sometimes the combination of ingredients exerts different effects than isolated ingredients (when beneficial, it is known as 'synergism')

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Things To Know & Note

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Redbull Energy Drink, Monster Energy Drink, Full Throttle Energy Drink, NOS Energy Drink

Do Not Confuse With

Caffeine (Main ingredient)

Frequently Asked Questions about Energy Drinks

The (mild) health risks of energy drinks
Energy drinks can make a small, potentially negative impact in certain metabolic measures in young, relatively healthy people. But do these changes really matter?
Are energy drinks bad for you?
Case studies have linked energy drinks to adverse effects, especially on the cardiovascular system, but the overall risk of something bad happening is low and context-dependent.

Research Breakdown on Energy Drinks

'Energy Drinks' are a classification of functional drinks and the exact composition can and most likely will vary depending on what energy drink you consume. Always look at the label(s) to see what ingredients are in the energy drinks.

The most common ingredients include:

  • Sugar

  • Caffeine

  • Glucuronolactone

  • Taurine

  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) usually as Cyanocobalamin

  • Niacin (vitamin B3)

  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

  • Panthotenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

  • Riboflavon (Vitamin B2)

Other ingredients that are not common, but have been found in Energy Drinks, include:

Due to the caffeine content, it is generally accepted that energy drinks may acutely increase blood pressure (usually in the caffeine naive). However, a presentation at the European Society of Cardiology (2012) noted that after consumption of an Energy Drink containing Taurine that heart function increased despite increases in blood pressure.[1]

References

  1. ^ Energy drinks improve heart function.
  2. Wiggers D, et al. Use and Perceptions of Caffeinated Energy Drinks and Energy Shots in Canada. Am J Prev Med. (2017)
  3. Stephens MB, et al. Energy drink and energy shot use in the military. Nutr Rev. (2014)
  4. Malinauskas BM, et al. A survey of energy drink consumption patterns among college students. Nutr J. (2007)
  5. Utter J, et al. Energy drink consumption among New Zealand adolescents: Associations with mental health, health risk behaviours and body size. J Paediatr Child Health. (2017)
  6. Hammond D, Reid JL. Exposure and perceptions of marketing for caffeinated energy drinks among young Canadians. Public Health Nutr. (2018)
  7. Emond JA, Sargent JD, Gilbert-Diamond D. Patterns of energy drink advertising over US television networks. J Nutr Educ Behav. (2015)
  8. Francis J, et al. Informing Intervention Strategies to Reduce Energy Drink Consumption in Young People: Findings From Qualitative Research. J Nutr Educ Behav. (2017)
  9. Hammond D, Reid JL, Zukowski S. Adverse effects of caffeinated energy drinks among youth and young adults in Canada: a Web-based survey. CMAJ Open. (2018)
  10. Scholey AB, Kennedy DO. Cognitive and physiological effects of an "energy drink": an evaluation of the whole drink and of glucose, caffeine and herbal flavouring fractions. Psychopharmacology (Berl). (2004)
  11. Giles GE, et al. Differential cognitive effects of energy drink ingredients: caffeine, taurine, and glucose. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. (2012)
  12. Temple JL, et al. The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review. Front Psychiatry. (2017)
  13. Faber MS, Jetter A, Fuhr U. Assessment of CYP1A2 activity in clinical practice: why, how, and when?. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. (2005)
  14. Rétey JV, et al. A genetic variation in the adenosine A2A receptor gene (ADORA2A) contributes to individual sensitivity to caffeine effects on sleep. Clin Pharmacol Ther. (2007)
  15. Alsene K, et al. Association between A2a receptor gene polymorphisms and caffeine-induced anxiety. Neuropsychopharmacology. (2003)
  16. Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. (2006)
  17. Bray GA, Popkin BM. Dietary sugar and body weight: have we reached a crisis in the epidemic of obesity and diabetes?: health be damned! Pour on the sugar. Diabetes Care. (2014)
  18. Seifert SM, et al. An analysis of energy-drink toxicity in the National Poison Data System. Clin Toxicol (Phila). (2013)
  19. Miles-Chan JL, et al. The blood pressure-elevating effect of Red Bull energy drink is mimicked by caffeine but through different hemodynamic pathways. Physiol Rep. (2015)
  20. Grasser EK, et al. Energy Drinks and Their Impact on the Cardiovascular System: Potential Mechanisms. Adv Nutr. (2016)
  21. Di Rocco JR, et al. Atrial fibrillation in healthy adolescents after highly caffeinated beverage consumption: two case reports. J Med Case Rep. (2011)
  22. Shen J, et al. Dietary factors and incident atrial fibrillation: the Framingham Heart Study. Am J Clin Nutr. (2011)
  23. Hanan Israelit S, Strizevsky A, Raviv B. ST elevation myocardial infarction in a young patientafter ingestion of caffeinated energy drink and ecstasy. World J Emerg Med. (2012)
  24. Kaoukis A, et al. Reverse Takotsubo cardiomyopathy associated with the consumption of an energy drink. Circulation. (2012)
  25. Rottlaender D, et al. Cardiac arrest due to long QT syndrome associated with excessive consumption of energy drinks. Int J Cardiol. (2012)
  26. Berger AJ, Alford K. Cardiac arrest in a young man following excess consumption of caffeinated "energy drinks". Med J Aust. (2009)
  27. Benjo AM, et al. Left main coronary artery acute thrombosis related to energy drink intake. Circulation. (2012)
  28. Jonjev ZS, Bala G. High-energy drinks may provoke aortic dissection. Coll Antropol. (2013)
  29. Gaskins AJ, et al. Pre-pregnancy caffeine and caffeinated beverage intake and risk of spontaneous abortion. Eur J Nutr. (2016)
  30. Silva CG, et al. Adenosine receptor antagonists including caffeine alter fetal brain development in mice. Sci Transl Med. (2013)
  31. Knutti R, Rothweiler H, Schlatter C. The effect of pregnancy on the pharmacokinetics of caffeine. Arch Toxicol Suppl. (1982)
  32. Ruxton CH. The suitability of caffeinated drinks for children: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials, observational studies and expert panel guidelines. J Hum Nutr Diet. (2014)
  33. Alford C, Cox H, Wescott R. The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood. Amino Acids. (2001)
  34. Howard MA, Marczinski CA. Acute effects of a glucose energy drink on behavioral control. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. (2010)
  35. van den Eynde F, et al. The effects of energy drinks on cognitive performance. Tijdschr Psychiatr. (2008)
  36. Roehrs T, Roth T. Caffeine: sleep and daytime sleepiness. Sleep Med Rev. (2008)
  37. Souza DB, et al. Acute effects of caffeine-containing energy drinks on physical performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Nutr. (2017)
  38. Ali F, et al. Energy drinks and their adverse health effects: A systematic review of the current evidence. Postgrad Med. (2015)
  39. Tanne JH. New York attorney general investigates energy drink makers. BMJ. (2012)
  40. Energy Drinks: An Assessment of Their Market Size, Consumer Demographics, Ingredient Profile, Functionality, and Regulations in the United States.
  41. Bailey RL, Saldanha LG, Dwyer JT. Estimating caffeine intake from energy drinks and dietary supplements in the United States. Nutr Rev. (2014)
  42. Miller KE. Wired: energy drinks, jock identity, masculine norms, and risk taking. J Am Coll Health. (2008)
  43. Event-Related Survey of High Consumers of Energy Drinks.
  44. Gathering consumption data on specific consumer groups of energy drinks.
  45. Attila S, Çakir B. Energy-drink consumption in college students and associated factors. Nutrition. (2011)
  46. Goldfarb M, Tellier C, Thanassoulis G. Review of published cases of adverse cardiovascular events after ingestion of energy drinks. Am J Cardiol. (2014)
  47. Gunja N, Brown JA. Energy drinks: health risks and toxicity. Med J Aust. (2012)
  48. Clinical Trial on the Effects of Caffeine and Taurine From Energy Drinks (EDs) to Parameters of the Cardiovascular System in Humans.
  49. Al-Khatib SM, et al. What clinicians should know about the QT interval. JAMA. (2003)
  50. Goldenberg I, Moss AJ, Zareba W. QT interval: how to measure it and what is "normal". J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. (2006)
  51. Heemskerk CPM, et al. Risk factors for QTc interval prolongation. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. (2018)
  52. Long QT Syndrome.
  53. Short QT syndrome.
  54. Wallace TM, Levy JC, Matthews DR. Use and abuse of HOMA modeling. Diabetes Care. (2004)
  55. Grasser EK, et al. Cardio- and cerebrovascular responses to the energy drink Red Bull in young adults: a randomized cross-over study. Eur J Nutr. (2014)
  56. Svatikova A, et al. A Randomized Trial of Cardiovascular Responses to Energy Drink Consumption in Healthy Adults. JAMA. (2015)
  57. Ragsdale FR, et al. Effect of Red Bull energy drink on cardiovascular and renal function. Amino Acids. (2010)
  58. Shearer J, Graham TE. Performance effects and metabolic consequences of caffeine and caffeinated energy drink consumption on glucose disposal. Nutr Rev. (2014)
  59. Loh DA, et al. Sugar-sweetened beverage intake and its associations with cardiometabolic risks among adolescents. Pediatr Obes. (2017)
  60. Pomeranz JL, Munsell CR, Harris JL. Energy drinks: an emerging public health hazard for youth. J Public Health Policy. (2013)
  61. Burrows T, et al. What are the health implications associated with the consumption of energy drinks? A systematic review. Nutr Rev. (2013)
  62. Cornelis MC, et al. Coffee, CYP1A2 genotype, and risk of myocardial infarction. JAMA. (2006)
  63. Zhou A, Hyppönen E. Long-term coffee consumption, caffeine metabolism genetics, and risk of cardiovascular disease: a prospective analysis of up to 347,077 individuals and 8368 cases. Am J Clin Nutr. (2019)
  64. An assessment of their market size, consumer demographics, ingredient profile, functionality, and regulations in the United States.
  65. Fact Sheets - Alcohol and Caffeine.
  66. Roemer A, Stockwell T. Alcohol Mixed With Energy Drinks and Risk of Injury: A Systematic Review. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. (2017)
  67. Campbell B, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: energy drinks. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2013)