The following is excerpted from an online article posted by News-Medical.
In a recent study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers reviewed the adverse health events associated with consuming energy drinks among adolescents and children in the context of preexisting health conditions and other trigger factors.
Energy drinks, marketed as physical and mental enhancers, contain stimulants such as guarana and caffeine and are known to have cardiovascular side effects, including cardiac arrhythmia and arterial hypertension. Despite these known dangers, the consumption of energy drinks remains high, especially among adolescents. Among the underaged consumers of energy drinks, the chronic high consumption of energy drinks is higher among children than adolescents (16% versus 12%), while the high acute consumption of energy drinks is around 12% in both.
In the present study, the researchers reviewed case reports in English that comprised a study population below the age of 18 years with confirmed consumption of energy drinks.
The results reported associations between excessive energy drink consumption and various adverse effects on health in minors. A total of 18 cases were included in the review, and a majority of the health events were related to the neuropsychiatric or cardiovascular systems. Furthermore, 61% of these cases were associated with preexisting health conditions or the existence of other potential triggers.
About 45% of the case reports included in the review reported cardiovascular events such as arterial hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, spontaneous coronary artery dissection, and acute coronary artery vasospasm. While in some cases, there were preexisting health conditions or potential triggers, in a few cases, cardiovascular adverse events occurred without other triggers or medical conditions after the consumption of large amounts of energy drinks over multiple days. One case of spontaneous coronary artery dissection occurred after the consumption of a reasonable amount of caffeinated energy drinks.
The high caffeine content of energy drinks is believed to be associated with adverse cardiovascular effects.
Overall, the findings suggested that excessive intake of energy drinks, especially those containing caffeine, could have severe adverse impacts on the health of minors. The consumption of energy drinks by individuals with preexisting medical conditions or along with stimulants or party drugs, can harm adolescents’ cardiovascular and neuropsychological health. Minors need to be educated about the potential hazards of energy drink consumption to help them make informed choices.