Energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and 5-Hour Energy are not safe for children because kids 6 years old and younger have suffered seizures and heart problems after drinking the highly caffeinated drinks, a new study reveals. Researchers also warn that the drinks should be avoided by people with heart conditions because the effects could be dangerous.
Researchers with Wayne State University in Detroit reviewed 5,156 calls to U.S. poison control centers from October 2010 to September 2013, focusing on ones involving energy drinks. The most common cause for the calls was because children accidentally drank an energy drink. Children younger than 6 experienced symptoms such as seizures, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and erratic heart rhythms.
Concerns about the safety of energy drinks are not new and do not only affect young children and those with seizure disorders or heart conditions. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation into the drinks after a surprisingly high number of emergency room reports involving the drinks. Since 2004, the FDA has received 34 reports of deaths linked to various energy drinks. As a result, several lawsuits have been filed against makers of energy drinks.
The American Medical Association is recommending that people younger than age 18 be restricted from buying the drinks because they have been linked to increased blood pressure and abnormal heart rates. Earlier this year, the Center for Science in the Public Interested asked the FDA to add warning labels to the drinks to alert consumers to the potential for heart attacks, convulsions and other side effects.
Energy drinks are not categorized as foods or beverages, but as dietary supplements. Unlike sodas, whose caffeine is regulated by the FDA, the amount of caffeine in dietary supplements does not have to be reported. A 24-ounce Monster Energy Drink contains about as much caffeine as seven cans of Coca Cola.
Source: Beta Wired