Hundreds of injures and over a dozen deaths have been blamed on caffeine toxicity and other side effects from energy drinks. Many drinks contain high doses of vitamins like niacin (Vitamin B3), which causes hepatitis and liver damage in high doses.
Need a Texas Energy Drink Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with a severe side effect, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Popular Energy Drinks
Health Effects of Energy Drink Ingredients
Here is a look at the health effects of ingredients in energy drinks:
- Caffeine is a stimulant drug that is found in coffee beans and green tea. Overdosing on caffeine can over-stimulate the brain, resulting in “caffeine jitters.” In high amounts, caffeine can cause heart attacks, irregular heart rhythm, cardiac arrest, or death.
- Sugar is another common energy-boosting ingredient, but high doses of sugar cause blood-sugar levels to skyrocket. This leads to a “crash” with fatigue and depressed mood.
- B-Vitamins such as niacin, folate, riboflavin, or cyanocobalamin can cause liver inflammation (hepatitis) when consumed excessively. There are several reports of liver damage from B-vitamins in energy drinks.
- Green tea extracts are far more powerful than a cup of green tea. There are many reports of people who suffered liver inflammation (hepatitis) from green tea supplements or EGCG.
- Taurine, Glucuronolactone, and L-carnitine are chemicals that are found naturally in the body. Unless you have a deficiency, there is no evidence they provide a boost in energy levels.
B-Vitamins in Energy Drinks
Many energy drinks contain high doses of B-vitamins. The body needs B-vitamins to convert food into energy, but most people have no trouble getting what they need from food. While normal amounts of B-vitamins are healthy, higher amounts can cause liver inflammation (hepatitis).
Vitamin B3 and Toxic Hepatitis
One of the most controversial vitamins is niacin (Vitamin B3). Niacin elevates liver enzyme levels, which is a symptom of liver damage. In high doses, it can accumulate in the liver and cause sudden and severe liver injury or death. This is also known as non-viral hepatitis or toxic hepatitis.
Energy Drinks and Hepatitis
There are two reports of people who had hepatitis (liver inflammation) after consuming excessive amounts of niacin in energy drinks. One was reported in 2011 involving a 22 year-old girl who consumed 300mg of niacin per day in 10 energy drinks for two week. The other case was reported in 2016, and involved a 50-year old construction worker who drank 4-5 energy drinks per day (160-200mg of niacin) for three weeks.
Symptoms of Liver Damage
Toxic hepatitis occurs when poisonous substances in the bloodstream damage cells in the liver called hepatocytes. The symptoms may include:
- Flu-like illness
- Yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Dark-colored urine
- White or clay-colored stools
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itching or rash
- Loss of appetite
Energy Drinks – Supplements or Soda?
Energy drinks look like soda, but with much more caffeine and vitamins. Adding to the confusion, they are marketed to the same demographic as soda (teenagers and young adults) and they are sold in same section of the store. But while soda-manufacturers are strictly limited to 71-mg of caffeine per 12-fluid oz, the makers of energy drinks are not.
What is the problem?
Energy drinks are marketed as “dietary supplements” rather than food. On most energy drinks, you won’t find a label with the amount of amount of caffeine or other mystery ingredients. You won’t find warnings about caffeine toxicity or risks for children, pregnant women, and people with heart conditions.
Energy Drink Studies
In March 2016, a study found that consuming just two cans of energy drinks per day can increase blood pressure and cause irregular heart rhythm. Energy drinks may pose higher risks in teenagers. One study of high school students found higher rates of head injuries in teens who drank at least 5 energy drinks in the last week. Other studies have found that young adults who consume just one energy drink per day could experience spikes in blood pressure and stress hormone levels.
Monster Energy Lawsuit Settlements
In June 2015, Monster paid confidential settlement in two lawsuits filed on behalf of men who died after drinking Monster Energy. One of those settlements came just before a trial in the case of Alex Morris, a 19-year-old who died of “cardiac arrythmia and cardiomyopathy” after drinking two 16-oz cans of Monster every day for three years. His family filed the lawsuit in 2013.
Monster Class Actions
Monster Energy is facing multiple class action lawsuits in California. These class actions do not involve poeple who were injured. Instead, they are seeking refunds for everyone who bought Monster Energy due to violations of state laws against false advertising.
Energy Drink Injuries & Deaths
U.S. poison control centers receive thousands of calls involving children under 6 years old who consumed energy drinks, with some reporting seizures, heart problems, and other neurological or cardiovascular side effects. Of the 1,500 calls to poison control centers regarding energy drinks, 51% involved children.
The FDA has received reports of at least 17 deaths linked to energy drinks with high levels of caffeine.The agency also reported that 5-Hour Energy was linked to 13 deaths between 2008 and 2012. In 2012, the FDA confirmed that Red Bull was associated with 21 reports of side effects, including 10 serious injuries.
Monster Energy Drink Linked to Death of Teenager
In August 2012, Monster Energy announced that they were under investigation after the death of a 14 year-old girl named Anais Fornier. The girl consumed two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks in quick succession, and suffered a fatal irregular heartbeat due to “caffeine toxicity” exacerbated by an underlying heart problems. Her parents filed a lawsuit in October 2012.
Energy Drinks and Sports
Much of the advertising for energy drinks depicts hard-bodied athletes working out, climbing mountains, biking, and more, apparently after consuming the energy drinks in the advertisements. These ads do not warn people to consume water in addition to the energy drink before working out, even though the diuretic effect of caffeine can contribute to dehydration. Energy drinks and sports might not be a good combination, especially without enough water. Exercise causes increased blood pressure and heart rate. Energy drinks could cause further increases that might exacerbate heart problems in some individuals.
5-Hour Energy Shots
The most popular energy shot is 5-Hour Energy. Though each product has a different cocktail of stimulants, the most common ingredients are caffeine, B-vitamins, taurine (amino acids from animal sources), artificial flavoring, coloring, and sweeteners. They are marketed toward athletes and people who “get that 2:30 feeling” while on the job. They are also commonly used as mixers for alcohol at bars and clubs.
How Much Caffeine Are You Drinking?
Because the manufacturers are not required to list the amount of caffeine on the label, a consumer really has no idea how much caffeine (or any other ingredient) is in the drink. Many manufacturers claim the amount of caffeine is comparable to a cup of coffee. A strong cup of coffee can contain 180-mg of caffeine. Experts warn that people should limit their daily caffeine intake to 200 or 300 milligrams each day.
High Doses of B-Vitamins in 5-Hour Energy
5-Hour Energy contains thousands of times your recommended daily dose of B-vitamins (8,333% of B12, and 2,000% of B6). Unlike caffeine, B-vitamins are not stimulant drugs. Though the body needs some B-vitamins to extract energy from food, it only needs a small amount. The rest is excreted. Most of the energy from non-caffeinated energy drinks comes from sugar.
Energy Drink Side Effects
Side effects of energy drinks may include:
- Caffeine Jitters
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
- Increased breathing rate
- Heart problems
- Heart attack
- Cardiac arrest
- Dehydration, leading to heat exhaustion
- Kidney problems
- And more
Need a Texas Energy Drink Lawyer?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
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