Over 40 percent of reports about energy drinks to U.S. poison control centers between 2010 and 2013 involved children under 6 years-old, according to a new study.
Energy drinks are beverages that contain stimulants, vitamins and/or minerals. Common ingredients include caffeine, guarana extracts, taurine, ginseng, maltodextrin, inositol, carnitine, creatine and Ginkgo biloba. Some energy drinks contain as much as 400mg of caffeine per container, the equivalent of about 4 cups of coffee. Caffeine intake greater than 400mg daily in adults can result in caffeine poisoning, while in children under 12, this can occur at 2.5 mg per kilogram of body weight.
In a recent study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, researchers analyzed data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System. Information about calls related to energy drinks placed between 2010 and 2013 were reviewed.
The researchers found that of the 5,156 calls related to energy drinks, 40 percent of them involved accidents in children. Forty-two percent of the accidents involving energy drinks containing alcohol resulted in either moderate or major outcomes.
Energy drinks can contain pharmaceutical-grade caffeine in addition to caffeine from natural sources that might increase blood pressure and heart rate. The researchers found that drinks containing caffeine from multiple sources had a higher rate of side effects.
The authors concluded that energy drinks should not be consumed by children, and called for improved labeling on caffeine content and potential health risks.
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