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Energy drinks can be found everywhere, and despite warnings, they are still being consumed at an increasingly alarming rate. As safety concerns increase, the same questions are still being asked: Should anyone drink energy drinks? For those that insist on a quick “pick me up” from energy drinks, how much is too much?

A California woman has reportedly shared on Facebook (the post is now deleted) her husband’s story after an excessive consumption of energy drinks.

Identified only as “Brianna,” the woman explained how her husband, “Austin’” began consuming energy drinks “when he started working longer hours and commuting.” Then one day, she received a call that Austin was in the hospital; he had a brain hemorrhage and was in a coma. Brianna went on to say that after conducting a toxicology screening and ruling out drugs, doctors said that Austin’s condition was the result of excessive energy drink consumption.

During his hospital stay, Austin underwent a number of brain surgeries, one which included the removal of the frontal portion of his skull. Austin also suffered a stroke, seizures, and swelling of the brain. Near the time Austin emerged from his coma, Brianna delivered the couple’s first child, a baby boy.

Austin is home now, but still has a long recovery ahead, including physical, speech, and occupational therapy. He requires help with even his basic needs.

Although energy drinks are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Beverage Association claims that the products are safe, stating that they have no more caffeine than coffee from a premium coffee house and that many of the ingredients – vitamins, minerals, taurine, herbal supplements, and guarana (1g guarana = .04g caffeine) are also found in common foods. However, the ingredients in energy drinks are often in higher concentrations than they naturally occur in food or plants, and when combined with caffeine, they can be dangerous (the number one danger being cardiac arrest). Other known problems include headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations, anxiety, diabetes issues, and high blood pressure.

A small study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found commercial energy drinks can potentially harm your heart in ways caffeine alone wouldn’t. Researchers found that when people consume an energy drink, their blood pressure increased by five points after drinking the beverage and remained at mildly elevated levels after six hours. Furthermore, Dr. Jennifer L. Harris, from University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, says that taurine and guarana have not been FDA-approved as safe in food.

So, again the questions are: Should anyone drink energy drinks and how much is too much?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that “children should not consume” these drinks. For adults, it’s important to consider your risk for heart disease or stroke: For anyone predisposed to these conditions, the consumption of an energy drink can precipitate an event. If adults do choose to drink energy drinks, they should never combine these beverages with alcohol or drugs and remember that everything is best when kept in moderation. It is best to limit your intake to 16 ounces per day and avoid all other caffeinated beverages. It is also important to note that depending on the type and size of the energy drink you consume, it is not hard to exceed the recommended amount of caffeine especially if you consume multiple energy drinks in one day.

Mark Bello has practiced law for 40 years. He is currently the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company, and the author of the two legal thriller novels, Betrayal of Faith and Betrayal of Justice (books available on major online book store sites).

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