I must confess that I am a bit of a news junkie, especially now during the height of the current political season. While watching news correspondents joke about the late nights ahead in reporting election results, they joked about doubling down on energy drinks. I cringed knowing that the most popular energy shots and drinks are laden with unhealthy levels of caffeine and sugar. While it’s understandable that we often push ourselves beyond our limits, the trend towards artificial boosts is a dangerous one.
In the News
Recently, the FDA announced several death reports related to Monster Energy drink. They are investigating the deaths and also evaluating the sources of caffeine and other caffeine related ingredients to see if there is a concern or correlation. According to WebMD Health News, the “U.S. Drug Abuse Warning network reported a tenfold spike in emergency room visits involving energy drinks.” Most alarming was the fact that over 70% of the cases involved children and teens from 12–17 yrs old.
Instant energy sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Add some edgy graphics, throw in a cool star athlete or two and you’ve got the makings for an excellent marketing strategy. A round table of industry leaders asked a basic question, “Would you rather have an inferior product with superior marketing or a superior product with inferior marketing?” Nearly 100% responded that they’d opt for the inferior product. Just because something is on the store shelf at your local supermarket or commissary, doesn’t mean it is safe or healthy for you. The FDA has a mandated limit of 71 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce soda. Because energy shots and drinks are marketed as nutritional supplements, the FDA limits don’t apply.
Many energy drinks and shots also contain so-called “natural” ingredients for energy and performance enhancements. Watch out for ingredients like the following:
- Guarana — plant containing caffeine as well as theophylline and theobromine which are similar to caffeine
- Yerba Mate — tropical plant said to relieve fatigue and promote weight-loss. Contains caffeine and excess amounts may increase cancer risk.
- Bitter Orange — stimulant like effect — synephrine and octopamine chemicals similar to ephedra which is banned by the FDA.
- Yohimbine - a chemical within Yohimbe (from the bark of an evergreen tree) said to increase blood flow. However, it may lead to severe side effects including irregular or rapid heart rate, seizures, anxiety, depression, even kidney failure. It’s actually considered a prescription drug in the U.S. and is especially dangerous for people with PTSD.
- Alcohol — a dangerous trend to add energy drinks and caffeine to alcoholic drinks. Use of energy drinks and alcohol are linked to higher levels of alcohol consumption. According to recent studies, “Individuals who combine energy drinks with alcohol underestimate their true level of impairment.” The FDA also warned several companies that caffeine added to their beverages is “an unsafe food additive.”
Clean Energy Alternative
Dr. Manny Alvarez at Foxnews.com has it right, “Energy drinks are labeled wrong. They don’t energize you — they stimulate you.” If you really want or need a boost, look to healthy ingredients that tap into your body’s natural energy sources to address the fatigue cycle not mask it over. Here are my favorites (found in 24KTM, see details below) to combat stress, improve my brain function (yippee!) and give me better mental clarity and focus.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids — instrumental in the function of brain cell membranes and proven to help improve learning and memory.
- Resveratrol — improves blood flow to the brain, enhancing brain performance & focus.
- B Vitamins — essential for the body’s energy production and optimal brain function.
- Beta Alanine — reduces fatigue, improves strength and endurance.
- Coenzyme Q10 - brain-enhancing nutrient and central to cellular energy production.
- Valerian Root — provides “alert relaxation,” or energy without the jitters; shown to reduce stress in those experiencing anxiety.
- Gama Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) – serves as a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety; controls the brain’s theta waves and increases endorphins.
Ultimately, the best ways to combat fatigue are to do the things you already know: exercise, get your rest, simplify your schedule to reduce stress, drink water, eat a balanced diet including lean protein, don’t smoke and limit your alcohol intake. If you still want a little boost, cut out the monstrously-amped-bullish hype and stick with natural nutrients that support your body and your brain for a more balanced you!
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The VIP program also provides an excellent income stream as well for military families, veterans, businesses and non-profits. With a $25 annual membership, members enjoy generous wholesale discounts and lucrative retail profits year-round with no minimum purchases. www.reliv.com/join enter sponsor RCN: 53960101
“May all go well with you and may you be in good health.”
Copyright © 2012 by Christine A.Toriello, all rights reserved.