By Lindenberg Junior – Translation: Leandro Saueia

In the last few years, energy drinks became a common item in every supermarket and specialty shop around the world. The marketing has been very strong in the media – often associated for use in sports or wild parties. The main ingredients in these products are sugar and caffeine. Generally speaking, these ingredients have glucose, guaraná and taurine. Some manufacturers add vitamin B and/or some herbs like ginseng, ginkgo biloba or green tea to the recipe.

Brazilian researchers from the University of São Paulo found that young men were no less impaired when they drank a mix of alcohol and a popular energy drink than when they downed a standard mixed drink. But drinkers seemed to think they were less drunk. This is concerning because people who mistakenly think they are less impaired can be a danger to themselves and others, according to study co-author Dr Maria Lucia Souza-Formigoni.

According to research in the April 2006 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, the drinkers reported less fatigue, fewer headache symptoms and better coordination. Energy drink is a stimulant, but can be dangerous for the heart if consumed in excess. Mixed with alcohol, which has an extreme depressant potency, the drink can cause failure in the cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary systems.

See below for the immediate effects in different parts in the human body:

The Brain: Caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline, and lowers the sensation of fatigue and sleepiness. Adrenaline produces the feeling like that of alcohol, which takes longer to recognize, so you drink more than your body can tolerate.

The Heart: Taurine and caffeine stimulates the muscle of the heart, accelerating the heartbeat. This is very dangerous for those with heart and/or blood pressure problems.

The Liver: Drinks with giucoronolactone and taurine in their formulas help the body to eliminate toxins, something that is definitively good.

The Muscles: Calories and B complex vitamins are sources of energy, which improve your efficiency when you’re doing physical exercise. This can make you push your boundaries without even noticing it.

We all love being active and with all the necessary energy to face the day (or night…), but it is best to take into consideration that we must drink these energy beverages in moderation (just like everything in life, as a matter of fact). One serving per day is more than enough. And don’t ever forget: children, pregnant women and adults with heart disease must avoid this kind of drink at every cost.

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