A new study has advice for young people thinking about downing that can of Red Bull -- don't do it. The study backs up other research that says such energy drinks are potentially dangerous to children and teenagers.
Researchers from the University of Miami's medical school reviewed data from the government, interest groups, scientific literature, case studies and media reports. They concluded that much more research is needed into the dangers these caffeine-laden energy drinks can possibly pose.
TThe authors say young people are overusing them and facing possible side-effects like heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death.
"We would discourage the routine use," said Dr. Steven Lipshultz, the report's co-author said.
The report, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, said energy drinks should be regulated as stringently as tobacco, alcohol and prescription medicines. It also calls on doctors to routinely ask patients and their parents about energy drink use and to advise against drinking them. The report goes on to say:
For most children, adolescents, and young adults, safe levels of consumption have not been established.
The report said data show that about one-third of teens and young adults regularly consume energy drinks. Yet research is lacking on risks from long-term use and effects in children, especially those with medical conditions that may increase the dangers.
However, in a written statement, Maureen Storey of the American Beverage Association said the report:
"does nothing more than perpetuate misinformation' about energy drinks. Many of the drinks contained much less caffeine than coffee from popular coffee houses, and caffeine amounts were listed on many of the products."
The report focuses on non-alcoholic drinks, not Four Loko and the like that have been in the headlines the past few months. However, the report does say mixing energy drinks with alcohol, which is very common, is also very dangerous.