segunda-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2011

Energy Drinks Pose Serious Health Risks for Young People

Emma Hitt, PhD

From Medscape Medical News

February 14, 2011 — A lack of research and regulation associated with energy drinks, combined with reports of toxicity and high consumption, may result in potentially dangerous health consequences in children, adolescents, and young adults, according to a review of scientific literature and Internet sources.

Sara M. Seifert, BS, and colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Miami, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Florida, reported their findings in a report published online today and in the March print issue of Pediatrics.

According to the review, self-report surveys indicate that energy drinks are regularly consumed by 30% to 50% of children, adolescents, and young adults. The current trial questions the use of energy drinks in these young populations, as they provide no therapeutic benefit and are associated with risks for serious adverse health effects.

The authors note that because energy drinks are categorized as nutritional supplements, they avoid the limit of 71 mg caffeine per 12 fluid ounces that the US Food and Drug Administration has set for soda, as well as the safety testing and labeling that is required of pharmaceuticals. As a consequence, energy drinks can contain as much as 75 to 400 mg caffeine per container, with additional caffeine not included in the listed total often coming from additives such as guarana, kola nut, yerba mate, and cocoa.

"Of the 5448 US caffeine overdoses reported in 2007, 46% occurred in those younger than 19 years," the authors note.

Advertising, Risky Behavior Compound Overdose Potential
The authors suggest that youth-aimed advertising of energy drinks and a tendency for risky behavior help compound the potential for caffeine overdose in young people. 

The authors recommend a maximum caffeine intake of 2.5 mg/kg per day for children and 100 mg/day for adolescents, although safe levels of consumption of other energy drink ingredients have not been established.

Although US poison centers have only recently begun tracking toxicity of energy drinks, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand have reported numerous adverse outcomes associated with energy drink consumption. These include liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory disorders, agitation, confusion, seizures, psychotic conditions, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, rhabdomyolysis, tachycardia, cardiac dysrhythmias, hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and death.

Drug interactions and dose-dependent effects remain largely unknown, although the current study reports that the ingredients 5-hydroxy tryptophan, vinpocetine, yohimbine, and ginseng have the potential for drug interactions that could result in adverse effects.

Seifert and colleagues also describe populations at highest risk for adverse health effects from energy drink consumption; these include children, adolescents, and young adults with cardiac conditions, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, eating disorders, and diabetes, and those taking other medications or consuming alcohol. The researchers also note that the caffeine in energy drinks may interfere with bone mineralization during a critical period of skeletal development.

Pediatrics. 2011;127:511-528.

Matéria adaptada de Mesdcape Medical News
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