In a new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014, it has been discovered that children younger than six should not consume any energy drinks as consumption of them can lead to severe cardiac and neurological symptoms.
The study found that most energy drinks contain pharmaceutical-grade caffeine and additional caffeine from natural sources that have been shown to cause a direct increase in blood pressure and heart rate, especially in children.
Additionally, the study found that energy drinks can have upwards of 400 mg of caffeine per bottle, nearly 4 times more than the average cup of coffee.
As well as having dangerous amounts of caffeine, the study found that of the 5,165 reported cases of energy drink exposure, 57 per cent of cases reported severe cardiovascular effects such as irregular heart rhythms and conduction abnormalities. In terms of neurological effects, the study found that seizures were documented in 55 per cent of the cases reported.
While it’s clear that energy drinks are not entirely safe for consumption, especially for children, the team behind the study commented during the 2014 session that they are not entirely sure whether the compounds in energy drinks, other than caffeine, may contribute to its negative effects on children and adults. This is due to many of the ingredients in energy drinks that are often untested on children as well as adults.
According to Dr. Steven Lipschultz, Chair of Paediatrics at Wayne State University and pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, the amount of children affected by energy drink consumption is “concerning”.
“Energy drinks have no place in pediatric diets. Anyone with underlying cardiac, neurologic or other significant medical conditions should check with their health care provider to make sure it’s safe to consume energy drinks.”