St. Ignatius College Preparatory

San Francisco’s Jesuit School since 1855

Energy Drinks: Let the buyer beware!

The combined caffeine and guarana content of a 16oz Rock Star is equal to 5 cups of coffee (550mg of caffeine).

One of the most common ingedients in energy drinks is caffeine, though there are other herbal extracts that are becoming more prevalent. Ephedrine, a potent stimulant that was recently banned in dietary supplements because it caused strokes and sudden death in some users can be listed as ephedra, epitonin, ma huang, sida cordifolia, or sinica, among other things. Caffeine can be listed as guarana, kola nut, mate, Paullinia cupana, or tea extracts.

Some side effects of stimulants beside elevated heart rate and blood pressure include nervousness, anxiety, uncontrollable muscle twitching, heart palpitations and dehydration. Recent studies on stimulant use also show an increase in cholesterol and risk of stroke, espeically in women.

So, if you want to get pumped up before a workout or competition, or if you need a boost during recovery, be careful what you reach for in the grocery aisle.

Gatorade, Powerade and other such sports drinks are excellent choices for rehyrdration and electrolyte replacement. Natural fruit juices and smoothies are also great "pick me ups" after a workout. Avoid caffeinated sodas, juice drinks with low % of natural fruit juice, and of course, steer clear of the high octane energy drinks like Red Bull, Rock Star and even some SoBe products.

Always read the label, and be careful what you put in your body.

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