Too Many Energy Drinks May Cause Liver Problems in Men
When feeling exhausted before work, or after, many people are opting for drinking energy drinks, as a substitute for coffee. Besides, some people are consuming energy drinks before workout, sport events, or before other activities that demand hard effort. The problem with that is that too many drinks may cause liver problems in men, as it has been observed in one particular case.
What are energy drinks made of?
All the energy drinks are usually made ofthe same ingredients:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin Bt (Carnitine)
Some of the energy drinks may also contain Guarana, Ginseng, or Glucuronolactone.
Next, let’s see what each ingredient is causing in humans.
Carbohydrates can be good or bad, so we need to know how to choose them. Prolonged-release carbohydrates are so-called good carbohydrates, while those with rapid release (simple sugar or too processed foods) are not very good.
The ones in energy drinks are of the ‘bad’ type of carbohydrates.
Caffeine is the main active substance in Coffee plant, which is well known for its beneficial effects, such as:
- Mild central nervous system stimulant
- Offers an energy boost
- Eliminates the fluids retained in tissues, due to its diuretic properties
Taurine is a subject of many contradictory discussions regarding its origins. In reality, the Taurine is extracted from oysters, and it is an energizing substance, with some aphrodisiac properties, too.
The most commonly used sweetener in the world.
Vitamins B1, B6, and B12
- Vitamin B1 – Plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of several conditions such as alcohol addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, congestive heart failure, depression, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, HIV and AIDS, Korsakoff’s psychosis, plaque sclerosis, Wernicke’s encephalopathy.
- Vitamin B3 – supports the genetic processes in the cells of the body and helps to process the fats in the body. It is recommended for the prevention and treatment of many diseases such as pelagra, dermatitis, headaches, high levels of cholesterol, depression, and mental disorders.
- Vitamin B6 – Helps in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, improves the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, depression, arthritis, and it eliminates the feeling of morning sickness in pregnant women, and prevents the elderly eye diseases.
- Vitamin B12 – Has the largest and the most complex chemical structure of all vitamins, which plays a very important role for the human body. The recommended intake of vitamin B12 helps develop and maintain the nervous system, DNA production, and the red blood cell formation. Vitamin B12 stimulates appetite, increases physical and mental performance, prevents fat accumulation in the liver, and prevents atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
Vitamin Bt (Carnitine)
Carnitine is a nutritional supplement known by the vast majority of performance athletes, coaches, or passionate sports enthusiasts.
Carnitine helps to convert fat into energy, so this substance has become very popular among healthy supplements for weight loss.
In living cells, Carnitine is required for the transport of fatty acids from the cytosol to the mitochondria during fat breakage to produce metabolic energy.
The ribose, which is found in fruits and vegetables, is in fact a sweetener.
Additionally, as said before, some energy drinks may contain other ingredients, such as Guarana, Ginseng, and Glucuronolactone. Let’s see what these ingredients produce in humans.
Guarana is a tropical, 10m long creeper plant that grows in the Amazonian forests of Brazil.
Its leaves are composed, cut, and with small yellow flowers in clusters.
It is well-known for its energizing properties.
The Ginseng is a Chinese plant at origin and is widely grown in Asia, not only in the country of origin but also in Korea, Japan, and Russia.
Some of the Ginseng’s main compounds have sedative, anti-convulsing, analgesic, and anti-psychotic properties.
On the other hand, other of the Ginseng’s main compounds have been shown to have stimulant properties on the nervous system.
There are also studies that show the presence of anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, hypotensive, and immune system stimulating properties.
The Glucuronolactone is a natural metabolite and carbohydrate of the body, formed upon the decomposition of glucose. It has a detoxifying and energizing role.
On the other hand, there is a urban legend according to which the Glucuronolactone has been used in the Vietnam War as a drug in order to stimulate and energize the American soldiers. Maybe some truth resides into this urban legend but there are no pieces of evidence, official, or not, to support it.
Too Many Energy Drinks May Cause Liver Problems in Men
In the case of a 50-years old man, the doctors have discovered that he was suffering from acute hepatitis, which is a inflammation of the liver caused by drugs consumption, and dietary supplements, but it can also be triggered by several vitamins ingested in a higher dosage than the recommended one.
The man went to the hospital reporting acute abdominal pain situated in the area where the liver resides, nausea, vomiting, and a general feeling of sickness. The doctors took some tests and discovered acute hepatitis and hepatitis C. After further examination, they noted that the two forms of hepatitis are of different origin.
The man admitted that he consumed four energy drinks per day in the last month, and that he was feeling sick for two week but thought it was a flu of some kind.
After finding out this information, and after some more tests, the doctors concluded that the energy drinks caused the acute hepatitis in this particular case. However, not all the energy drinks can cause this illness, the doctors said, but only those containing high amounts of Vitamin B3, which, when overdosed may cause acute hepatitis.
The recommended daily dose of Vitamin B3 is 20 mg but the man in this case ingested more than 200 mg per day, all of which was taken from energy drinks.
This case is not singular. The first case of acute hepatitis triggered by energy drinks have been reported in 2011, when a woman developed acute hepatitis from drinking more than 300 mg of Vitamin B3 per day from energy drinks.
In conclusion, too many energy drinks may cause liver problems in men.