How Concerned Should We Be About Energy Supplement Use?

2012-03-22 | |
Last updated: 2012-03-22

It just is not possible to go to any convenience store without seeing energy supplements in one form or another. Store owners stock their refrigerator aisles with dozens of energy drinks, most of which feature gaudy packaging and promise to keep you awake and alert without the use of sugar or dangerous stimulants. And at the counter, you can have your pick of pills and “shots” of mystery liquids that promise the same long lasting energy. Many of these products boast containing “all natural” ingredients and downplay any hazardous health risks, but is there more to energy supplements than meets the eye?

What Are The Active Ingredients In Energy Supplements?

Not all energy drinks are created equal. Some, like Monster and Rockstar energy drinks, have boatloads of caffeine in them, which functions as their active ingredient. These drinks are the equivalent of consumer several cups of coffee all at once, and people usually achieve the desired effects of the supplement after a single dose.

Other drinks and supplements derive their power from taurine, an amino acid that exists naturally in most meats. Taurine is critical to overall heart health in normal amounts, but larger quantities of the amino acid (such as those found in energy supplements) can cause an uptick in sensory alertness. Red Bull is among the most popular brands of energy drinks that lists taurine as a main ingredient.

The third most popular active ingredient in energy drinks and supplements is vitamin B12, a vitamin which is critical for human consumption because it assists in normal brain activity and blood production. Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, baggage, and asparagus are naturally rich sources of vitamin B12. But the B12 in energy supplements is a synthesized form of the vitamin, usually offered in quantities dozens of times above the recommended dose. You might recognize the popular 5 Hour Energy shots at the most commercially popular energy supplements with vitamin B12.

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Category: General Health, Health Risks

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