Energy drinks are beverages containing stimulant drugs marketed as providing mental and physical stimulation through high amounts of sugar and caffeine. Other common chemicals are taurine, inositol, Vitamins B3, B5, B6 and B12, supposed to provide extra energy. This paper will identify structures, why these compounds give energy, health implications and propose an energy drink ban for teenagers. Caffeine (C8H10N402) is below left. Caffeine is fat and water-soluble, being absorbed into blood flowing to the brain.
Adenosine is a brain activity by-product, latching onto brain cell receptors, producing tiredness to make humans sleep, and regulates natural stimulants. Caffeine and adenosine are chemically similar: caffeine instead locks onto these receptors, blocking adenosine (Joseph Stromberg, 2013). Neurons are central nervous system nerve cells, essential for transmitting messages all over the body (Kendra Cherry, 2006). Neurons speed up instead of slow down, producing alertness (I. Yunusa, et al. 2011).
Dopamine and adrenaline are produced ore without regulation, increasing happiness and energy limitedly (Brain Marshall, et al. 2000). The brain builds caffeine tolerance, growing more adenosine receptors to balance both chemical effects: the same high takes more (Kevin Purdy, 2010). Caffeine decreases reaction time and reflexes, disadvantaging athletes (Dana Dovey, 2014). Caffeine functional groups: Functional groups are definite, observable atom formations within a molecule giving characteristics and reactive properties (Steven Hardinger, 2008).
Shape, existence and placement of functional groups within a molecule affect the effect of compounds: caffeine/glucose different from adenosine/fructose (see appendix 1). Sugar (C12H22011), or sucrose, is fructose and glucose composed. Glucose is utilised by all cells for energy. Glucose overabundance results in excess energy as storage fat. Fructose only metabolises infrequently in the liver, and insulin is not produced, which regulates energy intake, storage and usage.
Excessive fructose produces more fat than glucose, alarming as fructose is consumed through high sugar energy drinks (Kimberly Ancira, 2013). Fructose is pentagonal, allowing different properties from glucose (see appendix 1). Taurine (C2HZNO3S) regulates blood water and mineral content and supports muscular development (Katherine Zeratsky, 2015). Muscles are strengthened by its presence: taurine increases muscular function. Daily intake is around 58 mg at most, with “safe” dosage up to 3000 mg: three Red Bulls would match this dosage. Extended excess use is unknown (Yolanda Smith, 2015).
B3, B5, B6 and B12 are B group vitamins. These vitamins contain no energy, but are helpers in hundreds of chemical reactions to change nutrients ingested into ATP, basic cell energy (Jill Corleone, 2015). Each B vitamin helps different reactions, like protein/carbohydrate digestion, etc. When the body reaches the maximum for each B vitamin type, excess is expelled in urine. Deficiency is unlikely if a moderately healthy diet is eaten (Monica Reinagel, 2011). The body can only absorb a maximum amount at one time, and replenishing from nutrition takes weeks.
These are for marketing purposes: there are negligible energy boosts (Ali Eaves, 2015). B3: Niacin B5: Pantothenic Acid B6: Pyridoxine B12: Cobalamin C6H5NO2 C9H17NO5 C8H11NO3 C63H88C0N14014P Guarana is caffeine high, among other numerous compounds. Although conclusive research has not been done, studies show these compounds provide more stimulatory effect: it bolsters caffeine’s effects (Heather Loeb, 2015). Guarana can boost athletic performance and attention span, but reduce accuracy and problem solving (Brian Krans, 2014).
High caffeine and sugar level effects, with taurine and guarana, compound each other, attributing to a high stimulatory affect and severe increase in heartbeat, alertness and risks associated with these compounds. Sugar’s effects are significant over time: tooth decay, liver overload from fructose metabolisation, and high blood sugars leading to diabetes (Kris Gunnars, 2013). Caffeine and sugar are addictive due to dopamine, creating happiness and rewarding consumption. Other consequences are insomnia, headaches and increased heart rate over time (lulia Bodeeb, 2014).
In moderation, caffeine can provide an alertness and sugar sweetness: however, energy drink amounts are too high, with side-effects outweighing benefits. Consequently, energy drinks sent 20,000 Americans to the ER in 2011 (Aviva Shen, 2013). 10% are hospitalised each year (Lenny Bernstein, 2014). This puts stress on healthcare systems, and devastating outcomes for families. Teenagers do not understand what energy drink ingredients do to the body, and are sucked in by marketing and slogans, and do not understand the harm.
Many athletes are sponsored by energy drinks: teenagers who follow their idols may consume these drinks without pondering the ramifications. Athletes should use sports drinks: these drinks are sugarless, replenishing water levels through electrolytes. Caffeine, sugar and taurine improve athletic performance: the cost is addiction and reflex loss, detrimental to athletic ability long-term. I believe these facts constitute a teenage energy drink ban. The information consolidated firmly supports a ban. The monster consequences outweigh the benefits.