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Arch Pediatr. 2010 Nov;17(11):1625-31. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2010.08.001.

[Risks of energy drinks in youths].

[Article in French]

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Institut de recherche biomédicale des armées, 24, avenue des Maquis-du-Grésivaudan, 38700 La Tronche cedex, France.


The market value for energy drinks is continually growing and the annual worldwide energy drink consumption is increasing. However, issues related to energy drink ingredients and the potential for adverse health consequences remain to be elucidated. This aim of the present paper is to review the current knowledge on putative adverse effects of energy drinks, especially in youths. There are many energy drink brands in the worldwide market, even if only few brands are available in France. Although the energy drink content varies, these beverages often contain taurine, caffeine, vitamins B and carbohydrates. These drinks vary widely in both caffeine content (80 to 141 mg per can) and caffeine concentration. Except caffeine, the effects of energy drink ingredients on physical and cognitive performances remain controversial. Researchers identified moderate positive effects of energy drinks on performances, whereas others found contrary results. The adverse effects of energy drink can be related to either the toxicity of ingredients or specific situations in which energy drinks are used such as ingestion in combination with alcohol. Although the issue of taurine-induced toxic encephalopathy has been addressed, it is likely that the risk of taurine toxicity after energy drink consumption remains low. However, whether the prolonged use of energy drinks providing more than 3g taurine daily remains to be examined in the future. The consumption of energy drinks may increase the risk for caffeine overdose and toxicity in children and teenagers. The practice of consuming great amounts of energy drink with alcohol is considered by many teenagers and students a primary locus to socialize and to meet people. This pattern of energy drink consumption explains the enhanced risk of both caffeine and alcohol toxicity in youths. Twenty five to 40% of young people report consumption of energy drink with alcohol while partying. Consumption of energy drinks with alcohol during heavy episodic drinking is at risk of serious injury, sexual assault, drunk driving, and death. However, even after adjusting for alcohol consumption, students who consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks had dramatically higher rates of serious alcohol-related consequences. It has been reported that the subjective perceptions of some symptoms of alcohol intoxication are less intense after the combined ingestion of the alcohol plus energy drink; however, these effects are not detected in objective measures of motor coordination and visual reaction time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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