Popularity of Energy Drinks Among Young People in the US – Biomedical Research

Biomedical Research Paper Instructions

You have been hired as an expert biomedical research consultant to offer expert advise to the office of the surgeon general on the popularity of energy drinks among young people in the US. Your task on this panel includes to;

  • Identify the common contents of popular energy drinks.
  • Describe the physiologic effects of the substances as well as their mechanisms of action.
  • Identify their physiologic benefits and health risks (using data from previous studies).
  • Give your expert biomedical recommendations (at least 3) to the Surgeon General’s office.

Popularity of Energy Drinks Among Young People in the US

Common Contents of Popular Energy Drinks

Energy drinks refers to a category of beverages taken to offer extra boost in mood enhancement, energy, provide cognitive, promote wakefulness, and maintain alertness. Energy drinks such as Red Bull usually contain vitamins, caffeine, glucuronolactone, taurine, milk thistle, acal berry, ginkgo biloba, carbohydrates, L-carnitine, L-theanine, sugar additives, guarana and ginseng among other herbal supplements. Additives that include kola nut, cocoa, and yerba mate may also be included1.

Physiologic Effects of the Substances and their Mechanisms of Action

Energy drinks are said to enhance mental performance especially memory and concentration.
Caffeine in energy drink is said to induce different acute cardiovascular impacts that include an up circulating catecholamines regulation. It can also yield to endothelium dependent vasodilation and arterial stiffness, resulting to increase in diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Energy drinks with high caffeine dosage is related with numerous cardiac comorbidities that include ventricular ectopy, atrial superventricular and fibrillation and palpitations. Effect of caffeine is said to increase blood pressure acutely, a situation that is believed to stress the cardiovascular system, increasing the possibility of causing arrhythmia2. Energy drink can also result to an increase in the rate of respiration based on the level of plasma caffeine. Caffeine also promotes levels of circulating catecholamme, a mechanism that augment basal metabolic rate. Caffeine in energy drinks is also said to excite the small intestine, resulting to sodium and water secretion, which result to pharmacological effect such as diuresis3. Energy drink consumption can also induce mental illness based on how caffeine impact neurotransmitters. Caffeine inhibits adenosine inhibitory effects on dopamine, thus augmenting the dopaminergic system psychoactivity, affecting behaviors regulation, mood, cognition, executive functioning, and salience attribution. Caffeine is also demonstrated to induce psychosis and manic symptoms to individuals without previous psychotic disorders4

Physiologic Benefits and Health Risks

The large caffeine content in energy drinks gives consumer the desirable effect of enhanced memory, elevated mood and increased alertness. The research demonstrates that energy drink enhance aerobic endurance by maintaining a heart rate of about 65-75% and upholding maximum speed in aerobic performance on cycle ergometers. Mental including memory, concentration and choice reaction are also said to increase significantly. A different study demonstrated that energy drinking increases the endurance of upper body muscle in repeated Wingate performance cycle5. The benefits and harmful effect of energy drink depends on the level of caffeine and quantity taken per day. The safe caffeine intake per day should be less than 400mg. Acute clinical toxicity starts at 1g, and becomes lethal at 5 to 10g. Caffeine physiologically results to cerebral and coronary vasoconstrictions, stimulated skeletal muscle, relaxes smooth muscle and has cardiac inotropic and chronotropic effects, modulates expression of gene in premature neonates, and reduces sensitivity of insulin. High caffeine content increase flow of urine and excretion of swear and change levels of blood electrolyte. Taking more than 4mg/kg of caffeine has been related with unsuitable symptoms that include jitteriness and anxiety. Common caffeine withdrawal symptoms include fatigue and headache1.

Biomedical Recommendations to the Surgeon General’s Office

Energy drink has various benefits to the body while taken in the limited amount. However, taking excess amount of energy drink increases the caffeine in the blood causing various health risks. Energy drink is found to interfere with cardiovascular operation and hence a person who had consumed energy drink recently should not be operated to prevent serious complications, unless ascertained that the caffeine effect did not take part in the cardiovascular system. Excess intake of energy drink may result to diuresis which may result to dehydration, a dangerous situation during surgery and hence, surgeon should wait until the effect of the drink is over and the patient is well hydrated during operation to reduce chances of low blood pressure in the body.  A through clinical investigation is needed on any patients who have recently consumed energy drinks before surgery to ensure one does not have any caffeine effect that would complicate the process or risk the patient life. Content of caffeine in the blood must be determined for such parents.

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