Too many energy drinks? Remember "STARS" to know when to seek help.
Energy drinks rely on highly concentrated amounts of sugar and caffeine to give you an extra boost of energy. They may also contain other stimulating ingredients—some natural and some not—that may be harmful.
Children, adolescents and for people with chronic conditions (especiallyheart or liver issues) should avoid energy drinks completely. For others, they should be used with caution (and common sense). Here’s why:
It’s hard to tell how much caffeine is in energy drinks
Energy drinks may have high-caffiene ingredients aren’t listed on the label, like: guarana, taurine or yerba mate.
Energy drinks are somewhere between a food and a drug
Energy drinks are considered dietary supplements, not food or drugs. So they aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). And there’s no limit to the amount of caffeine they can contain.
There’s no way to know how much is too much
Most adults can safely consume about 200-300 mg of caffeine per day (less than 100 mg for kids). But there are a lot of other substances than caffeine in energy drinks that we just don’t know enough about to know how much is too much. Plus the amount of caffeine in energy drinks is not consistent (or labeled).
Caffeine overload can be serious, even life-threatening
Consuming too much caffeine accidentally or intentionally may cause short-term health issues due to caffeine overdose. Over time, too much caffeine increases the risk of seizures, insomnia, kidney problems, altered heart rhythm, increased blood pressure or mood changes.
Get help if you’re seeing “STARS”
Use “STARS” to remember these symptoms associated with caffeine overdose:
- S - Sudden nausea, vomiting, or nervousness
- T - Tremors
- A - Altered heart rhythm or increased heart rate
- R - Restlessness
- S - Sweating
If you suspect that you or someone you know has had too much caffeine and collapses, has a seizure, or can’t breathe, call 9-1-1 right away.