After an intense day of taking dreary notes, waiting around at a bus stop, or a night of tossing and turning, for some, energy drinks are all they can turn to. Energy drinks are produced under many different names, including NOS, Bone Chillin’ Energy Drink, and Red Rain, each bearing a variety of interesting ingredients. “Energy drinks can give you a heart attack,” and “energy drinks are really bad for you,” are two speculations regarding the outcome of these sugary drinks; there are many more. Jane decided to fabricate her own energy drinks, including many of the properties found in popular energy drinks today. The properties we investigated were Taurine, Caffeine, Ginseng, Guarana seed, Vitamins B2/3/5/6/12, L-Carnitine, Inositol, and Ginkgo Biloba, to prove whether or not energy drinks are bad for you.
Jane and I read the medicinal ingredients, and sugars, for many different energy beverages. Furthermore, we sampled three brands; NOS, Bone Chillin’, and Red Rain. We examined the ingredients. The two most previous energy drinks contain Fructose sugar, coming from citrus and tropical fruits. A re-sealable NOS energy drink of 650mL contains 2750mg of Taurine, which is an amino acid stored in muscles and the central nervous system. Taurine is considered a non-essential amino acid because the body can make it from methionine and cystein. It can also be found in milk, eggs, and animal proteins, like chicken, and beef. Taurine is a potent antioxidant, and lowers blood pressure, LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and triglyceride levels. Taurine helps regulate heart beat and muscle contractions, which is why consumers of energy drinks often have increased heart rate, which also gives them the urge to move, or run. Side-effects of high doses of Taurine, like in most energy drinks, results in the shakes. 500mL of Red Rain energy drink contains 2000mg of Taurine. 1873mg of Taurine is found in 473mL Bone Chillin’ energy drink.
Bone Chillin’ energy drink, as well as the other two, also contain Caffeine, and Vitamin B12. NOS, being the largest in volume, unsurprisingly contains 343mg Caffeine. Bone Chillin’ contains 142mg of Caffeine, and Red Rain has 80mg. Caffeine contains acid, harming the intestines; this is what makes people feel nauseous, when they consume energy drinks too much, or too fast. Headaches are sometimes caused by too much caffeine, but it is a stimulant, and so leaves you feeling alert. Caffeine is safe in low doses, but it is not needed for the body. Vitamin B12 helps with the functioning of the brain, and nervous system, and is involved in most metabolic processes of cells, particularly those of DNA (the forming of blood), energy production, and fatty acid synthesis. Meats, like fish, liver, pork, and beef are all good sources of Vitamin B12, as well as milk and cheese. NOS contains 16.5mcg, Bone Chillin’ contains .60mcg, and Red Rain contains 5mcg of Vitamin B12.
There are many other B vitamins in energy drinks, including Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, and Vitamin B6. Bone Chillin’ energy drink contains 3mg of Vitamin B2 and 31mg of B3, which stimulate skin, nail, and hair growth, the breakdown of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, correcting high cholesterol and the prevention of heart disease. Milk and green leafy vegetables, are both good sources of Vitamin B2, and B3. Red Rain and Bone Chillin’ contain Vitamin B5, and they all contain Vitamin B6. Another name for Vitamin B5 is Pantothenic acid. This acid is vital for human growth, reproduction, and . Too much Vitamin B5 (10-20mg) causes diarrhea, but Red Rain only contains 5mg, and Bone Chillin’ has 6mg, making both completely safe options. Vitamin B6, on the other hand, can cause nerve problems, and because the safe limit is unknown, even a small amount could be harmful. All three of these energy drinks sampled contain Vitamin B6; NOS contains 5.5mg, Red Rain contains 5mg, and Bone Chillin’ contains 3mg of Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is important in energy beverages, because they help absorb carbohydrates and proteins. Although there aren’t as many B vitamins in energy drinks as other ingredients, their little jobs go a long way in preparing your body for the jolt of energy to come.
Some of the other energy drinks we looked at contained some of the previously mentioned properties, as well as common ingredients like Ginseng, L-Carnitine, Inositol, and Ginkgo Biloba. Ginseng is a root that is believed to enhance memory and cognitive functioning, like reasoning, and concentration, boost energy levels, lower blood sugar, and increase “good” cholesterol. Despite the many positive reasons for consuming ginseng root extract, the side effects include nervousness, insomnia (which can lead to psychotic episodes) when taken in large doses, interference with blood-thinners, and allergic reactions, like asthma-attacks. The amount of ‘active ingredient’ in supplements can vary from brand to brand, therefore it isn’t recommended for children, pregnant, or nursing mothers. L-Carnitine is an amino acid that plays a role in fatty acid metabolism. It is also an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, which improves fatigue and lipid metabolism. Inositol is a member of the vitamin B complex, but it is not an official vitamin because the body can synthesize it. Inositol prevents excessive fats in the livers, promotes hair growth, and nourishes the brain. It is important in enegry drinks, because it converts nutrients from the body into energy. Ginkgo Biloba is made from the seeds of the ginkgo biloba tree, which enhance memory, concentration, and circulation. Ginko Biloba is so useful that the German government recognizes it as something that helps with memory loss, concentration, and depression. This seed extract can be taken in a small dose, like 60mg, or a large dose, like 240mg, without causing substantial harm. However, possible side effects include headaches, dizziness, restlessness, blood-thinning, and diarrhea. For this reason, it is recommended that one doesn’t consistently consume large amounts of Ginko Biloba. Guarana can be found in popular brands like Amp, Rockstar, and Talon; Ginseng is in Amp, Talon, and Monster; Inositol can be found in Monster and Talon drinks. L-Carnitine and Ginko Biloba are ingredients in Monster and Rockstar energy drinks.
In conclusion, we weighed the benefits against the side effects, and chose how much of each ingredient we’d need for our energy drink. We chose to make our energy drink 473mL, to match the size of Bone Chillin’ energy drink, Amp, Monster, and more. Unlike the other energy drinks, however, we chose to incorporate a little less Taurine, to discourage the shakes, and anxiety attacks. Because vitamins B12, B2, and B3 are not dangerous, even in excess, we included higher-than-average levels. Vitamin B6 is important, as previously mentioned, because it helps prepare your body for adsorbtion of the carbohydrates and proteins, which is why we stuck in a mid-range volume of Vitamin B6. Inositol is included, in a mid-range dose, to nourish the brain, and help convert nutrients into energy.We included a slightly lower level of Caffeine, and balanced it off by adding more L-Carnitine, to improve fatigue. We reduced the amount of Caffeine so our clients don’t feel nauseous, or obtain headaches. Another reason we added L-Carnitine to our drink is because it is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties; this would help fight side effects. Ginko biloba is a perk in our energy drink, because it enhances memory and concentration. Throughout our investigation, Jane and I discovered many ingredients with numerous health benefits, and a few items with alarming side effects; the key for energy drinkers is to know yourself, and know your health, before dousing your body with unknown chemicals.