Everyone loves energy drinks, including me. Any time when I’m sitting at work and I’m feeling a little tired I drink Rockstar or a Redline energy drink. Since I started drinking these I’ve wondered what was in them that made me so much more energized and awake! I’ve done some research and found out that there’s a lot more in these energy drinks than I originally thought!
Ingredients in Energy Drinks and What they do
Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in coffee, pop and energy drinks. It incites the central nervous system to keep you lively and awake. Most energy drinks contain between 70 and 200 mg. An 8 oz cup of coffee contains 110-150mg for drip, 65-125mg for percolated, and 40-80 mg for instant. Dr. Pepper gives you 41mg, and a can of Coke provides 34mg. A full can of RockStar has 160mg. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system giving the body a sense of alertness. It can raise heart rate and blood pressure while dehydrating the body.
Guarana is a nervous system stimulant that comes from plants in South America. Amazonians have used it for a long time to increase alertness and energy. There is more caffeine in this than coffee beans and also contains other stimulants like theobromine and theophylline. It is also believed to help people with weight loss.
Taurine is an amino acid that your body naturally produces. It helps to regulate your heartbeat, muscle contractions and energy levels. Usually your body makes enough that you don’t need to supplement. It’s thought, but not proven, that under “stress conditions” like illness, physical exertion, or injury, the body does not create enough and supplements can help.
This type of energy drink ingredient is part of the vitamin B complex family. Studies show that inositol is engaged in the separation of fats in our body. Additionally, it reduces cholesterol in the blood.
B Vitamins help you convert the food you eat to energy, like sugar which is heavily found in energy drinks. The jury’s still out on whether or not they increase energy levels via supplementation.
Ginseng, is an herb known to increase energy, contain some anti-fatigue components, supposedly relieves stress, and increase memory. Ginseng is nothing that’s naturally created by your body, so having this in your drink certainly won’t hurt. 200mg/day seems to be the standard dose, but you can safely take up to 2700mg.
Ginkgo Bilboa is named after the rare tree it originates from. It is believed to help with memory retention, concentration, circulation, acts as an anti-depressant, and even shows signs of helping people with Alzheimer’s. It is thought, however, that most energy drinks do not contain enough ginkgo to be of any benefit.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid usually created by your liver and kidneys. It helps increase your metabolism and energy levels. Because of the way it interacts with your body, it may act as a thermogenic and help increase weight loss and endurance during exercise.
Glucose is the body’s preferred fuel. That’s why you get hyper with a lot of sugar and energy drinks contain a ton of sugar. Therefore, energy. It’s a carbohydrate, and a lot of exercise regiments suggest a good dose of carbs for workouts lasting more than an hour.
Anti-oxidants help your body recover from the damage of free radicals and help fend off illness and prevent cellular damage. Vitamins C and E, Vitamin A and selenium are all anti-oxidants.
Glucuronolactone occurs naturally in the human body as glucose is broken down by the liver and all connective tissue contains this compound. This is believed to aid in detoxification, freeing hormones and other chemicals, and the biosynthesis of vitamin C. It is in energy drinks because it is believed to help with glycogen depletion by preventing other substances from depleting glycogen supplies in the muscles.
Yerba Mate is derived from the leaves of a shrub in the Holly family. It is a natural source of caffeine, but some believe that the form of caffeine in Yerba Mate’ doesn’t produce the negative side affects like the caffeine in coffee and guarana.
Creatine is naturally obtained by eating meat and helps with supplying energy to the muscles. It is usually found in energy drinks and products that are marketed to body builders.
Acai Berry is finding its way into more and more energy drinks. Acai berry comes from the Acai Palm tree, which is found in South America. The berries are rich in anti-oxidants, but not as much as a concord grape or blueberry. Most of the acai berry benefits have no scientific basis and are attributed to marketing hype.
Milk Thistle is mainly found in Rockstar energy drink and used as a liver detoxifying agent. It is placed in energy drinks not really for any energy enhancing properties but as a counter agent to mixing energy drinks with alcohol since milk thistle is supposed to help with hangovers and detoxing the liver. However, studies show that the amount put in energy drinks would be of hardly any benefit.
Wow there’s a lot in those drinks isn’t there! Now obviously not every drink has every ingredient but still! Think of all the caffeine and energy producing things you are drinking, could it all be good for you? Tomorrow I’m going to go over all of the bad energy drinks that really aren’t good for your body!