Plants in Energy Drinks

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Why Study Energy Drinks?

In recent years, the Energy Drink Market has grown significantly, to the point where you can purchase one of these energy drinks at almost every convenience store, grocery store, or vending machine. Target audiences for energy drinks are generally athletes, students, and workers. Students like ourselves are particularly at risk;the long hours we spend going to class, studying, and going out does not always leave enough time for sleeping. To keep up with busy schedules while lacking sleep, students turn to outside energy sources.Energy drinks, for many kids, are the answer.

Check out this CNBC video as they discuss the growing US Energy Drink Market (~2:45):

What About Plants?

Though they claim to give consumers an invigorating boost throughout the day, energy drinks have recently come under fire for unforeseen side effects and unhealthy ingredients. The inclusion of herbal ingredients is deceiving, because it is often assumed that because these ingredients are natural, they are safe. This is not the case, for many plants are poisonous, or have serious side effects that can harm consumers. In fact, "'five separate cases of seizures [have been] associated with the consumption of energy/power drinks'" and an otherwise healthy 18 year old man died after drinking two Red Bulls. Because of the vast combination of ingredients, particularly herbal ingredients, "these drinks are a kind of sensory overload for the body, with too much stuff coming in at the same time."

Note the long list of plant extracts being added to common energy drinks, namely Monster and Rockstar:

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Are these herbal additives really effective? Or do their negative side effects outweigh their beneficial aspects? We took a closer look at five common plants used in energy drinks to find out.
Click to learn more about these common plants found in energy drinks:
Ginkgo biloba

Works Cited

1. Brody, Jane E. "PERSONAL HEALTH; Scientists See Dangers in Energy Drinks." The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Feb. 2011. Web. 03 Dec. 2012.