Best energy drinks for ADHD (and are they OK for you?)

a child jumping into a backyard pool while another child looks on from inside the pool

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, widely known as “ADHD” is a mental disorder that commonly affects children and adults. 

Did you know that there are 3 types of ADHD diagnosis? They are the inattentive type, the hyperactive/impulsive type or the combined type.

Also, did you know that scientist have not yet identified the specific causes of ADHD. It seems to be closely linked to how the mom takes care of herself and her child during pregnancy.

Now, if you have been diagnosed with ADHD but are crazy in love with energy drinks, read on to find out how you can still enjoy your favorite ones without compromising your health. 

I’m sure you’ll learn a few new things by the end of this article, so stay with me.

Disclaimer: consult your doctor regarding your dietary requirements if you are on ADHD medication before drinking energy drinks.

Symptoms of ADHD

Usually, when we see someone with the inability to focus or who likes to move around a lot, we tend to “diagnose” them with ADHD.

It’s no laughing matter and we have a duty of care as respectable humans to help someone’s mental health.

Some basic symptoms of ADHD are:

• high activity levels

• inability to keep still

• short attention span

These symptoms are more noticeable in children than adults with ADHD.

doctor holding a red stethoscope
If you think you might have symptoms of ADHD, check with your doctor.

Triggers for ADHD

ADHD is usually triggered by some common factors which include:

stress – someone with ADHD isn’t able to filter out stimulus from the environment thus causing anxiety that can raise stress levels.

poor sleep – inadequate sleep leads to less concentration and comprehension. It can also cause hyperactivity in order to compensate for the lethargic feeling.

certain foods – your diet can exacerbate or alleviate the triggers of ADHD. Further information on this below.

overstimulation – crowded places, such as restaurants during lunch hour, busy supermarkets or even malls may lead to outbursts.

technology – flashing images and excessive noise are triggers, which could be derived from technology like cellphones, laptops or the television.

Myths and Facts about ADHD

Let me quickly share with you 3 myths and facts about ADHD.

1. ADHD equals to hyperactivity 

Usually yes, but in certain cases actually no. Inactive ADHD means that someone appears spacey and unmotivated.

2. Those with ADHD can never pay attention 

They actually can and do pay attention to activities that they are interested in. However, they tend to lose focus when things start getting repetitive or boring.

3. Medication can cure ADHD 

There is no medication to cure ADHD, but there are medications to help you cope with symptoms of ADHD. Education, therapy, a good support system and good nutritional can also help you.

Recommended food for ADHD

To keep ADHD at bay, here’s a list of recommended food that might help if you are suffering from ADHD:

• Foods rich in protein

• Balance meals

• Vitamins and minerals

• Zinc, iron and magnesium

• Omega 3 fatty acids

ADHD and sugar

Those with ADHD are usually “turned on” by sugar. Sugar is rumored to cause the extreme hyperactivity, especially in children.

There is no scientific proof that sugar causes ADHD. But I do agree that sugar does give someone extra energy because of the spike in blood sugar level.

However, children that consume excess sugar and might become hyperactive due to the timing or the situation. For example, if you give a child ice cream near bedtime, of course the child will be too active to want to sleep. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the sugar is causing the hyper activeness.

But, everyone has a different reaction to sugar. If you find your child reacts negatively after consuming sugar then you might want to cut down your child’s sugar intake. Sugar is unhealthy anyway, no matter what the situation is.

Adults too react similarly to sugar. So, an adult with ADHD might want to steer clear of sugar to avoid the extra energy boost and the sugar crash that comes after, but once again, sugar does not cause ADHD.

ADHD and caffeine

Did you know that caffeine is actually widely used as a psychotic drug as it is a stimulant to treat ADHD. 

This is how it works – caffeine raises the dopamine levels (among other chemicals) that our brains use to send signals. It can help you to feel happier, more alert and energetic. 

So, when you have ADHD, stimulants should help you to feel more calm and stay focused. Which is why caffeine found in many kinds of beverages like coffee, tea, sodas and energy drinks, and in food items like chocolates, can actually help to improve alertness and concentration. 

However, everyone reacts differently to caffeine. Some might find that caffeine triggers their anxiety or further exacerbates their ADHD symptoms.

If that’s the case, you are advised to reduce your caffeine intake or avoid it altogether.

person holding four assorted medicine tablets
Medication is needed for ADHD, but it’s not an absolute cure.

Caffeine and medication

One common medication that people with ADHD might be on is Adderall. Adderall helps to improve your attention span.

Now, taking your medication alongside grabbing your normal cup of coffee or a can of energy drink might not be harmful, but intentionally mixing caffeinated beverages with Adderall could potentially be harmful.

Some might think it would gives extra stimulation, but this is not how you should take it. Always exercise caution if you are considering combining any medication with caffeine, and consult your doctor for definitive advice on the matter.

Recommended caffeine intake

The recommended daily caffeine intake for an adult is a maximum of 400mg. That’s advice straight from the FDA themselves.

Excess caffeine can cause irritability, an stomach upset, headaches and sleeping problems. It’s therefore wise to monitor you own reaction to your caffeine intake. Some people are a little bit more sensitive to caffeine and can’t even have “mild doses” like a cup of tea.

Personally for me, my limit is 2 cups of coffee or 2 energy drinks a day, which is only around 200mg of caffeine. But, if I take more than that, I won’t be able to sleep well and my tummy might get upset.

If you’re addicted to caffeine, you could check out a post I’ve written specifically to help people like you. 

Back to the relationship between ADHD and caffeine, as much as caffeine might help adults with ADHD, caffeine is generally not suitable for children, which might in turn cause negative side effects.

If you have ADHD, it’s probably smart to avoid some of the strongest energy drinks in the world, something that I’ve previously written about.

ADHD and soft drinks

Soft drinks contain lots of sugar and some caffeine. As discussed above, neither causes ADHD, but both might trigger some symptoms, depending on your tolerance level.

As caffeine might help you with your ADHD, the amount of caffeine in soft drinks might be helpful too. This might be a better option for children or adults that don’t like coffee, tea or energy drinks. 

The caffeine content in soft drinks is usually about 20-30mg per can. I would consider that a pretty low amount of caffeine, and it might not even be sufficient as a stimulant to help your ADHD. That amount of caffeine might be better suited for children, but maybe not for an adult looking for help.

Of course, you could drink a few cans to increase the amount of caffeine you’re consuming, but that comes with the risk of consuming way too much sugar. I believe it’s wise to always choose the healthier choices. 

ADHD and energy drinks

Some energy drinks also contain sugar and they all contain a lot more caffeine than soft drinks. There are also additional energy drink specific ingredients like guarana and taurine that could impact your behavior if you have ADHD.

As with caffeine and sugar, energy drinks do not cause ADHD, but there is some association between drinking energy drinks and increases in hyperactivity.

Energy drinks are usually marketed as unsuitable for children, so children are not encouraged to consume energy drinks even if they don’t have ADHD.

For adults, I think you can still enjoy your energy drinks with caution as long as you don’t feel a tremendous energy surge that could cause any adverse reactions afterwards.

Energy drinks might be good for you if you have ADHD, because the caffeine might help your concentration. 

It’s best to consult your medical professional for personalized advice for your situation.

an assortment of energy drinks grouped together
There’s a vast market of energy drinks, so choose wisely!

Best energy drinks for ADHD

Now let’s get to some recommended energy drinks for you if you have ADHD.

Obviously, one that has little to no sugar and a sensible amount of caffeine is ideal. You might also want one with less calories, as it will be a healthier choice.

XS Energy Drink 

Sugar: 0g

Caffeine: 80mg

Calories: 10

XS Energy Drink looks like a seemingly good choice.

80mg of caffeine is a good amount, not too little, not too much. Generally, I like my energy drinks to contain anywhere between 50mg and 100mg of caffeine, I find more than that to be too much – which might be especially true if you have ADHD.

Being sugar-free is a plus, but the downside of this brand is the astronomical price. It’s worth a try, but I can’t justify it as an everyday drink because it’s just too darn expensive.

Check the XS energy drink price on Amazon.

Red Bull Energy Drink 

Sugar: 27g

Caffeine: 80mg

Calories: 110

Red Bull, a common favorite, also has 80mg of caffeine. The regular version also has 27g of sugar and quite a lot of calories. For me, I think I prefer the sugar free option or a different brand. 

Check the Red Bull price on Amazon.

Fun fact: did you know that Red Bull was once banned in France?

Xyience Energy Drink 

Sugar: 0g

Caffeine: 176mg

Calories: 0

Xyience Energy Drink (pronounced ‘Science’ with a Z instead of an S), looks good with the zero sugar and calories – But, wow 176mg of caffeine!

Although it’s still under the recommended daily caffeine intake, this amounts to about 2 cups of coffee in a single can.

Consider your own caffeine tolerance first before trying this out if you have ADHD. 

Check the Xyience price on Amazon.

This list isn’t exhaustive, if you’re interested to read more about some of the best energy drinks you should definitely check out my other article where I cover quite a bit more information than I had room for here.

REIZE Energy Drink (my favorite)

REIZE Energy Drink is very convenient.
REIZE ships right to your door – talk about convenience!

REIZE has a sensible amount of caffeine, which is enough to give you a subtle energy boost, without overdoing it.

At 50mg of caffeine, REIZE might be the best energy drink for ADHD.

I find that it gives me the perfect energy boost. The combination of caffeine, taurine, ginseng and B group vitamins work together to give me a great energy boost, with no crash in my energy levels afterwards.

It’s also sugar-free and contains just 11 calories per serve.

REIZE ships right to your door for about $1 per drink – including shipping. Now, that’s awesome value for money.

What are you waiting for?

Try REIZE today.

I love it, and I hope you do to.

I also hope it helps with your ADHD, but consult your doctor before switching to any new energy drink, just to double check that it’s appropriate for you.

Marty Spargo

I started my own energy drink brand in 2014 and am passionate about educating people about energy drinks so that they can properly understand the ingredients, benefits and risks without being influenced by the marketing messages put out by some brands. You can read my full bio here.

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