Energy Drink Side Effects (and how to avoid them)

cans of different brand of energy drink on a table

Energy drinks are popular all over the world. They give you just the energy boost needed to get through the day. Energy drinks are second to multivitamins as the most popular dietary supplement in the US.

But what if energy drinks are all you take for an energy boost?

Sure, it can be tempting having energy drinks as your go to source of energy. However, energy drinks can have potential side effects if not consumed properly. The various ingredients in energy drinks are likely to produce side effects when consumed in excess. 

For some, the side effects could be something minor like a tingling sensation in their body. For others, it can be fatal.

What are the negative side effects of energy drinks?

Here’s a list of the possible side effects of energy drinks.

Possible minor health effects from drinking energy drinks:

  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue and sugar crashes
  • Stomach Irritation
  • Headaches
  • Chest pains
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate

Possible more dangerous effects of drinking energy drinks:

  • Caffeine addiction
  • Dehydration and weakness
  • Poor dental health
  • Kidney stones
  • Respiratory problems
  • Miscarriage
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Caffeine overdose
  • Niacin overdose
  • Risk-seeking behavior
  • Diabetes
  • Death

How do the ingredients in energy drinks affect you?

Energy drinks, when consumed in moderation, aren’t likely to cause any health problems.

However, there isn’t much understanding of the long-term effects of drinking energy drinks.

With all the ingredients in energy drinks, it’s no surprise that you can occasionally have health issues from consuming them.

Here’s a list of the ingredients in some energy drinks and the potential effects on your body.

Caffeine

An ingredient commonly found in almost any energy drink.

Said to help reduce:

  • the risk of gallstones
  • relieve headache
  • prevent certain heart illnesses

However, the caffeine levels in an energy drink vary depending on the particular brand. To see a list of the energy drinks with the highest caffeine content on the planet, check out my other article.

Some energy drinks contain nearly as much as the recommended daily maximum intake of caffeine like:

Monster

Monster Caffeine content Strongest energy drink ranked
A can of Monster contains 160mg caffeine

and Bang Energy drink

Bang energy drink caffeine content strongest energy drink ranked 2019
Bang energy drink contains 300mg caffeine

The maximum daily dosage of 400mg per day is considered safe for consumption for most healthy adults.

Higher dosage than what is recommended can lead to serious side effects such as caffeine addiction, high blood pressure, anxiety, and digestive issues.

Check out my post on what is the best energy drink to find out which energy drink has the highest caffeine content.

Guarana

Guarana is a popular energy supplement due to its high caffeine content.

Guarana is mainly used as an ingredient in energy drinks to improve energy levels, athletic and mental performance. 

In my research into guarana, I found that,

  • It was never specified what maximum daily dosage for guarana is consider safe.
  • It is considered safe in small amounts
    Minor side effects like sleeplessness, anxiety, increased heart rate, and stomach irritation might occur after consuming Guarana.
  • It is unsafe and potentially lethal in higher doses
     In high amounts, it can cause an increase in heart rate and high blood pressure.
  • Overdosing can cause seizures.

Taurine

Lots of energy drinks contain taurine. Taurine helps improve mental and physical performance.

Based on known evidence, there isn’t much to say about the side effects of taurine. There doesn’t appear to be many potential negatives from taurine consumption.

However, not much is known about the long-term side effects of taurine.

Because of that, France initially banned Red Bull due to its taurine (and caffeine) content but has since lifted the ban since 2008.

One thing that is known about long term effects of taurine is that Japanese people have diets that are high in taurine and they are also famous for their long life spans.

There might be something to this taurine stuff!

two pictures of Red Bull energy drink with the one on the right showing the nutritional contents of Red Bull
A can of Red Bull contains taurine and many other ingredients

Sugar

Who doesn’t know about sugar? It’s delicious, sweet, used in almost everything you can think of and is also commonly found in energy drinks.

You’ll most likely run into some health issues if you consume too much sugar.

Having too much sugar is known to cause:

  • Skin damage
  • Tiredness
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes

Artificial Sweeteners

The replacement to sugar in many energy drinks. Commonly found in energy drinks as aspartame, ace-k and sucralose.

However, there aren’t any known side-effects of these sweeteners.

B Vitamins

More than 3grams of Niacin (B3) can potentially cause severe liver problems and loss of vision.

Inositol

More than 12grams of Inositol (B8) can cause mild side effects such as nausea, gas, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness.

Glucuronolactone

No known side effects.

Ginkgo Biloba

Can possibly cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, headache, stomach aches, restlessness, vomiting, and dizziness.

Ginseng

There have been studies that have linked ginseng to causing agitation in people with schizophrenia.

The common side effects of ginseng include low blood pressure, diarrhea, insomnia, headache, loss of appetite, mood swings, dizziness, breast pain, and rapid heartbeat.

L-carnitine

The most common side effects include nausea, stomache aches, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, and seizures.

L-Theanine

L-Theanine is mainly found in tea and many energy drinks have started using it in their products recently too.

There hasn’t been any scientific proof stating that it causes serious health issues. However, there have been several reports where L-Theanine may cause side effects such as headaches and sleepiness.

Benzoic Acid (sodium benzoate) and Sorbic Acid

Most commonly found in energy drinks as preservatives.

The Asian Journal of Chemistry previously published a report and found that high doses of benzoic and sorbic acid can cause severe health risks such as metabolic acidosis, convulsions, and hyperpnoea.

Bang energy drink contains some ingredients with known potential side effects.
A can of bang energy drink contains potassium sorbate.

Potassium Sorbate

  • Commonly found in energy drinks as preservatives
  • Known side effects include allergies or scalp irritation

Citric Acid

The citric acid in energy drinks is mainly artificial.

The National Institute of Health recently published a case study that revealed joint pain with swelling and stiffness, muscular and abdominal pain and stomach cramps in four individuals after consuming foods containing artificial citric acid.

Glucose

Otherwise known as Dextrose, is mainly used to treat people with low sugar levels in their blood.

It’s also known to:

  • cause allergic reactions in some people
  • cause side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea

Alternatives to get your daily boost of energy

There are many alternatives to getting a daily boost of energy. Here’s a list of the other things you can do to get your energy levels up, instead of reaching for an energy drink.

Get Active

Exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Exercising can help to boost your fitness levels and your overall health.

According to articles, the benefits of exercising are many.

However, you don’t have to perform hardcore workouts in order to experience any benefits.

In fact, just by going out for a short walk can have a noticeable impact on your energy levels.

The next time you needed an energy boost? Just perform some simple workouts and see how great you feel afterwards.

Does exercise really improve your energy? This video explains it…

Get More Rest

Rest is what usually gets pushed aside first when we’re busy trying to meet deadlines.

Most people reduce the hours that they should spend resting in bed. Little do they know, spending enough time resting can help boost your energy levels.

You should get at least 8 hours of sleep per day, although some people might require a little less.

If you’re having problems falling asleep due to work stress or personal worries, you can try meditation to calm your mind and doze off more easily.

You should also avoid using phones or other electronic devices near your bedtime. The use of electronic devices has been linked to emitting blue light that can cause trouble falling asleep.

Rehydrate Yourself

Your body is made up of 60% water. Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration which can affect your energy levels. Dehydration can cause you to feel fatigued throughout the day.

As you go about your day, you lose water through sweat and urine. To remain hydrated, make sure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things that you can do for your energy level.

The ingredients like nicotine in cigarettes are extremely toxic and increase your chances of developing health issues over the long run. This can indeed have an effect on the efficiency of your lungs.

Over time, there won’t be enough oxygen circulating around your body, making you feel much more lethargic.

If you’re a smoker and you want to improve your energy levels, the best thing you can do is to quit smoking.

You can also consider smoking e-cigarettes which have some non-nicotine options.

Eat a Balanced Diet

The human body needs fuel to keep on going. If you’re always out of energy, maybe it’s time to take a look at your eating habits.

Eating natural food instead of processed foods will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.

You can start off by making minor changes to your diet. Start by, eating more vegetables and less oily foods. You might just see an improvement in your energy levels from that alone.

Be Social

Humans are social creatures.

Having social connections is very important in maintaining a healthy life.

Social isolation can cause depression which can affect your mood and energy level. Sometimes you just feel like isolating yourself from people as being around people can take up lots of energy.

Isolating yourself might just be counterproductive in helping to increase your overall energy levels.

People with strong and healthy social ties tend to be happier and less depressed. They are also less likely to feel stressed out by challenging situations. People who are happier tend to have more energy.

So, whenever you’re feeling down and tired, just get out there and socialize.

Reduce Stress

It’s very common for people to feel stressed in their life.

Over time, this can take a toll on your physical and mental well being. Studies have shown that stress has been commonly linked to low energy levels.

There are many ways to reduce stress levels.

Methods to reduce your stress levels include yoga, taking some time off work and exercise.

You could also try meditation, which has been proven over and over again to help in reducing anxiety and stress.

Or you can try REIZE !

REIZE Energy Drink is very convenient.
REIZE could be just the solution to your problems.

If you’re still looking for an energy drink option to give you the kick you need without the devasting side effects, REIZE might be what you’re looking for.

REIZE is lower in caffeine than most energy drinks, but still rich in Taurine and vitamins which is good for your overall health. You can also mix the powder with regular water if you prefer, which makes it more gentle on your stomach compared to a lot of the other fizzy energy drinks.

REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink, which is a lot more affordable than most other energy drinks on the market.

Give REIZE a try today and you might just find that REIZE is the best solution for your energy needs.

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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