Posted by: dietingnow | May 23, 2010

Understanding the Ingredients in Energy Drinks

The rise of energy drinks in the beverage/soft drink industry has been astronomical. They are now found in every convenience and grocery store in every town and are available to all for purchase anytime of the day or night. To be sure, the premise of energy drink sales is simple enough: create a blend of methylxanthines, vitamins, fruit juices, and herbal supplements then proceed to market this generally sugary concoction as an energy increasing and focus enhancing beverage. It certainly seems innocuous enough, but the use of stimulants and supplements should be understood lest the risk of undesirable and adverse effects be exacerbated by lack of knowledge. As with all things that effect the chemical functions of the body, its important to understand the ingredients in energy drinks indulging (they come with a warning label advising against excessive consumption for a reason).

The allure of supplemental energy and added focus coupled with the ease of accessibility lends greatly to the success of energy drinks, but perhaps a query ought be posed as to what exactly is happening in the flash-bang grenade styled cans of liquid energy. There are a vast array of chemicals and metabolic function effected ingredients that interact with one another in their various stages of break down and absorption into the tissues of the body that are thusly effected. Given that these interactions are generally very intricate in nature, this will cover the most heavily represented ingredients in most energy drinks.

The primary ingredient in most energy drinks is Caffeine. This serves as an energy booster by temporarily combating drowsiness and increasing alertness. Sounds great, but caffeine is a diuretic and consumption of large quantities can result in dehydration which, though not only unpleasant, will then result in an opposite reaction. If the body is dehydrated by a single percent the performance of an individual may decrease by as much as ten percent. This is mitigated when an individual increases their tolerance to caffeine with consistent use. It is also worth noting that many other relatively common ingredients in energy drinks, such as guarana, may themselves break down to release caffeine in their metabolizing.

Vitamins are a selling point of many energy drinks, especially the B vitamins. The functions of B vitamins in the body primarily revolve around metabolic function resulting in the creation of energy. They are involved in the breakdown of many of the other ingredients found in energy drinks that they may enter the body more readily and in turn perform their associated functions more rapidly. That most energy drinks contains several times the recommended daily dose of B12 should be of little concern as there appears to be no ill effects of even extreme doses of B12. B6 supplements on the other hand have been found to cause a temporary deadening of certain nerves such as the proprioceptory nerves, causing a feeling of disembodiment common with the loss of proprioception. This is however only found in supplemental vitamin B6 cases and is reversible by simply ceasing use of the supplement.

Taurine has a consistent presence in energy drinks but has yet to be shown to be energy-giving. Its consumption does however have many known benefits. Studies have shown it to be an effective agent in the removal of fatty liver deposits, the prevention of liver disease, and the reduction of cirrhosis in rats and some other tested animals. In humans it is believed to be of benefit in matters concerning blood pressure and possibly in the alleviation of other cardiovascular issues.

Sugars are complex energy rich substances that are very commonly found in energy drinks and are highly caloric and quick to be metabolized. They can however cause unwanted crashing effects after they have run their metabolic course. This is especially true when in conjunction with caffeine as their combined diuretic effects will cause water to be pulled from the body. There is of course the issue of unwanted calories with sugar and the associated weight gain with overindulgence.

Additional Key Ingredients
Other ingredients of prominence in energy drinks are inositol, ginseng extracts and derivatives, creatine, grape seed extract, L-Carnitine, and L-Arginine all of which are involved in a complex but relatively minute, metabolic energy-giving functions. Further information on these and their beneficial and negative effects can be found on various chemical databases and through encyclopedias.

As the energy drink industry is relatively new it has not been fully explored and the pros and cons of the various ingredients of these beverages is still being researched. Anyone interested in further understanding the ingredients in energy drinks and the affects on our bodies should keep an eye open in the coming months for new and improved studies of these complex compounds and their metabolic influences.

There are alternatives such as Tongkat Ali energy coffee that can provides the mental clarity, vitality, and energy desired from energy drinks — without as much sugar and without the negative effects of some of the energy drink ingredients.

Phillip Bynes is a proud husband, father, licensed massage therapist, and Family First Entrepreneur. As an active member of the health and wellness community, he provides resources to people who absolutely love coffee, but are concerned about how coffee can negatively impact their health. He is also a distributor for a rapidly-growing home based healthy coffee business. You can learn more at

By Phillip Bynes


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