Before we had electricity humans all pretty much got about eight to nine hours of sleep a night because there wasn’t much else to do.  They went to bed when it got dark and the alarm clocks that work them up were the birds singing.  Not only did they not have energy drinks there was a bunch of other stuff they didn’t have either.  Like health plans.  No need to pay those monthly health insurance premiums.  Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have any senior health coverage and no one would have had no clue what a high deductible health plan was.

Let’s fast forward to modern times.  Now we have electricity to keep us up 24/7 if we could stay awake that long.  Sometimes we do need to stay awake for long periods of time.  Important exams, deadlines at work, or tax professionals around April 15th!  However, recent statements from health care professionals have not been very positive about energy drinks.

In an article from Reuters Health a large group of American doctors are urging kids and teens to avoid energy drinks and only consume sports drinks in a limited amount. “Children never need energy drinks”, said Dr. Holly Benjamin, of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who worked on the new report.  “They contain caffeine and other stimulant substances that aren’t nutritional, so you don’t need them.”

From here are some popular drinks and what they contain:

5 Hour Energy Drink includes vitamins B-6, B-12, B-3 or niacin and B-9 or folic acid. The drink contains 30 mg of niacin which is equal to 150 percent of your recommended daily allowance or RDA.  40 mg of vitamin B-6 which is 2000 percent of your RDA, 40 microg of folic acid which is 100% of RDA and 500 microg of B-12 which is 8,333 percent of RDA.

Rock Star Energy Cola contains herbal extracts, caffeine and various vitamins for energy.  B vitamins included in the cola drink are B-2, B-3, B-5, and B-6.  Daily values of these nutrients include 200 percent of RDA for B-2, 100 percent of B3, and 100 percent of B-5 and B-6.

Red Bull has 100 percent of RDA of niacin, 80 percent of B-12 and 250 percent of B-6.

There is no scientific proof that over consuming of B vitamins will give you more energy.  Most health care professionals think the body just passes it off through urine.  In addition an 8.5 ounce can of energy drink may contain anywhere from 50 to 160 milligrams of caffeine.  An 8 ounce cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine.

Here’s where you may be getting more than energy in your energy drink.  Caffeine, which can improve attention, also increases blood pressure, and causes sleep disturbances in children.  More than 600 mg of caffeine a day may also cause: insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach upset, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors.  Last time I checked, water had no side effects.