Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy and Energy Drinks — Think Before You Drink! | June 7, 2021

It feels good and it tastes good, it’s easy to drink and it gives you that extra jolt of energy. But is it really worth it?

Think of the death of 18-year-old Irish athlete, Ross Cooney, who died within hours after playing a basketball game and consuming four cans of “Red Bull”.

(Subsequently it was banned in France.)

While we all need an energy boost from time to time, an energy drink may not be the best way to get it, experts say. In fact, the FDA doesn’t even define the term “energy drink,” leading the labeling up to the manufacturer.

There are reports of seizures induced by energy drinks. Some believe they’re caused due to the “crash” that follows the energy high. And although there is no danger of over caffeination in one drink, more than one drink can lead to adverse side effects which include nervousness, irritability, frequent urination, and arrhythmia.

And it’s important to know the repercussions for your body. The entire theory about energy drinks is they will actually give you energy, and they do.

Too much energy and it wears off rapidly, causing the person to go into a tired slump. In fact, seizures can be caused by the increase in the energy which actually burns up that same energy.

The University of Texas Medical School at Houston reported that energy drinks contain more caffeine than a strong cup of coffee, and that the caffeine combined with other ingredients (sometimes not reported correctly on labels) such as guarana, amino acid taurine, green tea and other herbs, vitamins and minerals, may interact. Energy drinks consumed with alcohol may affect heart rates, blood pressure and even mental states. The caffeine content of a single energy drink ranges from 70 — 200 milligrams per 16-oz serving while a 16-oz cup of coffee can contain 20 — 300 milligrams.

Not surprising, most of the energy from these drinks comes from the sugar and caffeine, (which can be very dehydrating), not from the unnecessary extras which might sound romantic and fortifying. But those high-tech sounding ingredients are of no value, and potentially harmful in large amounts. And just trying to figure out exactly how much of each stimulant is contained in an energy drink can be difficult.

“Pimp Juice”, “Full Throttle”, “Rock Star”, “Monster Energy”, “Rage”, “Cocaine”, “Red Bull” — these are some of the high-powered energy drinks being marketed to young adults. The web sites for these products are full of images of macho lifestyles. They promote beverages containing ingredients that sound scientific, but may be unfamiliar to many consumers.

Energy drinks have also been associated with seizures in people with no history of epilepsy. This is thought to be mostly result from caffeine, but taurine may also be implicated. It has anticonvulsant effects, but it in some situations it may actually provoke seizures. And excessive consumption of energy drinks may bring about seizures in those who suffer from certain forms of epilepsy. This is caused by the “crash” that follows the energy high after consumption.

For example, (even though it’s a small sampling), four patients had seizures after consuming large amounts of energy drinks (multiple cans of product, usually on an empty stomach). One patient experienced two separate episodes that were both related to intake of multiple cans of “Monster”. One patient experienced a seizure when using a “diet pill” (containing caffeine) in conjunction with one 24-ounce can of “Monster”. At the follow-up, no further seizure activity was demonstrated by patients after abstaining from energy drinks

Also, energy drinks may pose a serious health risk for some children, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavior disorders. A study, in “Pediatrics”, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, determined that energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit to children, and both the known and unknown properties of the ingredients, combined with reports of toxicity, may put some children at risk for adverse health events.

So whether you’re a kid or an adult…energy drinks are a risky proposition. Is it really worth it?

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  1. Reblogged this on Disablities & Mental Health Issues.


    Comment by Kenneth — June 7, 2021 @ 9:28 AM

  2. Artificial Sweeteners like aspartame can cause seizures.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by andy — June 7, 2021 @ 10:44 AM

  3. Too many carbs, too much chocolate – who knew that was even possible? – all this has to fall away if we are to care for ourselves adequately.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — June 7, 2021 @ 10:48 AM

  4. It makes me think (sarcastically) of a song written by Joe Jackson.

    Here are my favorite lyrics:

    “Everything gives you cancer, there’s no rhyme, there’s no answer.”


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 7, 2021 @ 11:01 AM

  5. I had only one can of RedBull yesterday and had a seizure about an hour later!! At the time I bought it I was telling myself that I really shouldn’t do it but… I guess that proves the point ☹️

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Annie — June 7, 2021 @ 1:39 PM

  6. While I applaud France’s decision to ban the deadly products that cut the young man’s life short, it makes me wonder what the FDA is waiting for before restricting or banning these deadly products that could cause more harm than good.
    Does the FDA represent the good of the general public or the interest of the commercial industry, pushing unhealthy products to the market for profit?
    Shouldn’t consumers made to be aware & protected from the potential danger of the these products, hyped & advertised to provide exaggerated energy to those who many NOT need it in the first place?
    Obviously, making money must be playing greater role than public safety.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Gerrie — June 7, 2021 @ 3:04 PM

    • Q&A Red Bull Energy Drink
      Is Red Bull regulated by the FDA?

      FDA regulates all conventional foods/beverages and dietary supplements through its authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Red Bull Energy Drink is promoted as a conventional food/beverage, and not as a dietary supplement. Most important, the product exceeds safety and labeling requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the FDA’s implementing regulations. Further, Red Bull voluntarily places the caffeine content on its cans and adheres to the American Beverage Association’s Guidance for the Responsible Labeling and Marketing of Energy Drinks.
      Which is why we should know not to drink Red Bull or too much coffee for that matter. I love coffee but sadly limit myself to two single shot cappuccinos daily.

      Keep well


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Michael H — June 7, 2021 @ 4:28 PM

      • Most energy drinks were originally classified as “dietary supplements” in order to sidestep the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s caffeine ceilings for beverages. The FDA does not have a specific category or specific regulations for energy drinks. Typically, energy drinks have been marketed as either dietary supplements or conventional beverages, depending on the product’s ingredient, intended use, and labeling. http://fidjlaw.com/fda-energy-drink-regulation-in-the-news-health-experts-push-for-regulatory-changes-and-monster-moves-to-market-as-a-beverage-instead-of-as-a-dietary-supplement/


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 7, 2021 @ 4:33 PM

      • For clarity let me point out that a regular 8 ounce cup of coffee contains about the same amount of caffeine as as a can of red bull. The FDA has no authority over your local coffee shop and you can get a triple shot espresso as often as you chose! It is up to us to be informed and to make sensible decisions. This website helps in that regard. Thank you Phylis!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Michael h — June 8, 2021 @ 6:13 AM

      • Michael,,, If France is responsible for the wellbeing of it’s citizens, regulating, restricting & banning the production, marketing, sales & consumption of the unhealthy products to it’s citizens, restraining the corporate mercenaries, why would the US fail to do so?
        Why would the FDA fail to alert & warn the general public of the potential health risks of the “energy drinks”, manufactured & blended in with various industrial products unlike the natural product, coffee?
        For the general public to make informed decisions, it would be very essential for FDA to get involved in the process of approving the manufactured products to meet public safety standards for public consumption.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Gerrie — June 9, 2021 @ 2:05 AM

  7. You know Gerrie, it just makes me want to spit. The big corporate names behind this stuff are untouchable. By the FDA or anyone else.

    The Coca-Cola Company now owns an approximate 16.7% stake in Monster. Would you want to take them on?


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 7, 2021 @ 4:20 PM

    • Phylis, It’s just totally insane to imagine that the corporate mercenaries have more means to impose their unhealthy products on the unsuspecting general public than the mechanism & power of the political oligarchy, responsible for public safety.
      It’s too bad the wellbeing of the general public is expendable to corporate profits.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Gerrie — June 7, 2021 @ 4:56 PM

  8. I have been saying things like this since the diet soda T A B was on the market, long before Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi became GKAS sugar substitute diet drinks. SACCHARIN was always bad in those years, so all they did really was to change the name to ASPARTAME, and it was to have been changed to another name because of the brain & heart conditions it has caused in over 38 years. Why couldn’t nobody listen in those 1070’s when I was a teen or younger who KNEW what brain talk is like from TOXINS & CHEMICALS in our foods, drinks & drugs ? AND YES in the 1970’s THAT HAPPENED ? 1975 had only 15 MILLION in the world living with epilepsy, and I want to know why THEY QUIT COUNTING after 2015, when there were then 65 MILLION world wide living with Epilepsy. That 65 MILLION never increases in these past 6 years, as back in 2000 according to NIH 50 MILLION had then epilepsy, as in 1980 had 20 MILLION living with epilepsy. Nobody will ever admit there are root causes of the seizure conditions, that people have, all from a toxic food & drink cartel that people buy 365 days a year and all in every microwave foods & ALL sit in or take out fast foods you eat anywhere which I know my last time at a McD’s was in 1998. Sure people think they have great fries, ( I make better ones) BUT they McD’s fries are never worth 1 time of any seizure activity or a GRAND MAL seizure happening 2 hours later after eating a small order of them. Same goes for all other fast food chains, and if you must Listen to your OWN brain, WATCH for that seizure pattern or seizure activity that happens next.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — June 7, 2021 @ 8:14 PM

  9. No fast food for me in 45 years. So, beat that! 🙂


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 7, 2021 @ 8:51 PM

    • Do you remember your last fast food meal? Did you quit on purpose because of seizures?
      Brava on your recovery!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by HoDo — June 8, 2021 @ 2:50 AM

  10. I quit because I discovered I was allergic to meat and all mammals. No beef, pork or lamb for me. No hoofs. Just fins and feathers. Strange but true.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 8, 2021 @ 9:37 AM

  11. Gerrie, According to a report in Reuters, Red Bull IS now legal in France (EU ruling). And of course coffee is widely available in France, as is the not natural product, decaffeinated coffee. Apparently a major
    problem for the French was the taurine in the original red bull formula.

    incidentally Red Bull has a comparatively low level of caffeine for a so called energy drink. Monster contains far more caffeine, as does a triple venti latte from my favorite local Starbucks!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Michael H — June 9, 2021 @ 3:43 AM

    • Michael,
      Imagine 18 years old athlete dying from drinking 4 cans of Red bull in an hour?
      I don’t see, hear or read of people dying from excessive coffee in an hour.
      Therefore, it’s too obvious that the energy drinks are NOT as safe as coffee for public consumption & should be regulated or restricted in public consumption.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Gerrie — June 9, 2021 @ 5:39 AM

  12. So I really can’t beat 45 years of not eating FAST FOODS, when at the hospital 6 to 7 WEEKS AGO, I ate CHIC FILA chicken on their bun. Oh yeah REALLY GOOD just having it PLAIN with no OTHER MSG junk on it. After 90 minutes A GRAND MAL seizure happens, which was WHY I ate it for the doctor, ( FOR HIM TO LEARN ) Slow brain learning cells he & they all have,, to check out more things with my seizure condition BUT HIS & THE ANSWER is that a RNS is WHAT I NEED. Forget what I did for EVERYONE who has seizures,,, as Never 1 word said to me about that CHICKEN on a bun of CHIC FILA’s good foods, PLUS I HAD FIRES that were fried in deep fried CANOLA or VEGETABLE oils that were HYDROGENIZED aka having MSG IN THEM, that is known to having causing seizures with some people, and the doctor says NOTHING of how brain chemistry can change in those ways by the MANY TOXINS that people are suffering with today. All the reasons as WHY I use pure 100% virgin & UNREFINED CARRINGTON FARMS COCONUT OIL. It also helps decrease apetitie, & help to lose weight, helps brain & heart function to be healthier, just by not getting the MSG toxins. Not the same if you buy the brands of coconut oils at WALMART or COSTCO. All KIRKLAND & GREAT VALUE BRANDS will have MSG’s in them in over 99% of all those 2 brands make. It is a very RARE thing to find 1 item of KIRKLAND or GREAT VALUE not to have MSG in it. Maybe their WATER, but I would not buy that because of the almost 100% of other junk foods & drinks they sell. So BEAT THAT or not, what one lives with,, ( IF IT IS NOT THE POPULAR THINGS THAT ALL OTHERS DEAL WITH ) then all you live with does not matter, when you may have ”a little more knowledge of how your own brain chemistry gets effected by the MANY TOXINS & DRUGS AS WELL, and yet THEY will not LISTEN TO YOU, if you do not do all they suggest will MAYBE WORK, and THEY will not be accountable or responsible IF THING GETS WORSE, by doing all they say do. So I am the crazy one, because maybe STATUS EPILEPTUS might happen, from any device that is NOT a normal brain energy that can disrupt how brain chemistry may get worse & not better, while OTHER TOXIC CHEMICALS can still keep destroying brain neurons & brain cells 24/7. Nobody though tells me HOW SAFE everything else is, and WHAT between a VNS or RNS is worth trying, not based on the cost of getting 1 or the other, which is WHAT ALL NEUROLOGISTS look at 1st that the gadget companies & THEMSELVES are going to make cutting on other persons brains.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — October 3, 2021 @ 9:18 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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