|Updated: 10/24/2012 9:43 am
||Published: 10/23/2012 6:03 pm
Most Americans these days would like a little boost in energy in a fast-paced world, but at what cost?
The Food and Drug Administration is investigating a possible link between monster Energy drinks and the deaths of at least five peole.
One of the deceased was a 14-year-old girl who drank two 24oz cans of Monster Energy in just 24 hours. Her family has filed a wrongful death suit against the makers of Monster.
But the FDA's investigation has led to many people calling for tighter restrictions on all energy drinks. Currently, there is no regulation of energy drinks.
Energy drinks of all sizes, shapes and flavors fly off shelves across the country, creating a $10 billion a year industry.
But doctors say they're seeing more and more patients showing up in emergency rooms with serious health problems associated with energy drinks.
Tulsan Jason Bailey drinks Red Bull almost every day.
"Probably two a day," Bailey said.
He knew energy drinks weren't good for him, but he didn't realize just how bad they can be.
Most of the energy in energy drinks comes from caffeine, and Monster puts as much caffeine in its drinks as any of the energy drink brands. In fact, a 24oz can of Monster has roughly the same amount of caffeine as seven 12oz cans of regular soda.
So, what can that much caffeine do to your body?
"Most people will notice palpitations or rapid beating of their heart," Dr. David Brewer, head of cardiology at OSU Medical Center, said.
"And that can lead to heart arrhythmias, which can cause sudden death or collapse, or syncope, passing out."
They're all symptoms that Brewer and his cardiology team see too often lately.
"We ask everybody now how much caffeine do you drink," Brewer said.
"It doesn't change anything for me," Bailey said. "I definitely think there should be some kind of regulation on these things. Obviously, we want to keep it as free trade as possible. But regulation is probably good if we're ingesting something into our bodies."
Specifically, Bailey said, he'd like to see energy drinks regulated so far as to keep them out of the hands of kids.
Kevin Cloud is 15 years old, and frequently drinks energy drinks like Monster. He said it's not secret that energy drinks are marketed to kids his age, and most of his peers drink them regularly.
"Whenever I need it, you know," Cloud said. "Just to give me energy, or wake me up, basically."
But he has seen some of the health risks among his friends.
"When they drink them their heart rates get up too high and they pass out," he said.
When asked if that scares him, Cloud replied "A little bit, yeah."
But despite knowing exactly what energy drinks can do to their bodies, both Cloud and Bailey continue to drink them, and say they don't plan to stop.
Brewer said caffeine isn't bad when consumed in moderation, but he hopes the FDA will start limiting how much caffeine energy drinks can contain.
"Caffeine has been around forever," he said. "However, in these large doses, that's something new. And I'm sure we haven't seen the end of it."