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Wake up! Energy supplements are hazardous to your health

By Andrea VegaSpecial to the Chronicle

Like batteries power a remote control, energy drinks provide the vigor that the ever-busy college student needs to make it through each semester. The liquid energy has taken command over many students’ lives, serving as a substitute for proper nutrition and adequate sleep.

With jam-packed schedules, heavy workloads and the cutthroat corporate world looming in the future, who can blame these students? One more energy drink won’t hurt.

Well, for some people, there’s no such thing as one more, because having “one more” occurs over and over again. If the saying that “you are what you eat” holds true, do you really want to be a jitter-inducing bottle of pure caffeine over laden with massive amounts of vitamins and acids?

Despite repeated warnings of the dangers of energy drinks, many people find that it feels good to chug away at a Monster, Redbull or Rockstar in order to get the fix they need to take care of business. Since we are creatures of habit, forever looking to stimulate our pleasure receptors, we naturally incline toward things that make us feel happy. However, what energy products do to the body is not natural and does not work with our chemistry – plain and simple.

Taking an energy shot like 5-Hour Energy when you have a huge paper due may turn into taking one to get some light studying done, which may eventually turn into taking one to just to feel good. It is a stimulant, and stimulants force your body to go, go, go, even when it is telling you to stop.

It is important to be aware of what may be happening to your body when you consume any kind of artificial energy substance. Different products have different side effects, but all of them can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, dizziness, vomiting, blurred vision, insomnia, anxiety, heart attacks and a slew of other unwanted effects.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data suggests that 5-Hour Energy brings about an outrageous number of serious health risk reports, hospitalizations and deaths. And these are not even cases involving energy drink dependency, which has effects ranging from kidney stones, kidney removal and major heart issues. The reason for these occurrences is not necessarily caffeine, but rather, it is the large concentration of vitamins and amino acids to which many people happen to be allergic.

The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires the FDA to prove that a product is safe using the conditions of use outlined in the product’s label, but many people ignore directions on labels. Besides, manufacturers have cleverly slipped through proper FDA screening by finding loopholes in the system.

If you have a problem with overconsumption of energy supplements, it is best to slowly retrain your body to depend on itself for natural energy. It may be difficult, even unbearable at first, to get over the “high” that comes after taking an energy product, but ceasing consumption is a choice that will benefit your mind and body in the long run.



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