A recent study has revealed that consuming the energy drinks in excessive quantities can increase the risk of hepatitis infection. This blows away the common perception that energy drinks prove to be a healthy alternative to soft drinks. In fact, energy drink consumption has now been known to cause inflammation of the liver and also lead to other risks related to the organ. This is especially true in case of individuals who consume around four to five energy drinks per day on an average.
A Revealing Case Study
The connection between hepatitis and energy drinks was highlighted by a case study published in the British Medical Journal. The magazine reported about an unnamed construction worker, who was brought into an emergency room with the symptoms of lack of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. This individual, who was used to putting in long, labor intensive days at work, initially thought that his symptoms were related to some kind of flu. However, his conviction about his condition began to waver as his urine gradually attained a dark hue and his skin and eyes became yellowish, both of which were indicative of a hepatitis infection.
Surprisingly the man was in absolutely good health, before he was brought into the emergency room. He did not consume tobacco or alcohol and even abstained from taking any illicit drugs. He had been on the same diet for a considerable period of time and was also not taking any prescribed medication. In addition, he was not involved in any kind of high-risk sexual behavior and even did not have a blood transfusion, besides which there was no history of liver ailment in his family. With such a clean health record, the doctors were puzzled about the reasons that might have led to the development of hepatitis infection in the liver of the worker.
The tests also revealed that although the patient was suffering from an underlying Chronic Hepatitis C, it wasn’t a typical viral hepatitis infection. Further investigation revealed that the amount of B vitamins in the patients lever were far higher than even the maximum permissible limits. Then as the doctors delved deeper into the everyday lifestyle and food habits of the worker, they learned that he had been regularly consuming four to five energy drinks per day for the three weeks prior to being admitted in the hospital. Although, he was treated and released from the hospital after three days, the patient was advised against consuming any more energy drinks.
Understanding The Causes
Researchers believe that the high levels of B vitamins present in energy drink as “energy blends”, were the primary cause of hepatitis infection. In fact the toxicity profile of the patient gave a clear indication that he was suffering from an overdose of Vitamin B3, which is also referred to as niacin. Niacin is highly effective in treating cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart attacks and it helps in converting carbohydrates into glucose. Deficiency of niacin is known to make the skin scaly and cracked and even cause diarrhea and dementia.
However, like other good things, consuming niacin in excess can prove quite dangerous. The recommended per day dosage of this essential vitamin should not exceed beyond 100mg. However, with each can of energy drink containing 40-50mg of niacin, a person taking 4-5 drinks a day is essentially taking in 160-200mg of the vitamin on a daily basis. Doing this regularly is bound to raise the level of vitamin B3 within the body to a highly toxic level and lead to hepatitis infection. Although doctors are still not sure whether niacin is the only reason for damaging the liver of the construction worker, the study has surely cast a doubt on the safety of energy drinks.