Energy drinks: this is what they do to the liver

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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The excessive intake of vitamin B3 that is contained in energy drinks, in addition to the high amounts of sugar and caffeine, causes permanent damage to the liver.

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- energy drinks are bad for the stomach. After the veto of the European Parliament on labels that enhance the properties of caffeine and sugar on the packaging of energy drinks, some experts from the University of Florida did not hesitate to describe the case of a man hospitalized with aacute hepatitis after consuming 4 or 5 of these drinks per day for three weeks.

On Bmj Case Reports, in fact, we talk about a fifty-year-old bricklayer who has developed anorexia e abdominal pain then resulted in nausea and vomiting. All symptoms that were initially attributed to a simple flu, but which then came to a dangerous one jaundice widespread.

Once in the hospital, a blood test indicated a high number of transaminases, which indicates liver problems, while more specific tests have diagnosed hepatitis C, most likely caused by an abuse of vitamin B3, also called niacin.

Why these values? With those "doses" of energy drink (4 or 5 per day), the bricklayer took 200 milligrams of vitamin B3 per day (each can contains 40 milligrams), that is double the recommended daily allowance. And an excess of niacin has severe liver damage.

And not only that, the study underlines that about 50% of liver failures in the US are due to dietary supplements, often in "natural" preparations passed off as harmless food supplements: "With the ever expanding energy drink market - write the authors - consumers should be aware of the potential risks of individual ingredients. Vitamins and other nutrients, such as niacin, are present in quantities that exceed the recommended daily doses, leading to accumulation and toxicity risks ”.

What energy drinks do

Are energy drinks only bad for the liver? Alas no: taking too many energy drinks can cause headaches and sleep disorders and, above all, excessive amounts of sugar and caffeine (of which energy drinks are composed) compromise health and one healthy growth.


No energy drinks, therefore, and if you really like them, treat yourself to one every now and then, but never more than one a day! Know, in fact, that the regular intake of this type of drink is linked to a dangerous risk of addiction, so with the passage of time it seems necessary to ingest ever greater quantities. Alternatively, it is better to make energy drinks based on fruit and vegetables at home!

Germana Carillo

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