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Energy Drink Consumption When Young Could Cause Mental Health Problems Later In Life

January 3, 2011: 04:04 AM EST

Dr. Conrad Woolsey of Oklahoma State University says that the consumption of energy drinks when young may cause behavioral changes later in life by manipulating the pleasure-reward and stress neurotransmitters, partly because it takes 25 years for a human brain to develop fully. Tolerance for the pleasure inducing ingredients can lead to addictive behavior as shown by a study that found college students drinking 3-4 energy drinks a week were a higher risk for abusing amphetamine-based medication. Ingredients stimulating stress neurotransmitters can also cause young people to develop anxiety and depression. A survey of college students also linked regular consumption of energy drinks with a higher risk of alcohol dependency. Representing energy drink companies, the American Beverage Association has replied by saying the association between higher energy drink and alcohol consumption does not mean energy drinks caused the alcohol drinking. The ABA maintains caffeine in energy drinks is safe but has not commented on other ingredients.

Cory Minderhout, "Can Energy Drinks Be a Gateway to Addictions?", Food Safety News, January 03, 2011, © Marler Clark
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