Energy Drinks HealthQM

Are Energy Drinks Bad for You?

Energy drinks are one of the most consumed dietary supplements that are popular among men between the ages of 18-34 years and teens between the ages of 12-17 years. They contain large amounts of caffeine, sugars, taurine, B vitamins, glucuronolactone, carnitine, ginseng, Yohimbe, and bitter orange.

Although energy drinks may enhance alertness and improve reaction time, there is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that energy drinks can have serious health effects on children, teenagers, and young adults. These effects include seizures, diabetes, cardiac abnormalities, and mood and behavioral disorders [1]. 

What Are the Effects of Energy Drinks on Health?

1- Effects of Energy Drinks on Mental Health

Many studies investigated the link between energy drinks and mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression; however, further studies are required to confirm this relationship.

Effects of Energy Drinks on Stress

Although several studies reported a positive correlation between energy drinks and stress, most of them were inconclusive due to the statistical methods used and the measuring factors included in the studies.

A study that investigated the relationship between perceived stress, consumption of energy drinks, and academic performance among 136 college students found positive correlations between the student’ perceived stress and energy drinks consumption. [2]. However, several studies provided no significant correlations between the consumption of energy drinks, stress, and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome) [1].

Effects of Energy Drinks on Anxiety

A positive correlation between energy drinks and anxiety was reported by some studies, while others lacked statistical significance to back up their results. Two studies reported a positive correlation between the consumption of energy drinks and anxiety scores.

One study that included 107 young adults consisting of college student-athletes, Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets, and psychology students, found that 29% of the participants who consumed energy drinks had anxiety [3]. The other study reported a similar result; however, the effect was only significant in male participants [4].

On the other hand, a study reported a positive correlation between caffeine consumption and anxiety in secondary school children; however, no statistically significant correlation between caffeine consumption from energy drinks and anxiety was observed [5].

Effects of Energy Drinks on Depression

A very large study of Canadian schoolchildren (N = 8210) reported a correlation between depression and the consumption of energy drinks at least once per month or more [6]. A similar result was also reported by another study that reported a correlation between anxiety and consumption of ≥100 mL/day of energy drinks [7].

Interestingly, a study reported a correlation between the consumption of energy drinks and depression, self-harming behavior, and suicidal thoughts in 10th-grade students from Turkey [8].

However, other studies that investigated the association between the consumption of energy drinks and depression in British secondary school children and fourth-year US undergraduate students, have found no positive association [5][9].

2- Effects of Energy Drinks on the Cardiovascular System

Energy drinks have a high content of caffeine that has been associated with multiple cardiac comorbidities including palpitations and arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation and supraventricular and ventricular ectopy due to the increase in blood pressure [10]. Additionally, symptoms of caffeine overdose also include irritability, insomnia, tremors, and seizures.

3- Effects of Energy Drinks on Sleep

Sleep is controlled by the brain through the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. The sleep pattern occurs through repetition of a cycle that comprises 5 phases, including light sleep, slow-wave sleep, delta sleep, deep sleep, and REM.

Several studies in adults have found that drinking high amounts of caffeine reduces the percentage of time spent in slow-wave or deep sleep in a dose-related manner and leads to insomnia. They also found that it alters the temporal organization of rapid eye movement (REM)/non-REM sleep [11]. In teens, caffeine intake has also been associated with shorter sleep duration [11].

5- Energy Drinks and Diabetes

The consumption of high amounts of sugar for a prolonged period can result in obesity due to an unbalance in energy consumption. Energy drinks contain large amounts of sugar which result in excessive consumption of energy leading to its storage in the form of fat. Obesity has been reported as one of the major risks of diabetes type 2.


Although energy drinks are widely commercialized as products that increase energy, mental alertness, and physical performance, some studies highlighted their potential negative effects on mental health, cardiovascular system, and risk of diabetes. Therefore, reducing or stopping their consumption may be a good way of preventing any potential health issue. Additionally, the high content of sugar in energy drinks is also a sufficient alarm that should raise awareness about their consumption, particularly by young individuals.


[1] Richards, G. and Smith, A.P., 2016. A review of energy drinks and mental health, with a focus on stress, anxiety, and depression. Journal of caffeine research6(2), pp.49-63.

[2] Pettit, M.L. and DeBarr, K.A., 2011. Perceived stress, energy drink consumption, and academic performance among college students. Journal of American college health59(5), pp.335-341.

[3] Stasio, M.J., Curry, K.I.M., Wagener, A.L. and Glassman, D.M., 2011. Revving up and staying up: energy drink use associated with anxiety and sleep quality in a college sample. College Student Journal45(4), pp.738-749.

[4] Trapp, G.S., Allen, K., O’Sullivan, T.A., Robinson, M., Jacoby, P. and Oddy, W.H., 2014. Energy drink consumption is associated with anxiety in Australian young adult males. Depression and anxiety31(5), pp.420-428.

[5] Richards, G. and Smith, A., 2015. Caffeine consumption and self-assessed stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children. Journal of psychopharmacology29(12), pp.1236-1247.

[6] Azagba, S., Langille, D. and Asbridge, M., 2014. An emerging adolescent health risk: Caffeinated energy drink consumption patterns among high school students. Preventive Medicine62, pp.54-59.

[7] Trapp, G.S., Allen, K., O’Sullivan, T.A., Robinson, M., Jacoby, P. and Oddy, W.H., 2014. Energy drink consumption is associated with anxiety in Australian young adult males. Depression and anxiety31(5), pp.420-428.

[8] Evren, C. and Evren, B., 2015. Energy-drink consumption and its relationship with substance use and sensation seeking among 10th grade students in Istanbul. Asian journal of psychiatry15, pp.44-50.

[9] Arria, A.M., Caldeira, K.M., Kasperski, S.J., Vincent, K.B., Griffiths, R.R. and O’Grady, K.E., 2011. Energy drink consumption and increased risk for alcohol dependence. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research35(2), pp.365-375.

[10] Wassef, B., Kohansieh, M. and Makaryus, A.N., 2017. Effects of energy drinks on the cardiovascular system. World journal of cardiology9(11), p.796.

[11] Roehrs, T. and Roth, T., 2008. Caffeine: sleep and daytime sleepiness. Sleep medicine reviews12(2), pp.153-162.

[15] Bray, G.A., 2004. Medical consequences of obesity. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism89(6), pp.2583-2589.

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