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Question:

Please comment on the impact of kids' caffeine intake.

With increased consumption of energy drinks among adolescents (concentrated "boosts" + coffee concoctions, heart attacks on sports fields, etc), could you give a definitive medical recommendation in terms of caffeine intake and/or safe consumption (short-long term impact concerns w/kids?)

submitted by Amy from San Francisco Bay Area, California on 4/17/2012

Answer:

Dr. Paolo Angeliniby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Paolo Angelini, MD    

The effect of caffeine is indeed the major worry about the use of caffeine in such drinks. Caffeine can make a person jittery, nervous, impulsive, anxious, and also increase blood pressure, increase the probability of arrhythmias and, in some patients with unusual predisposition, even induce cardiac arrest/sudden cardiac death. 

The basic message: a usual coffee cup has about 100 mg of caffeine. These drinks offered to sportspeople have a variable amount, and one needs to be aware. Such drinks have many more chemicals than caffeine and one needs to be knowledgeable. The FDA does not regulate similar drinks, neither for content nor for action...but this may come to be sometime in the future.

Energy drink comparisons:

 Energy drink   Size  Caffeine
 5-Hour Energy  2 oz. (60 mL)  207 mg
 AMP regular or sugar-free   8 oz. (240 mL)  72-74 mg
 Full Throttle  8 oz. (240 mL)  70-72 mg
 Cran-Energy   8 oz. (240 mL)  70 mg 
 Monster  8 oz. (240 mL)  80 mg
 Red Bull  8.4 oz (250 mL)  76-80 mg
 Rockstar regular or sugar-free  8 oz. (240 mL)  79-80 mg
 Vault regular or sugar-free  8 oz. (240 mL)   47 mg
For information about more drinks, see: www.energyfiend.com, a caffeine database. Also see Caffeine and Kids' Health from Nemours.

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Updated April 2012
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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