Energy drinks help sharpen mental focus, increase athletic performance, and keep one alert. For these reasons, people consume energy drinks when they feel overly-tired or sleep-deprived. However, energy drinks pose health risks for pregnant women . Some brands even go to length and write advisory statements on their labels that prohibit pregnant moms from consuming their products.
Experts, too, advise pregnant moms to refrain from drinking energy drinks. Their research on pregnant mice, incorporating small amounts of energy drinks in their diet daily, proved to have adverse effects on the newborn mice. They suffered from oxidative stress, anxiety problems, and tissue injury. These effects were a result of the ingredients in the energy drinks.
Energy drinks have a cocktail of ingredients that can have adverse reactions to pregnant women. With so many brands of energy drinks, it is difficult for researchers to evaluate each of them. Nevertheless, they use some common ingredients that are dangerous for pregnant moms. These ingredients include: Caffeine
One key ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. Caffeine has been proved to stimulate the nervous system. For this reason, the recommended caffeine intake for pregnant women is 200 mg per day. When caffeine is consumed in high amounts, it raises both the heart rate and blood pressure. It also causes irritability, sleeplessness, and nervousness as it affects the nervous system. Caffeine overdose results in seizures, cardiac arrhythmias and can be fatal. For this reason, pregnant women should avoid energy drinks. Guarana
Guarana is naturally found in plants and is a source of caffeine. It is also used in numerous brands of energy drinks. Guarana helps athletics improve their concentration and performance. This, however, does not make it a better fit for pregnant women. Since pregnant women are advised to regulate their caffeine intake, consuming guarana and caffeine can be highly dangerous. Researchers have little information about the adverse effects of both on pregnant women. Therefore, it is better to avoid consuming the energy drink altogether. Sugar
Via Unsplash Sugar is used as a sweetener in energy drinks. Sugar contains many calories, which, when consumed excessively, can result in immoderate weight gain. Pregnant women, especially those that have gestational diabetes , should not consume energy drinks with sugar as it is impossible to regulate their intake of carbohydrates and sugar. This can cause a swing in their blood sugar levels, which is risky for them and the baby. Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
Some brands of energy drinks prefer non-nutritive sweeteners to sugar. These sweeteners have low calories and have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, there is little information about how safe these sweeteners are, so it is safe to keep them off your diet. Ginseng
Ginseng is an Asian herbal that is also available in energy drinks. Researchers have not identified its long term safety effects and therefore discourage its use by infants, children, pregnant and lactating mothers. The standard, known side effects of ginseng are headaches, lack of sleep , and digestive problems. Besides, it affects blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Pregnant moms should not consume ginseng with high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Gingko Biloba
This is a China herb extracted from the leaves of the Gingko tree. For centuries, Gingko Biloba has been used to improve memory. However, there are no case studies of its use on pregnant women. When ingested, people have complained of having headaches, palpitations, gastrointestinal problems, and allergic reactions. Pregnant women are advised against consuming this herb or energy drinks containing this ingredient. Yohimbe
Via Unsplash Yohimbe has been known to help with weight loss and is also used in energy drinks. Sadly, the consumption of Yohimbe has been associated with insomnia, mood disorders, and anxiety. Little is known about its effect on pregnant women, but why risk consuming a product that will increase your nervousness and heighten your tension? L. Carnitine
Carnitine comes from methionine and lysine. It is used in energy drinks to improve athletic performance, although studies indicate it has no such effect. If 5 mg of L. Carnitine is consumed in a day, it can lead to diarrhea and extreme body odor (fish odor syndrome). Therefore, pregnant moms should refrain from taking energy drinks. B Vitamins
B-Vitamins aid in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These vitamins are soluble, and when consumed in excess, they are excreted in the urine. However, high doses of B3 Niacin have been proven to cause flushing and increasing heart rate. On the other hand, high amounts of B6 Pyridoxine result in sensory neuropathy and an increased risk of hip fractures in adults. Taurine
Taurine, a natural amino acid present in animal foods, regulates water and mineral levels in the blood and helps in neurological development. Taurine is supplemented in infant formulas to help babies with underdeveloped retina and brain during birth. Despite its usefulness, little is known about taurine; hence pregnant moms should avoid it.
Energy drinks pose a significant health risk for pregnant moms. The concoction of ingredients available will do more harm than good, so it’s best to avoid them during pregnancy.
Sources: Very Well Family , Baby Med , Premama
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