HEALTHY LIVING
10/25/2012 08:09 am ET

The Health Risks Of Energy Drinks

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By Beth Gilbert
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, M.D., M.P.H.

Anais Fournier, a 14-year-old Maryland girl with a heart arrhythmia, drank two 24-ounce Monster Energy drinks in a 24-hour period.

After six days in a coma, she was pronounced brain dead.

Caffeine toxicity, which hurt her heart's ability to pump blood, caused her death, an autopsy found. Now, her parents are suing Monster Beverage Corp., the company that makes the drinks, claiming that it does not adequately warn consumers of the risks of high-caffeine drinks.

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Fournier's case is one of five Monster-related deaths reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is now launching an investigation into the safety of energy drinks, shots and chews, which have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Although these products provide the temporary energy rush consumers crave, they also contain a substantial amount of caffeine, sugar and other ingredients that can sometimes lead to serious side effects such as insomnia, an increased or irregular heartbeat, agitation, irritability and seizure, and possibly even death. Here are the dangers of energy drinks, caffeine pills and other products to be aware of before you reach for a shot.

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BEFORE YOU GO
Health Risks Of Energy Drinks
PHOTO GALLERY
Health Risks Of Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks With Caffeine: Moderation is Key
"I believe that these drinks -- when consumed in moderation and for a purpose -- can provide individuals with the energy boost that they need in order to perform better, stay awake longer, or get through a long day [or] activity," Shapiro says. "However, it is important to note that using these products in moderation and not consuming more than your body can tolerate are essential to prevent unwanted and unsafe side effects."

For more on diet and nutrition, click here.

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