A recent report revealed that last year there were more than 20,000 emergency room visits due to energy drinks. Most of these visits were by young adults and teenagers, and the symptoms ranged from anxiety to seizures. I have seen the commercials saying these products are safe, and you’ll see them sitting there at almost every gas station and grocery store checkout counter.
So what is in these energy drinks that makes them potentially dangerous? Nothing new, really—just the same stimulants that have been used for years, maybe just in different combinations or concentrations. For me, the more concerning question is why the sudden increase in use? Why are more people—and younger people—using these stimulants?
I think there are two reasons this trend is becoming more popular. The first, I think, is our lifestyle. We want to go, go, go. We have a long list of things to do every day and we push ourselves to do more and more. Personally, with two young children I go through this every day.
I make sure we have at least an hour in the evening where we can just sit and talk. During this time I make sure we slow down and stop the rushing around. It gives my family the quality time we need together and helps keep us connected.
Be aware of your commitments. These include family, friends, church, work and hobbies. Be careful not to bite off more than you can manage in a healthy way.
Declining health means declining energy
The second reason for the increased use of energy drinks is just as prevalent, and it is declining health. The stimulants in energy drinks give us the quick boost and we feel better for a couple of hours. But as the effects fade, we find ourselves tired and run-down again.
The solution here is going to require more of a commitment and the desire to make a change. We need to create a healthier lifestyle. If you are eating better and exercising, you’ll have more energy. That might sound simple, but let me explain why that is. When you make poor nutritional choices and lead a sedentary life, it creates an internal stress on your body and puts your body in the fight-or-flight mode. This is normal and can be healthy short-term, but when it becomes persistent, the body becomes more and more stressed. When you start to add stimulants to a body that is struggling, it can result in some rather serious side effects.
Health is a process
So let’s get back to lifestyle. Eating better, exercising, chiropractic care, sleep, posture, meditation, yoga, laughing and loving relationships have all been proven to help with just about every disease process we know of—not because they are cures, but because they take our bodies and minds out of that stressed state and promote a healthy and healing state.
And remember, just as disease is a process, so is health. You don’t have to be perfect today. Just make one change—for example, make an effort to drink more water. I can tell you from my own and my patients’ experience that when you make one change and start to feel better, you’ll want to create more changes. So start slow. If you hit a roadblock get some help. You can talk to me or Dr. Fiss at your next appointment (or, if you’re a new patient, set up a free consultation).
You are not alone in your journey—good luck!