Are you addicted to caffeine? Dr. Bill talks about the impact of so-called “energy drinks.” Show Notes

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Can you overdose on caffeine?  Yes, it is possible.

Reporter Cody Lyon at Upwave.com says according the experts, the trick is to know your body, pay attention to what else you've ingested, and do your homework on energy drinks.

There have been plenty of reports that say caffeine is beneficial. Some studies call it a potential protector from diseases such as Parkinson's, and even some forms of cancer.

A safe dose of caffeine is ususally considered 200 to 300 milligrams, or two to four cups of coffee per day.

Energy drinks like Red Bull usually contain around 80 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce can. Some of the bigger cans (such as a 16-ounce Monster) have up to 240 milligrams.  Meanwhile, a 16-ounce cup of coffee packs about 300 milligrams.

Barbara Crouch, executive director at the Utah Poison Control Center, says that unlike coffee drinkers, energy drink consumers (especially young people) like to chug down not just one, but two or three to get a good jolt on before a hardcore workout, a soccer practice or a night of dancing.

She says "When you pound down more than one energy drink verses sipping a cup of coffee, you're not metabolizing it the same way.”  She points out that factors like size, age, sex, drug interactions, hydration levels and the amount of food in the stomach can mean different outcomes for different people when on a caffeine binge.

Crouch says: "Yes, there is absolutely such a thing as caffeine poisoning, and the dose essentially makes the poison.”

All the press about energy drinks led the FDA to take a fresh look at caffeinated food -- and it plans to focus on how energy drinks impact young people.

So if you think YOU’VE got a problem—step away from that can of Red Bull!

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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