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Caffeine-Based Energy Drinks

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The effects of caffeine based energy drinks on cognitive and physiological function in first year undergraduate students.

Introduction:
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that acts as a neurotoxin and stimulant to the body. When orally consumed, caffeine is near fully absorbed into the blood and body tissues 45 minutes after ingestion and has a half-life close to 4 hours (coffeandhealth.org). When consumed in moderate doses it can masks fatigue and can alter an individual’s perception to be less sleepy and to obtain a heightened sense of alertness. Consumption of caffeine incurs a variety of side effects such as: increased heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, stomach acid secretion and production of urine
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This challenges the findings from previous studies, for example Mayo Clinic researchers conducted a similar experiment where subject group were given the energy drink and a placebo. The findings indicated a significant rise in blood pressure for those who consumed the energy drink when compared to the placebo group. In addition the effect was most pertinent for those who did not consume caffeine on a regular basis, thus suggesting that energy drinks may increase the risk of cardiac events. Despite the benefits of caffeine, it is important to take into account the detrimental health effects that concurs within the body when consuming. Studies show that in hypertensive individuals, caffeine intake produces an acute increase in blood pressure (BP) for ≥3hours (Mesas AE1, Leon-Muñoz LM, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Lopez-Garcia E.2011). Conversely it is paramount to not only examine caffeine in the drink, but the other ingredients such as taurine and glucose that are found in the energy drink that may influence human physical and cognitive…show more content…
This is not the result expected due to caffeine being classified as a stimulant that in theory would increase physiological function. Furthermore a study done in India (Effect of red bull energy drink on reaction time and maximal voluntary contraction – get authors name) found that caffeinated energy drinks did improve reaction time, however the control drink used to draw a comparison which was non caffeinated also provided improved reaction time results thus suggesting that it was a different factor other than caffeine that influences reaction time. Although conflicting research has been conducted by Alford C1, Cox H, Wescott R which produced significant evidence of increased reaction times, memory and concentration that indicates improved subject alertness when under the influence of
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