Energy Shots for Athletics?
Posted by Juwan Mimes on 5/2/2012

Although many collegiate and high school sports leagues prohibit the use of any form, energy drinks can do little more damage than an espresso to competitors when used correctly. The problem among athletes is not the drinks themselves, but the possibility of addiction and dependency. Like anything else, binging on energy drinks for any extended period of time is unhealthy and can lead to illness and severe “crashes”. Relying on these energy drinks consistently as in lieu of proper diet and sleep is never a good choice.

Many of the issues and stigma surrounding energy drinks is the product of an absence of information and education on their ingredients and how to use them responsibly. Furthermore, although some companies have done adult testing, they do not run the same tests among children and adolescents. This lack of testing and information can cause young athletes to binge on energy drinks and overexert themselves.

Among the major and minor leagues, an energy drink culture has emerged. As is the case in many competitions, the players are willing to essentially try anything as long as it helps them win. Many of these professionals treat energy drinks as they would any large cup of coffee, helping them feel stronger and more energized after consumption. Though this sort of mentality can lead to adverse results, when compared to more extreme options such as steroids, chugging an energy drink before each game is a little more manageable.

Overall, energy drinks may not be inherently bad for athletes, but they can easily become a double-edged sword for the careless and unaware. As the primary active ingredient in these drinks, caffeine’s effect varies from person to person. For example, ingesting too much can cause dehydration (caffeine is a diuretic and increases the loss of fluids). So, next time you think that energy drink is going to help you make that field goal or shoot that 3-pointer, remember to find out what you're consuming and how it might affect you. Like with alcohol, the motto here is to drink responsibly.

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical or any other type of advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you.

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