Excessive energy drink use, symptoms include…

Caffeine under a microscope
What Caffeine looks like under a microscope

There was a time when I would consume upwards of 5-14 cans of redbull every night on a weekend, while going out clubbing and raving. So many I would add Tabasco sauce to slow me down if I was in a bar not a rave (imagine trying to smuggle in Tabasco sauce into a rave!). At the time there was no sugar free redbull and I was aware of the threat of diabetes.

I never touched any illegal drugs although I was surrounded by them, nope my drug of choice was caffeine (it was useful for those 12 hour raves, although I was wide-awake on the coach home when most were coming down). In retrospect maybe I would have been off with ecstasy (I half joke) Reading about the student who had heart failure from excessive drinking of energy drinks, I got away lightly, even with my brush with death.

For two years, the man drank four 500ml energy drinks a day, according to the BMJ Case Report. He spent 58 days in hospital, including the intensive care unit which he described as “traumatising”. Before the hospital admission, he suffered with shortness of breath and weight loss for four months.

Doctors treating him considered a number of diagnoses, but concluded: “Energy drink-induced cardiotoxicity was felt to be the most likely cause.” An organ transplant was considered after tests revealed both his heart and kidneys had failed – with the kidney failure linked to a long-standing but previously undiagnosed condition.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.