Wednesday, July 6, 2011

22-year-old woman hospitalized after 5-Hour Energy overdose

Well, we all knew caffeine could be addictive; furthermore, we all know that energy drinks carry some significant risks. But who would have thought that a 22-year-old woman would contract acute hepatitis from the popular beverage, 5-Hour Energy?

This was reported in the June 22 edition of the Journal of Medical Case Reports, and covered by contributor Bill Briggs in the article, "5-Hour Energy binge lands woman in hospital."

Granted, this woman consumed 10 bottles per day. Most of us would agree that this constitutes overkill. But extreme cases like this do offer a vivid illustration of the need to exercise caution.

Another interesting point made in Briggs' article was this: According to nutritionist Joy Bauer,
“The ‘lift’ (these energy drinks) give you comes from caffeine (. . .) The high doses of B vitamins and amino acids they dump in are purely for glitz and glam -- they don’t actually help you instantly perk up."

That said, reflective soul that I am, I feel the need to comment on a societal phenomenon that I see behind the whole energy drink craze. Right at the beginning of his article, Briggs makes the following statement: "For many of us who march in the sleep-starved army that is the American workforce, it’s as critical to our survival as air, food, and bad reality TV: Caffeine. Beloved, energizing, career-preserving caffeine."

Not a few commentators on the history of modern Western society have expressed concern about the modern workforce consisting of "drones" who are overworked and housed within professional environments that, albeit unintentionally, seem to regard them more of as means toward production and profit, rather than as human beings aiming to reach individual and collective fulfillment (on that note, see the May 16 post on Bart Dentino's workplace-oriented program).

Perhaps the phenomenon of energy drink overdose is one manifestation of this situation coming back to bite us in the neck. But that's just my speculation -- I'll get off my soapbox now.

To read Briggs' full article, click here.

NOTE: The above image was published along with the article; no source is credited.

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