Caffeine is the most consumed stimulant in the world. Look around and you’ll notice a Starbucks coffee shop on virtually every corner of the city. You’ll also notice convenience stores selling 44oz. sodas for less than $1.00. Sodas and coffees aren’t the only drinks with mass amounts of caffeine. Energy drinks are under scrutiny because of the large amounts of caffeine per can. Energy drinks are considered a dietary supplement and therefore virtually unregulated by the FDA. The ingestion of concentrated sources of caffeine is the general cause of acute caffeine toxicity.
According to the FDA, about 80% of adults in the United States consume caffeine on a daily basis. A 2010 study published by the FDA reported the average adult consumes about 300 mg of caffeine per day, with teenagers consuming one third that amount. Average doses of caffeine (85-250mg) may result in feelings of alertness, decreased fatigue, and eased flow of thought. High doses (250-500mg) can result in restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, and tremors. In high doses, caffeine can cause a hyperadrenergic syndrome resulting in seizures and cardiovascular instability.
The FDA said it was investigating reports that five people since 2009 had died after consuming Monster energy drinks. One 16oz Monster Energy Drinks contains 160mg of caffeine. For reference, one 8oz cup of brewed coffee contains roughly 57mg of caffeine.
In one of the latest claims against Monster Energy, 14-year-old Anais Fournier died from cardiac arrest in December of 2011 after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster energy drinks within 24 hours. Her family has sued the company, blaming the drinks for her death.