What's in an energy drink? Useful index

As  the Spanish market braces for V, a summary of words you must know before you drink.


 

In early 2011, Spaniards will be able to purchase the energy drink V in Madrid and Barcelona for a limited period of time in its original format for less than €1. V is already available in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands. Based on how the product performs, the company may distribute it in additional European markets.

Short index of common ingredients:

Taurine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the body, but the taurine used in energy drinks is synthetic and increases the effect of caffeine.  Good: It is an effective cardiac stimulator and regulates heart rate, muscle contractions and energy levels.  Bad: As with Guarana and Milk Thistle, it is unclear how it reacts with in combination with other elements, like caffeine. It has been shown to cause anxiety, irritability and self-mutilation in laboratory tests.

Guarana is a South American climbing plant, common in Brazil. It is major source of caffeine - the seeds of the Guarana fruit contain three times more caffeine than coffee beans.  Good: Increases metabolism and aids in weight reduction.  Bad: Has been linked to seizures and it is unclear how its chemical reactions relate to heart attacks and ischemic strokes.

Ginseng is an herb known for its anti-fatigue and stress-reducing components.  Good: It is said to stimulate the nervous system, and effectively increase stamina and hormone secretion.  Bad: Some adverse side-effects, including headache and diarrhea, are more likely when Ginseng is consumed along with caffeine.



Gingko Biloba comes from the leaves of a rare Asian tree and used as an anti-depressant.  Good: increases the body's blood circulation and is a stimulant.  Bad: If it is consumed con-currently with anti-depressant medicines, it has major negative side-effects, including diarrhea, palpitation and headache.

Milk Thistle is a plant native to Europe and has a number of benefits. Good: Has been used to treat liver and gallbladder dysfunctions, and explored for anti-carcinogenic properties and lowering cholesterol levels. Bad: Has been linked to indigestion, headache, itching, heartburn, gas, diarrhea and even anaphylactic shock. Could reduce effectiveness of oral contraceptives and have a negative impact on people with diabetes, hypoglycemia, and any hormon-sensitive conditions.

 


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