A teacher from Australia claims his 5-6 can a day habit of Energy Drinks blistered and peeled his tongue.

Dan Royals shared a picture of it on Facebook warning others to get off the caffeinated drink habit.

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He wrote, “Found out it’s the chemicals in these drinks that are causing it… it literally eats away at your tongue.”

To me it appears he has “geographic tongue” a response to stress, acidity, spicy foods, or no cause at all.  The tongue condition itself is benign but could signify other serious health issues.

Energy drink health risks (as explained below) can include:

  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • teeth loss
  • diabetes
  • tremors
  • mood disorders
  • miscarriages
  • and more…..

Energy Drinks Can Rot Your Teeth

A 21-year-old student in England dropped out of school when his dentist found a mouth full of rotten teeth due to his energy drink habit.

Vinnie Pyner of Margate, England, told SWNS that he would drink 6 cans of Monster Energy drinks a day to get through school.  Eventually his teeth cracked and when he finally showed his mom, she rushed him to the dentist who said it was the worst case of tooth decay she had ever seen.

FOX News reported he had 24 filings and dentures to repair his front teeth and will soon return to college.

Teeth can rot easily when exposed to energy drinks due to their acidity and sugar content.  The protective enamel gets eroded and is irreplacible.  Moreover people may choose these drinks over healthier options such as water or milk, putting them at higher risk of dental disease.

Years ago, Demi Moore confessed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that she lost two of her teeth. The 56 year-old actress cited stress as the reason.

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Stress could be a factor, however, that would mean all of us would lose our teeth before senior year high school.

What came to mind was a previous report on Moore’s diet.

In 2012, the actress was hospitalized and multiple rumors surfaced as to what caused her collapse.  Some reported an energy drink addiction, some cited anorexia, some said it occurred after inhaling the gas from a whip cream canister.  Witnesses reported seizure like activity.  According to Daily Mail,

A source told Radar: “She collapsed after having an epileptic seizure… she has not taken care of her health at all lately and has lost a ton of weight.”  “Demi is in getting treated for anorexia, as well as other issues that caused her seizure.”

After she recovered, it was revealed that her diet included: “Red Bull for breakfast. Red Bull for lunch. Red Bull for dinner, with a lettuce leaf and a tablespoon yes a tablespoon of tuna fish thrown in… That’s it.” as reported by Light987.com.

 

According to Medical Daily, Moore had been drinking energy drinks for over 10 years.

Three energy drinks a day in the company of a poor diet could wreck havoc on one’s health. But what about teeth?

In 2012 a study from the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine found the acidity of energy drinks to damage tooth enamel, thereby increasing risk of cavities.

Earlier this year, a 28 year old man from New Zealand, who allegedly drank three cans of energy drinks a day, lost multiple teeth and suffered from severe gum disease.

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JOSH MCKEE AND HIS XRAY DEMONSTRATING MULTIPLE TEETH LOST/MARION VAN DIJK

Energy drinks provide little in the type of nutrition gums and teeth require.  Our jaws, gums and teeth were designed to chew, face a variety of forces, and then get washed down with water and our own saliva to avoid damage from non-neutral pH compounds.  A balanced diet, with food we need to chew, low on sugar and acidity is just what the human mouth needs.

Other causes of teeth loss (edentulism) include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Heart Disease

So not only is it important to brush, floss, water pick and see one’s dentist regularly, but taking care of one’s non-dental health can be just as crucial to keeping our pearly whites.

Energy Drinks Can Increase Risk of Heart Attack Within 90 Minutes

 

A study from the University of Texas finds the consumption of energy drinks to have negative effects on the cardiovascular system by narrowing blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood as soon as 90 minutes.

Vessels that supply the heart, which may already be narrowed due to atherosclerosis, could narrow even more.

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Moreover the restriction of blood flow to vital organs implies the brain may not receive the optimal circulation it needs.

How dangerous are energy drinks?

The study was conducted by scientists who looked at the endothelial lining of blood vessels in 44 healthy non-smoking students and found within 90 minutes of drinking a 24 oz energy drink the vessel dilation dropped from 5.1% in diameter to 2.8% in diameter.

The study was conducted by scientists who looked at the endothelial lining of blood vessels in 44 healthy non-smoking students and found within 90 minutes of drinking a 24 oz energy drink the vessel dilation dropped from 5.1% in diameter to 2.8% in diameter.

Now energy drinks contain various levels of caffeine, as explained below.  But they also contain taurine, sugar, vitamins and other ingredients. This study did not look specifically at caffeine but energy drinks, so the authors can’t specify what’s the culprit.

Demi Moore – Maybe Energy Drinks Caused her Tooth Loss

Last year, however, a South Carolina high school student collapsed in class and later died from allegedly consuming an energy drink.  The coroner’s report, revealed cited caffeine as the cause.  The caffeine induced a cardiac arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythm,  and 16-year old Davis Allen Cripe tragically died within an hour.

What’s shocking is the amount of caffeine he ingested was not very high.  According to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts, Cripe drank, within a two-hour period, a large Mountain Dew, an energy drink, and a cafe latte from McDonalds. The teen had no medical problems or family history of heart issues.

A large Mountain Dew contains 54 mg per 12 fluid oz.  So a 20 oz drink would be close to 100 mg caffeine.

Energy drinks, depending on the brand, contain approximately 80 mg of caffeine per can.

A cafe latte from McDonalds, medium size, contains 142 mg of caffeine.

This in total would equal approximately 320 mg of caffeine ingested within a two-hour period.

The lethal dose of caffeine in adults range from 150-200 mg/ kg body weight.  So a 70 kg adult could consume a toxic level of caffeine at 10 grams (10,000 mg).

So 320 mg of caffeine is well below the toxic level.  But what caffeine could do could be the more dangerous part.

Caffeine has been known to induce arrhythmias.  It’s a stimulant, hence it can affect the heart’s electrical conductivity that manages the organ’s pumping  action.  Once the electricity is disrupted, the heart muscle fails to have a predictable, rhythmic stimulation, hence cannot pump effectively.

Caffeine also causes vasoconstriction, so blood flow to the heart could be compromised, potentially inducing a heart attack.

In 2014, researchers from Barcelona found energy drinks to be linked to rare cases of heart attack and arrhythmia.

A cup of coffee averages 95mg of caffeine whereas an energy drink contains 80mg.  But the latter is consumed much quicker than a hot cup of Joe that needs to be sipped, hence the consumer takes in a larger load of caffeine in a shorter amount of time.  This could be too much too fast for the heart.

The following is a chart of average caffeine content in common drinks:

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IMAGE FROM BUSINESS INSIDER

IN 2016 we learned that a 50-year old man with hepatitis C went into acute liver failure after drinking 4-5 energy drinks a day for a period of a three weeks. The culprit appeared to be the Niacin content in each energy drink (200%RDA) that accumulated over the days and became toxic to the liver.  Although this is the first time we’ve heard of this severe a hepatic side effect, energy drinks are not foreign to being hazardous to one’s health.

So what’s in an energy drink?

Depending on the brand, ingredients can include the following:

Carbonated water

Sugars such as sucrose, glucose or high fructose corn syrup

Caffeine

Guarana extract- an energy supplement also high in caffeine

Taurine – an amino acid that has health benefits but could strain the kidney

Vitamins B 2, 3, 6 and 12 (and Vitamin A and C in some brands)

Sodium

and multiple other ingredients and additives (Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, etc. depending on the brand)

Why are energy drinks dangerous?

Energy drinks have been known to cause a variety of issues:  anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, caffeine withdrawal, a rise in blood sugar…. to name a few.

However the focus of energy drink risks has been on the heart.  One study from the Mayo Clinic found blood pressure and adrenaline to rise after drinking an energy drink.  In 2011 a case report looked at two teenage boys who went into atrial fibrillation, a deadly heart rhythm. In 2015, doctors blamed energy drinks for a 25 year old man’s heart attack.

We’ve learned that caffeine, though innocent-appearing in coffee and tea, can be deadly not only as a result of quantity but the administration of it.  A cup of coffee may have the same amount of caffeine as an energy drink (assuming the Guarana extract isn’t adding more to the total caffeine dose). But a hot cup of coffee is sipped slowly, whereas an energy drink served cold or at room temperature is usually chugged.  The huge bolus of caffeine may be too quick-too-much for the body to digest and distribute slowly.

The high sugar content of energy drinks could put one at risk of diabetes.  And with the recent case of acute liver failure, we are reminded that ingredients of energy drinks could at high doses cause hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).

Additionally, this week we learned that mixing alcohol with energy drinks, a popular party ritual, caused brain changes in mice similar to those caused by cocaine.

I can’t convince everyone to reach for a piece of broccoli rather than an energy drink when in need of a boost, but at the very least we should deter use by children and teens, and educate those with vulnerable hearts, blood pressure, diabetes, kidney and liver issues that an energy drink may not be the wisest beverage choice.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

Published in Health

Another white supremacist right-wing terrorist commits mass murder. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it. I’m not going to talk much about gun control because you already know where you stand on that issue. I’m not going to even talk about the actual massacre because you’ve probably heard all about it and, honestly, I doubt I have anything new to say. I do want to talk about the fact that I wish I was more shocked. I mean, do you actually remember a time when it would be shocking to hear about any kind of massacre? I certainly do, and I honestly feel like it was decades ago. Now, I just wait for it to happen, knowing it will.  

Remember back in 2011 when a white supremacist right-wing terrorist massacred 79 people in Norway? I hope you do, because I actually forgot all about it. I seriously did. This morning I read Huffpost’s really excellent: Mass Shooters Have Exploited the Internet For Years. New Zealand Took It To A New Level. (No, seriously, it’s great, you should take a few minutes to read it because they accurately point out some of the social problems that lead to mass shootings). Somewhere within the Huffpost story, the writers mention the 2011 attack in Norway that killed seven nine people, and I immediately thought, “Attack on Norway? Jesus, I don’t even remember that one.” I had to look it up. It took me a few moments of reading to recall the details. And then I thought, “Oh, I think there's a Netflix movie about it that just came out a few months ago - maybe I should watch it.” Sadly, my thoughts were not “What a horrible, f**king thing to have happened!” Nope. My thoughts were, “Don’t remember it. Oh, right, now I remember it. I should watch the movie.” =(

I mean, there are plenty of mass shootings I do remember. Without looking anything up: Vegas. The Ariana Grande concert in the UK (I think this was a bomb and not a shooting, or maybe it was both, or maybe I’m mixing up concert attacks). The FL nightclub massacre. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. The Synagogue attack in … um, I can’t recall which city (and I even wrote about that attack). The attack on the movie theater where viewers were watching Batman, but I don’t remember the name of the theater chain or the city it happened. Multiple attacks on black folks while they’re in church. Multiple attacks in Paris within the last five years. The Kenya school attack. The Australian massacre in Port Arthur and I only remember this one because of the Jim Jefferies stand up routine about the attack and his views on gun control (which, is a pretty good routine). The Amish school shooting in … actually, I don’t remember where. Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head and there are clearly important details that I just can't recall - like the horrible massacre in Norway where 79 people died! Five years from now, after another couple dozen mass shootings have occurred, I wonder which of the above I will have forgotten?

Obviously the point being that mass shootings happen often enough that I no longer even remember some of them. I don’t claim to have a solution; however, I do see a few things in common with modern day massacres.

  • They’re very often by right-wing extremists and/or religious fanatics.
  • They’re overwhelmingly by men. Like, 99.9% of the time the mass shooter is male - a cripplingly insecure male.
  • They are usually white. Not always, but usually. 
  • They often leave behind a "manifesto" where they blame their crippling insecurities on Jews, or people of color, or women, or liberals - or all the above.  
  • They all use semi-automatic guns, and often use modified semi-automatic rifles.  

And there we have our game of Clue: The modern day massacre edition! Pick a mass shooting and ask -  who did it? Oh, I know! I know! Is it ”the crippling insecure white male right-wing extremist, in the city, with a semi-automatic weapon?”  (Well, not 100% of the time but, close enough).

Hey, how about this for a new law - men are banned from owning and operating guns! No, that's illegal. Let's remember the Second Amendment here so, oh, I know! Men can own, like, a flintlock rifle or a blunderbuss, or something as equally inefficient in the modern world - but women are allowed to own Uzi's and 9mm semi-automatic pistols! That would probably cut down on mass shootings. =)

Anyway. We all know mass shootings are not going away. Maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to shoot up a movie theater - I’ll be there and get killed. Or maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to “ignite a race war” by walking into a church filled with black folks and gunning them down - you’ll be there and get killed. Or maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to walk into a nightclub and gun down dancers - your kid will be there and get killed.

But I hope not. I hope someone, somewhere has a solution. And I hope it comes sooner, rather than later. Until then, I will cynically just wait for the next mass shooting to happen. I’ll probably post a bitter story about that one too - "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." 

Published in Opinion

On Monday, June 23rd - the Wild Boar youth soccer team and their coach left their bikes chained at the entrance to the Tham Luang Nang Non in northern Thailand and ventured forth in what they expected to be a two(ish) hour adventure. But the cave flash flooded and the 12 young players and their coach vanished.

Nine days later rescuers from Thailand, China and Australia found them. Other than minor scrapes, miraculously, all 13 of them were safe. Here is the first video of rescuers reaching the boys. The boys didn’t have any food and were in complete darkness but stayed alive by drinking pooled rainwater.

Finding them was step one but rescuing them, it appears, is going to be a daunting task. The boys are estimated to be trapped about 2 kilometer into the cave and approx. 1 kilometer underground. Rescuers are trying to figure out the best way to get them through a labyrinthine series of flooded caves linked together by narrow passageways with zero visibility for most of the swim.  

Thai Navy seals have even drained 120 million liters of water out of the caves in order to keep the water levels down to help the rescue. It appears as if rescuers have no great option in how to get the boys out. Some believe that the boys should be trained in underwater cave swimming, which is no easy feat. CNN spoke with Anmar Mirza, of the US National Cave Rescue Commission recently in this interview. From the interview:

"Cave diving is incredibly dangerous for people who are very experienced doing it. And now you're looking at taking people who have no experience or very little experience with diving, and putting them into a complete blackout situation, where they have to rely on a regulator and the tanks with them to breathe.”

Some believe that the boys should continue to be supplied until the rain season is over and the water levels drop and then rescued - something that could take four months.

For now Thai Navy SEALS, a doctor and a nurse are down with the boys. A communication director from the Navy told reporters:

"We have now given food to the boys, starting with the food which is easy to digest and provide high energy. Minerals are also provided. We have taken care of those boys following the doctor's recommendations, so do not worry. We will take care of them the best we can. We will bring all of them to safety. We are now planning how to do so.”

And just today, July 6th, the rescue operation has claimed it's first life, Saman Gunan, a former Thai navy diver tragically died while delivering air tanks down to the boys. This further illustrates how difficult it will be to get untrained divers, all kids mind you, out of the caves. And with monsoon season approaching, rescue workers don't really know how much time they have before the entire caves flood. A 3 mile oxygen line is now being rushed in along with power and phone cables.

Great news! On July 10th it has been reported via multiple sources that all 12 of the boys and their coach has been rescued. Fearing that the monsoon season would flood the rest of the caves rescuers had no choice but to move forward with a rescue operation. It took thousands of people rescuers more than a week to get them out safely. Here is the first video of the boys' rescue.

All of the boys and their coach have lost weight but are in pretty good shape. One of them has a lung infection but it sounds as if treatment is working well for him. The boys will be in quarantine for about 30 days to protect them from other people. Their immune systems have been weakened and doctors are taking no chances. It sounds as if they are all on the road to a full physical recovery.

 

UPDATED: July 11th. 

 UPDATED: July 10th. 

 UPDATED: July 6th 10:00 am. 

Published in World