Doctors Warn of Dangers of Energy Drinks for Children

July 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Childrens Health, featured, Health

There are times we all need a pick me up, and with the young – particularly teenagers the new energy drinks are a fast fix. Usually full of sugar, caffeine and other ingredients such as ginseng and taurine they are easily available and very attractive to the eye. However, in a new report, experts are now urging children and teenagers to avoid them because of possible health risks.

“Children never need energy drinks,” according to Dr. Holly Benjamin of the American Academy of Paediatrics who worked on the new report. “They contain caffeine and other stimulant substances that aren’t nutritional, so you don’t need them.” Experts fear that kids are more vulnerable to the contents of the drinks than adults because if you drink them on a regular basis, it stresses the body. You don’t really want to stress the body of a growing person.”

The report speaks of the jumble of ingredients in the energy drinks which include vitamins and various herbal extracts which could have potential side effects that are not yet entirely understood. The report acknowledges that while there are not many documented cases of harm linked directly to the drinks, the stimulants contained within can disrupt the hearts rhythm and in some rare cases can lead to seizures.

Benjamin states that she recently saw a 15 year-old boy with ADHD who came to the hospital suffering from a seizure after drinking two bottles of Mountain Dew, a soft drink containing caffeine. The boy had also been taking stimulant ADHD medications and perhaps the combination of the drug and the extra caffeine had pushed him over the edge.

Are You An ADD Adult?

June 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Health

Adult ADD

I have to confess an interest in this subject as I certainly am subject to Attention deficit disorder (ADD) but in my case without the hyperactivity. ADD or ADHD doesn’t just affect children, though they certainly seem to be increasingly prone to it, but roughly 4 % of adults certainly have some of the symptoms. So far no one knows what causes it, or makes someone more vulnerable to it, though there is increasing evidence that it might have a biological basis, but whatever the cause it helps to know how to deal with it.

With the pressure we are all under, and as we get older, we are subject to lapses of memory, distraction and sheer overload. The official diagnosis of ADHD includes the three major symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness and you can have any or all of these symptoms. When trying to learn, complete a project or get on with people these traits can get in the way – however on the positive side ADHD often goes alongside creativity and thinking outside the box.

If you are not sure whether you are in this category there is a simple, quick test at the appallingly named Psych Central, but don’t let that put you off. The website is and I have to confess that out of 100 I got 92. If I was competitive I would say ‘beat that!’ but not sure that is going to help – why do you think I wrote a book on procrastination!

Natural Help:

If your ADHD seriously impacts your life then you may need professional help, but there are some simple steps to take first to give you some support.

1 You need to keep your brain healthy and functioning well and to do that it needs a good supply of the Omega-3 fatty acids. You can get these through your diet from oily fish, whole foods, flaxseeds and walnuts.

2 A high protein, low carbohydrate works for most ADHD sufferers, except for those whose problem is being over focused, they need carbohydrates far more than protein.

3 Your brain needs dopamine to stay focused and able to concentrate and the best way to do it is through regular exercise. Anything you like as long as you enjoy it enough to maintain it.

4 Back to the previous item, and yet another benefit of mindfulness meditation is that it has been shown to ‘centre’ and stabilise that chattering mind that often goes with ADHD.

In the US there is much talk about the Feingold diet which is claimed to help not just ADHD but many other disorders as well and if you want to check it out go to but there are some simple rules you can implement straight away – but remember no diet or regime suits everyone so experiment and see if it works for you:.

ADHD sufferers do best when their sugar levels are even so cut out sugar in all forms as that will make your insulin levels rise and fall, causing mood changes and irritability. If you do have lots of sugar you are likely to crash, become spacey, confused and unable to pay attention. Eating little and often works best, and don’t eat three hours before bed. Try to have protein with most meals and limit fruit juices because of their high sugar content so eat fruit instead.

WARNING: If you are on any ADHD medicine then give up caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol as they dehydrate the body and affect your mood. Alcohol mixed with ADHD medications can be life threatening and both caffeine and tobacco decrease the blood flow to the brain and makes the condition worse. Citric acid can interfere with some ADHD medications so limit your intake of oranges, tangerines and grapefruit as well as their juices.

ADHD drugs and risk of heart disease

The number of children on anti depressants and other behaviour altering drugs has quadrupled in the last ten years. In 2005 GP’s wrote more than 631,000 prescriptions for drugs such as Prozac to under 16′s as against 146,00 in the mid 1990′s. This disturbing trend sees drugs being the first line in the situation instead of other options such as counselling which might be more appropriate. In line with the fact that the use of Ritalin to control stress and aggressive behaviour in children has also increased tenfold in the same period, there is a timely study being undertaken in the USA to look at the potential heart risks from medicines used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, will examine clinical data of about 500,000 children and adults who have taken ADHD drugs, including Ritalin. The analysis is expected to take about two years and will include all drugs currently marketed for treating ADHD. There are millions of people taking these medicines worldwide and it is known they can increase heart rate and blood pressure, and this has raised concerns they may therefore raise the risk of heart attacks, strokes or other cardiovascular problems. There have been cases reported of heart problems in both adults and children who receive drug treatment for ADHD, but these patients have had known underlying risk factors. What is not known is whether or not these events are directly related to the drug treatment and the study hopes to get further information to protect from potential risks from heart disease.