This Jolt May Be More Than You Bargained For

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This Jolt May Be More Than You Bargained For

You may be tempted by the latest "energy drinks" but beware

Are you looking for a serious energy boost? You may be tempted by the latest “energy drinks” that promise to deliver boundless vitality. Patients in chemotherapy or who are feeling the effects of surgery, radiation or long-term medications might be especially tempted to drink them. But beware: A short-term boost is unlikely to result in long-term energy.

Drinks like Red Bull, Full Throttle and Monster use heavy doses of caffeine to provide that energy rush. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that cold beverages contain no more than 65 mg of caffeine per 12-oz serving. Energy drinks usually contain between 100 and 140 mg. They often use other stimulant ingredients like ephedrine, guarana or ginseng to add to the kick.

Experts say consumers need to know that these are not health drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic. Excess amounts can cause serious dehydration, especially if it’s mixed with alcohol. Caffeine also boosts blood pressure and heart rate, potentially causing heart palpitations. It can also cause anxiety, stomach problems and of course, sleeping difficulties. 

Instead of turning to energy drinks, talk to your healthcare team about any fatigue you might have. While fatigue can be a side effect of treatment, it can also arise from other associated conditions.

Nutritionists can suggest dietary changes and rehabilitation experts can suggest exercise options that can help boost energy. Yoga, including sessions offered at City of Hope’s Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, also has been shown to lessen fatigue in cancer survivors.

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