Alcohol and energy drinks may be deadly New Year's mix

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 01, 2013 05:20 hrs

Experts have warned against use of too much energy drinks.

The whopping caffeine dose and other additives in those drinks may be harmful to your health, they said.

In an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Kent A. Sepkowitz, a physician at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York, has cited that unintentional caffeine overdoses have resulted in serious illness and rare deaths from caffeine poisoning, ABC News reported.

Considered "dietary supplements" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, energy drinks do not have to conform to the same regulations as traditional caffeinated sodas or over-the-counter caffeine pills.

The same additives that give energy drinks their special status may also interfere with the body's ability to metabolize caffeine. This could lead to increased or prolonged levels of caffeine in the blood.

Further experts say alcohol can also be very dangerous when added to the equation. Very little is known about the combined effect of alcohol mixed with energy drinks -- or AMED, for short.

These include cocktails mixed at bars -- like the popular RBV, or Red Bull and vodka -- and alcohol and energy drinks consumed separately but within the same night.

The current theory is that the high dose of caffeine in energy drinks offsets the sedating effect of alcohol, making your brain think you're less drunk than your body feels. This disconnected and inebriated version of you might be more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drunken driving or sexual assault. The masked intoxication may also lead people to drink more than they would normally.

However, there is very little evidence to support these theories. Studies showed that compared to the usual alcohol drinker, people who drink AMED are more likely to leave the bar drunk, try to drive drunk or engage in other risky behavior. (ANI)

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