Energy drinks might be the singular thing that got you through university, enabling all-nighters when required (pretty often), but new research has revealed they might actually have a worrying link to mental health issues.
The new study, which was recently published in the Frontiers in Public Health journal, highlighted that, along with the health issues already understood to be related to energy drinks – including weight gain and sleep troubles – energy drinks may increase likelihood of diabetes, kidney damage, and mental health problems.
The study found that the high levels of caffeine contained in energy drinks could mean people are consuming more than is safe. This, according to a Korean study, can upset your mood as well as your sleep pattern – both of which are symptoms of the likes of stress and depression.
This is an area that has been explored by scientific experts Gareth Richards and Andrew P. Smith, whose study (A Review of Energy Drinks and Mental Health, with a Focus on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression) was published in the Journal of Caffeine Research in 2016.
Their research, however, concluded that while the findings did imply that energy drinks ‘may increase the risk of undesirable mental health outcomes’, it was not possible to determine direct cause and effect.
The study referenced the suggestion that the quantity of energy drink consumed could impact your emotions. It pointed to previous research, carried out by Kaplan et al, which reported that 250 mg of caffeine triggered feelings of elation in subjects, while 500 mg increased irritability. So it may well be that there’s a fine balance when it comes to caffeine and your mood.
While there evidently needs to be more clarity on the issue, if you’re worried about high levels of caffeine impacting your emotions, perhaps it’s worth limiting your intake to see what effect that has.