From the Cincinnati Enquirer
Energy drinks = monster problems
Teen athletes will find caffeine buzz short-lived
By Amy Howell ? email@example.com ? August 12, 2008
With names such as Vault and slogans like "Go Full Throttle or go home," caffeine-packed energy drinks conjure Olympic-sized feats of greatness.
Teens, looking for a quick energy boost or a competitive edge, are guzzling them.
Thirty-five percent of 12- to 17-year-olds say they consume energy drinks regularly, compared with just 15 percent of adults, according to Mintel, a Chicago market research firm. Mintel estimates the energy-drink market will reach $4.8 billion this year - a growth of 363 percent since 2003.
But as high school sports teams in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky start sweating it out during intense summer conditioning, nutritionists, trainers and coaches are warning student-athletes that fueling up with energy drinks can deplete - rather than enhance - their performance. (Click on the link to read the rest of the story)
High school athletes who are accustomed to drinking a couple cans of Monster a day may want to break their energy-drink habit before heading off to play in college.
High levels of caffeine and many ingredients in energy drinks' "power blends" are banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and most athletic departments advise students to avoid the drinks entirely.
"We received a memo from NCAA over five years ago about not providing Red Bull to our students because it could cause them to test positive," says Maggie McKinley, director of compliance with the University of Cincinnati athletics department.
Caffeine is considered a stimulant - and a banned drug - by the NCAA, if the concentration in an athlete's urine exceeds 15 micrograms per milliliter. The concentration will vary according to each athlete's size and gender and how much caffeine he or she has consumed in relation to other foods and fluids.
Some other ingredients in the drinks - which may or may not be listed on the can - are banned in any amount.
"It's very easy to test positive because a lot of those drinks and shakes you get over-the-counter aren't regulated by the FDA, so nobody's requiring them to put all the ingredients on the label," McKinley says.
One such stimulant, synephrine, is found in Speed Stack and Ripped Force drinks by ABB, and the Worldwide Extreme Thermo Rush drink.
The NCAA's full list of banned substances can be found at www.ncaa.org/wps/ncaa?ContentID=283.