Skip to main content

While teens tout the coolness, energizing factor and taste, the popularity of energy drinks among young people has raised concern among medical professionals.

A warning for students trying to stay awake through those all-night cram sessions: chugging energy drinks such as Red Bull, especially on an empty stomach, has been linked again to causing seizures.

According to a Health Canada release, an 18-year-old man drank two cans of Red Bull in half an hour during a night of studying, without eating. (He was in good health and had no history of seizure or head injury.) An hour later, while still at school, he suffered two grand mal seizures and had to be taken to hospital. He was released the next day. There were no drugs in his system, and other than the Red Bull, he had not had any other caffeine drink.

"This particular case occurred almost a year and a half ago and has been reported to Health Canada according to regulations for Natural Health Products," Red Bull Canada said in a statement. "Two 355 ml cans of Red Bull Energy Drink contain about the same amount of caffeine as two to three cups of coffee (230 mg). Scientists from Health Canada have concluded that the general population of healthy adults is not at risk for potential adverse effects from caffeine if they limit their consumption to 400 mg per day."

This isn't the first time the energy drinks have been linked to seizures. In 2007, research presented at the American Academy of Neurology reported that four patients between the ages of 19 to 28 suffered seizures after heavy consumption of the drinks. One patient, a 25-year-old man, was admitted to the emergency room for two seizures within four months; he'd also consumed two cans of the energy drink Rockstar on an empty stomach, between half an hour to an hour before both seizures. Told to abstain from energy drinks, he didn't have anymore seizures, researchers said.

At the time, researchers pointed out that none of the patients had seizures when they drank energy drinks in small quantities.

The label on a can of Red Bull, touted on the company website as "more than just a hot secret for the night owl and non stop-party animal" recommends one serving a day.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

Follow the author of this article:

Check Following for new articles