How often do military personnel consume energy drinks?

Soldiers Using Energy Drinks Report Stress-Related Sleep Disruption And More, U.S. Military Researchers Warn

The U.S. military has warned military personnel that consuming too many energy drinks can do “some serious harm to your bodies.” The pentagon’s official science blog detailed health risks of energy drinks while citing a report that revealed that soldiers in the field who consumed multiple energy drinks each day were actually more likely to fall asleep on duty.

The study was conducted by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and it examined data from 1,000 Army soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan in 2010 who had consented to having their information used for research purposes. The data collected by Joint Mental Health Advisory Team 7 (J-MHAT 7) to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan was the first to include questions about the consumption of energy drinks, the researchers reported on the CDC’s website.

The study revealed that almost half of deployed members of the military drank at least one energy drink each day. Nearly 14 percent of the deployed personnel reported that they drank three or more energy drinks a day. The report claimed that the energy drinks can have negative side effects. At three or more energy drinks each day, the military personnel were more likely to report that they experienced sleep disruption related to stress and illness. They were also more likely to fall asleep on guard duty or at briefings.

“But in the military not consuming tons of caffeine can also cause serious harm to your health. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, bullet and shrapnel wounds, getting the shit smoked out of you for passing out on guard duty, falling asleep behind the wheel of an MRAP, and losing your will to live after back-to-back 12-hour patrols on two hours of sleep,” Adam Linehan wrote for Task & Purpose. “They do it out of necessity. For their health and sanity. T0 increase their chances of making it home in one piece.”

“Service members drinking three or more energy drinks per day were significantly more likely than the other groups to report sleep disruption on more than half the nights in the past 30 days because of stress related to combat, stress related to personal life, and illness,” the researchers reported. “However, no differences were noted in sleep disruption because of the sleep environment, high operational tempo, nighttime duties, or leisure activities.”

Dr. Patricia Deuster, professor and director of the Consortium for Health and Military Performance at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, said that it’s also clear that doctors don’t know the long term effects of consuming energy drinks, according to WXYZ News.

CNN stated that the report pointed out that the products are generally unregulated, but that there are still no concrete findings of the effects of consuming multiple energy drinks each day. Not all military personnel were happy with the warnings.

The researchers explained that service members who drank at least three energy drinks each day reported the cause of their sleep disruption as combat stress, personal issues, and illness, not external factors. The report cited caffeine as the possible primary cause, but mentioned other ingredients as well.

Aside from preservatives and food dye that people are beginning to shy away from, many energy drinks also contain folic acid and cyanocobalamin. Some people are discovering they are reacting poorly to folic acid and should avoid taking it in certain forms like the form found in energy drinks. Also, some people are less able to utilize cyanocobalamin. Some people have difficulties with these versions of these nutrients, because they have a MTHFR mutation (C677T and A1298C), according to Dr Ben Lynch, of MTHFR.net. The wrong forms of these nutrients, when taken in the forms found in many supplements and in energy drinks, can lead to neurological conditions, feelings of stress, and depression.

The Inquisitr previously reported about the increase in emergency room visits blamed on energy drink consumption. Who knows where the warnings will end? It wasn’t too long ago that the target was ephedra-related dietary supplements in the wake of reported side effects and the death of a Texas soldier. More recently, the target was DMAA, the New York Times reported. With all of this information, could plain old coffee in a convenient, ready to drink can one day be a compromise between soldiers and military researchers?

Ultimately, the military researchers stressed that, because of the data discovered in their research, military personnel should be warned that consuming multiple energy drinks a day could have serious consequences on health and affect job performance.

[Featured Image by heromen30/Shutterstock]

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