What is in my sports drink?

Sports drinks are becoming more common.  Many people drink them because they are high in caffeine and nutrients and support increased activity and alertness at work, but now there is some evidence that they may not be good for your long-term health.  What is it about the sports drinks that help people to stay active?

Some common ingredients for sports drinks are:

  • Choline – Found in beef liver, cauliflower, eggs and brewer’s yeast, choline is an important part of cell membranes and it is used in the formation of various parts of the brain and nerve cells.  Other foods that contain choline are fatty fish, garbanzo beans, peas and other legumes as well as in cruciferous vegetables.
  • Inositol – Actually a sugar alcohol, inositol contributes sweetness without adding sugar. Inositol is present in many foods and is used in a variety of biological processes and systems inside the body.  There is no FDA recommendation for daily intake.
  • Taurine – A very common compound in the human body, taurine has been proven to have many benefits and uses.  It is necessary for many biological systems including skeletal systems and the central nervous system.
  • Caffeine – Well known to help people stay alert, caffeine can also cause jitters and sleeplessness when consumed in excessive quantities.
  • B-Vitamins – Found in many nutritious foods, like leafy greens and beans and whole grains, b-vitamins are important for many of your body’s natural processes.  Your body uses these water-soluble vitamins for generating energy, among other things.  Healthy levels of vitamins like riboflavin and niacin are associated with heart health and a healthy metabolism.

Energy drinks have come under scrutiny in the news lately due to some statistical connections with health problems and excessive consumption of energy drinks.  While some of the chemicals in energy drinks are known to cause some health problems, some of the ingredients are to be important components to healthy living.

Is it possible to get the benefits of these compounds by consuming organic extracts and plant materials?  It is possible for a person to achieve higher health and optimum stamina and activity levels by learning about what things benefit your health and by locating organic sources for those compounds.

Enjoy your energy drinks responsibly, and be aware of your consumption of sugar, caffeine and artificial sweeteners.  Be careful and aware of your health.