by Ben Meredith
(NaturalNews) Monster energy drinks are a popular choice for a caffeine fix among teens and young adults, but can drinking too many of them be fatal? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now investigating five deaths within the past year, the victims of which had consumed Monster drinks before their deaths.
Monster drinks are made by Monster Beverage Corp. They come in a 24-ounce can that contains 240 milligrams of caffeine, which is seven times the amount of caffeine in a 12-ounce cola. Monster Beverage Corp. is the largest U.S. energy drink maker, selling approximately $1.6 billion of drinks last year. Since 2006, its drink sales have tripled.
Allegations against Monster energy drinks go back to 2004, though the FDA points out that the medical reports do not necessarily prove the drinks to be the cause of death. No conclusion will be drawn until the investigation is complete.
A Maryland woman has filed a lawsuit against Monster Beverage Corp., claiming the energy drinks killed her 14-year-old daughter. The victim consumed two of the 24-ounce cans within 24 hours. An autopsy revealed that the girl died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity, but the medical examiner also noted that she had a disorder than can weaken blood vessels.
From 2005 to 2009, emergency room visits involving energy drinks went up 10-fold, increasing to 13,114. About half of those trips were made by patients ranging from 18 to 25 years old and also involved drugs or alcohol. 37 adverse reactions to Monster drinks specifically have been reported to the FDA since 2004. The reports claimed that symptoms of some of the life-threatening illness included heart attack, chest pain, and vomiting.
Monster Beverage Corp. claims it is unaware that its products have been the cause of any fatalities, and it denies that drinking two cans may lead to caffeine toxicity or death.
The amount of caffeine allowed in soda is capped at 0.02 percent, but the FDA does not regulate caffeine amounts in energy drinks, such as Monster and its competitors. Caffeine isn’t listed in Monster’s proprietary formula, though it notes the presence of the ingredient in the drink, along with guarana (a plant extract) and taurine (an amino acid).
Some states have tried to restrict energy drink sales to minors, though the efforts were unsuccessful. Additionally, some senators have requested that the FDA do further research on the effects of caffeine and other energy drink ingredients in children.