Man developed hepatitis after energy drink 'overdose'

The man, 50, was admitted to a hospital in Florida after feeling unwell for two weeks, with abdominal pain quickly progressing to nausea and vomiting. Doctors questioned him about his food, drink, recreational drug and supplement habits.

The doctors learned that the man did not take any medications or use drugs; however, the man said that he had been drinking four to five energy drinks a day for the past three weeks.

Are energy drinks targeting, endangering kids?

They said they diagnosed the man by ruling out other conditions and causes, including an accidental over-ingestion of acetaminophen, which can result in liver damage.

They added: 'With the increasing popularity of energy drinks, clinicians should also be aware of the potential adverse effects associated with their consumption and inquire about energy drink intake in otherwise healthy adults who present with unexplained acute hepatitis. It seems that energy drinks are very harmful to the body when consumed beyond recommended doses.

Doctors advise against ingesting more than 20 mg of niacin in a single day, but each energy drink consumed by the construction worker carried 40 mg of B3, or 200 percent of the recommended daily allowance.

The doctors said the most likely cause of his hepatitis was an overdose of vitamin B3, known as niacin, which is found in high concentrations in energy drinks.

The symptoms were "likely" caused by excessive energy drink consumption, the team wrote.

HAVING too many energy drinks can cause hepatitis, doctors have warned.

In the USA, about half of cases of acute liver failure are caused by drugs, herbs or nutritional supplements, say the authors of the article. The rise of dietary and herbal supplements has contributed to the number of drugs and toxins that can lead to this health issue. Laboratory studies showed transaminitis and evidence of chronic hepatitis C infection.

"This case appears to be somebody who already had a damaged liver because they had chronic hepatitis C. Certainly taking niacin on top of hepatitis C is unsafe". Even his family didn't have any history of liver diseases, according to this report. Eventually, they discovered that the patient had previously been infected with hepatitis C (transmitted through sex, blood, and shared needles) which may have increased his risk of further non-viral hepatitis.

The makers of popular energy drinks maintain that the products are safe.

Medical News Today reports that the main concerns over energy drinks have been related to sugar and caffeine. More studies are needed to confirm the link between HCV and energy drinks.

"As the energy drink market continues to rapidly expand, consumers should be aware of the potential risks of their various ingredients", the doctors wrote in the report. The daily intake of this substance (160 to 200 mg) was, however, in this patient, below the toxicity threshold.

The doctors said toxicity is made worse by long-term consumption.

  • Aubrey Nash