BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There are a lot of new energy drinks and sodas on store shelves and research shows the caffeine in these drinks is causing side effects in adolescents.
With so many more young users, researchers are beginning to see the symptoms of caffeine use and caffeine dependence.
UB Medical Student Sakina Sojar said, “Caffeine is found everywhere now. You have your coffees, your teas, your sodas, your energy drinks, which have become really popular the last five years or so, and caffeine is also found in candies now and even I’ve heard of a shampoo that has caffeine in it.”
Sojar, a third year medical student, conducted a study of caffeine use by adolescents that won first prize at Student Research Day.
“Over 70 percent of participants in this study used caffeine in the past 30 days, and of those, half of them could attribute a physical symptom that they experienced based on their caffeine use,” Sojar said.
The most common symptoms of caffeine use were frequent urination, sleep disturbances and stomach problems. Many kids also had withdrawal symptoms – caffeine cravings, fatigue, headaches or difficulty concentrating. And there was co-dependence with other substances.
Sojar explained, “Those patients that use other substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, other drugs were more likely to be dependent on caffeine than those patients who didn’t use those same substances.”
The maximum amount of caffeine an adolescent should have in a day can be found in one cup of coffee or one energy drink, so many of them are getting too much. It’s something parents and doctors should be aware of.
“If a child was to come in complaining of stomach problems, complaining of, you know increased difficulty with concentration and urinary symptoms, then caffeine should be on the list of one of the things a physician thinks about,” Sojar said.