Bioscience · Medicine · Science

The Effect of Energy Drinks on Mental and Physical Performance in Different Age Groups.


A lot of teenagers and young adults drink energy drink. How does that affect their body? Do they become more agile, think faster and run for longer periods of time? This is what this experiment investigates.

Underneath you have a brief synopsis of the experiment. The recoded data is available for download below. Feel free draw conclusions yourselves. You may not use the data for anything else but educational purposes.

Experiment performed by Andrei Cociug 2015.

This experiment is carried in order to observe how energy drinks affect the circulatory and the nervous systems. The energy drink which will be used is ‘Burn.’ It is an average priced energy drink that is distributed world wide by the Coca Cola Company.

Hypothesis: Volunteers will be offered to drink different amounts of energy drink on different days. I predict that drinking energy drinks will raise blood pressure, heart rate, and improve physical and mental performance of volunteers by different amounts over a period of time. A maximum will be reached at time ‘t’, in minutes, followed by the return of the measured variables to the initial vales. It is also possible that they will continue to drop to even lower values.

Background Knowledge:

The contents of ‘Burn’ are: Citric acid, Natrium citrate, Ascorbic acid, Arginine, Theobromine, B Vitamins, Caffeine, Carbonated water, E163, E150d, E202, Ginseng, Guarana, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Taurine and Water, out of which:

Arginine plays an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of hormones.

Theobromine – Is a compound found in Cocoa plants, also used in chocolate, and has a similar but lesser effect to caffeine. In medicine it is used as a vasodilator, a diuretic or a heart stimulant.

Caffeine – Is a psychological and metabolic stimulant. It is used to reduce physical fatigue and to delay sleep. Overuse of caffeine may result in mild anxiety and insomnia.

Ginseng – Plant found in North America and East Asia. It is an aphrodisiac(stimulates sexual desire) and a stimulant (like caffeine).

Guarana – Plant found in the Amazonian basin. It is a stimulant, and one seed of guarana has twice the concentration of a coffee seed.

Taurine – It is not made up of bull hormones. It is an organic acid mainly found in the bile and intestines of animals. Taurine has many biological roles such as: antioxidation (prevents stress induced by exercise), osmoregulation (the concentrations of metabolites in the blood), membrane stabilisation and calcium signaling. Taurine is essential for the development of the Central Nervous System, Retinas and skeletal muscles. It may also reduce blood pressure.

Chemical compounds enter bloodstream at different times, depending on where they are digested/metabolised in the body and their physical form (liquid or solid). The amount of time required for carbohydrates (sugars) to enter the bloodstream is between 10 to 15 minutes after ingestion (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/soon-after-ingestion-food-blood-sugar-rise-1399.html). Furthermore, nutrients from fizzy drinks can be absorbed at a faster rate than non-fizzy drinks.

Carbohydrates start being broken down (digested) in the mouth, and are absorbed really fast into the bloodstream.

Conclusion:

Every individual responds differently to energy drinks. Results range from ‘No Effect’ to ‘Hyperactivity,’ from ‘Improved’ to actually ‘Worsened.’

  • Volunteers in the first age category have actually worsened when they drank energy drinks. Their blood pressure dropped to unnatural values in a short time (20 minutes). Their physical performance and memory remained constant while reflexes improved.

  • Volunteers in the 2nd and 3rd age groups became more concentrated and physically more capable after they drank 75 mL of energy drink. Their heart rate and blood pressure rose, peaking at 30 minutes after they drank the energy drink, and then dropped back to normal values. In some cases, at time ‘t’ = 60 minutes (in comparison to the measurements taken at time ‘t’ = 0) the measurements of the heart rate read higher values, while the measurements of the blood pressure read lower values (20% less than normal).

When they drank 150 mL of energy drinks the following observations were made:

  • Some had lesser tolerance to the stimulants and started to show signs of hyperactivity. This caused them to lose concentration during the memory test, which lead to a drop in the overall performance.

  • Some had greater tolerance to the stimulants and their performance continued to improve.

  • Volunteers in the 5th age group (36-50) have also shown improvements in their mental capabilities and physical performance. In comparison to volunteers from the 2nd and 3rd age group, volunteers from the 5th age group showed greater sensibility to lower quantities of energy drink.

Overall, the results obtained do support the hypothesis, although there were no significant differences in the recorded values. This may be because of the small quantities of energy drink used in the experiment, where 150 mL is 30% of a normal portion (500 mL bottle).

Also, it can be observed that if the heart rate and blood pressure are higher than mean values – 60 to 100 beats per minute, and 90 and 120 mm Hg – (of healthy individuals) energy drinks cause them to lower and approach the mean values. On the other hand if the heart rate and blood pressure are lower than mean values energy drinks act so they increase and approach mean values.

Download Links (PDF):

EnergyDrinks

Subject 1 Subject 2 Subject 3 Subject 4 Subject 5 Subject 6

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