Energy drinks like Rockstar, Red Bull, and Monster Energy contain high doses of caffeine and vitamins like niacin (Vitamin B3). When consumed excessively, niacin can cause toxic hepatitis and liver damage.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting energy drink induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with a serious side effect, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
Popular Energy Drinks
Health Effects of Energy Drink Ingredients
Here is a look at some of the most common ingredients in energy drinks and how they affect the body:
- Caffeine is the most popular stimulant in the world, and the most common stimulant in energy drinks. In high doses, caffeine can over-stimulate the brain and cause irregular heart rhythm, cardiac arrest, or death.
- Sugar is the 2nd-most popular energy-boosting ingredient in energy drinks. High doses of sugar can send blood-sugar levels skyrocketing and cause a “crash” with excessive fatigue.
- B-Vitamins like niacin, folate, riboflavin, or cyanocobalamin may be found in excess of 1,000% of the recommended daily level in some energy drinks. B-vitamins in energy drinks have caused several people to develop liver inflammation (acute hepatitis) within a few days.
- Green tea naturally contains low levels of caffeine, but green tea extracts like EGCG is far more powerful. There are many reports of people who developed liver damage from using green tea supplements.
- Taurine, Glucuronolactone, and L-carnitine are amino acids that are found naturally in the body. There is no evidence they boost energy levels in the amounts found in energy drinks.
Energy Drinks and Hepatitis
Monster Energy, Rockstar, and Red Bull all contain niacin (Vitamin B3). The maximum recommended daily dose is 20mg per day. In doses above 150mg per day, niacin accumulates in the liver and becomes toxic. It can cause elevated liver enzymes, liver inflammation, toxic hepatitis, liver failure, and death.
Liver Toxicity and Niacin (Vitamin B3)
In November 2016, BMJ Case Reports published the case of a 50 year-old construction worker who developed liver inflammation (acute non-viral hepatitis) after drinking 4-5 cans of an unnamed energy drink every day for 3 weeks. Each can contained 40mg of niacin (Vitamin B3), or 200% of the recommended daily dose. In another case report from 2011, a 22 year-old girl developed hepatitis by consuming 300mg of niacin in 10 energy drinks per day for two weeks.
Side Effects of Energy Drinks on Liver
- Toxic hepatitis
- Acute non-viral hepatitis
- Liver inflammation
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Liver failure
Monster Energy Lawsuits
Monster Beverage Corp. is facing more lawsuits than any other energy drink manufacturer. In February 2016, five lawsuits were filed by a Florida-based law firm representing people who were injured by heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure after consuming energy drinks, though the case was later dismissed.
Lawsuits Filed After Teenager Dies of Cardiac Arrest
In August 2012, Monster announced that they were under investigation after the death of a 14 year-old girl. The girl consumed two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks and suffered a fatal irregular heartbeat. In October 2012, the family of the girl filed a lawsuit. According to the complaint, the girl had a pre-existing heart condition and died from “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.”
Monster Energy Lawsuit Settlements
Monster has already agreed to settlements in several lawsuits, including two lawsuits filed on behalf of people who died after drinking Monster Energy. One settlement was reached just before a trial in California on behalf of Alex Morris, a 19 year-old who died of “cardiac arrythmia and cardiomyopathy” after drinking two 16-oz cans of Monster every day for three years.
Monster Class Action Lawsuits
Monster is facing multiple class action lawsuits in California. However, these class actions are seeking refunds on behalf of everyone who bought Monster Energy. They are not intended to maximize compensation for people who were injured. Instead of a class action, our lawyers are filing individual lawsuits on behalf of people who were injured by Monster Energy.
Rockstar Energy Lawsuits
In July 2015, Rockstar Inc. was hit with a lawsuit by a man who had a heart attack after drinking four cans of the highly-caffeinated energy drink in less than eight hours.
Red Bull Energy Lawsuits
In October 2013, An $85 million wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family of Cory Terry, a 33-year-old man from Brooklyn who died of a cardiac arrest after drinking a Red Bull energy drink.
FDA Releases Side Effect Reports
In November 2012, the New York Times reported that 5-Hour Energy had been linked to 13 deaths in the last four years. The FDA reported that Red Bull was associated with 21 adverse event reports, including 10 reports involving hospitalization. The agency also published reports (PDF) on adverse events linked to 5 Hour Energy, Monster, and Rock Star. The FDA also expressed concern about the risks in pregnant women and children.
Are Energy Drinks Dangerous?
Energy drinks usually contain massive amounts of caffeine, sugar, vitamins, and other ingredients. However, most products do not list all ingredients on the label or hide the ingredients in a “proprietary blend.” The problem is that caffeine and vitamins like niacin (Vitamin B3) are toxic in high doses. The most common side effects are “caffeine jitters,” but more serious side effects like can also occur.
Health Risks of Caffeine Toxicity
- Heart attack
- Caffeine toxicity
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart-rate (tachycardia)
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- And more
Energy Drinks Linked to Heart Problems
In March 2016, researchers presented a study warning that consuming just two energy drinks per day can increase blood pressure and cause irregular heart rhythm. In young adults, consuming just one 16-oz energy drink can increase cardiac risks, according to a study published by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in November 2015. Energy drinks were also linked to increased stress hormones, blood-pressure, and irregular heart rhythm.
Energy Drink and Children
Of the 1,500 calls to poison control centers regarding energy drink toxicity in 2014, 51% involve children under 6 years old who accidentally consumed the beverages. Some of the reports involve seizures, heart problems, and other neurological or cardiovascular side effects. The researchers also identified case reports of major side effects, including:
- Heart problems
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Non-ventricular dysrhythmia
- Ventricular dysrhythmia
- Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
The most popular “energy shot” is 5-Hour Energy. The active ingredients varies, but is most often caffeine, B-vitamins, taurine (an amino acid from animal sources), artificial flavorings and sweeteners. Many advertise themselves as low-calorie ways to boost energy on the job, while working out, or while partying.
Folic Acid (Folate)
5-Hour Energy contains 8,333% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B12, and 2,000% the recommended amount of Vitamin B6. Each bottle also contains 100% of a person’s recommended amount of folic acid. Folic acid is added to grains, breakfast cereals, and is also found in many foods, so it is very easy to accidentally consume too much folic acid in a day when eating normally and also taking an energy shot.
Do I have an Energy Drink Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting energy drink induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with a heart attack, kidney failure, or other side effect, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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