In April 2017, a 16-year-old boy named Davis Allen Cripe from South Carolina died suddenly. Authorities determined his untimely death to have been caused by a caffeine overdose. Medical Daily reports that, prior to his death, he had experienced arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats. Apparently, the teen had consumed a large soda, cafe latte, and an energy drink two hours before he died. The tragic incident further emphasizes the need for parents and kids to learn of the dangers of caffeine and how it must be consumed moderately.
“On this particular day within the two hours prior to his death, we know had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte, and also some type of energy drink,” coroner Gary Watts, told NBC in a press conference. “Based on his weight, the intake of caffeine that he had exceeded what is considered a safe level.”
What exactly is a caffeine overdose?
We all need a boost of energy from time to time and one of the most affordable and accessible sources would be caffeinated drinks. Caffeine acts as a nervous system stimulant, making those who drink it more lively and energetic. Recent research has also found that it has benefits to those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. But, when consumed in large amounts, it can have harmful effects: shaking, headaches, seizures, and in some cases, death.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the maximum safe amount of caffeine is 400 mg, which is about four cups of brewed coffee or 10 cans of soda. But, they caution, that this depends upon your gender, age and body size.
So how does a caffeine overdose happen? Once you go over the safe limit of caffeine, your body produces too much norepinephrine, the stress hormone, increasing heart rate to a dangerous level and resulting in rapid, irregular beating.
Despite the tragic fate their son suffered, Davis’ parents are hoping that some good may come of their situation. They hope to raise awareness about the dangers of caffeine to prevent another tragedy from happening.
“It wasn’t a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink,” lamented Davis’ father Sean said at a press conference. “Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks.”
What are alternative sources of energy boosts for teens?
Drinking water throughout the day helps you stay hydrated and energetic. It helps keep you going, says this study.
Protein and Carbohydrates
Foods like fruit, boiled, eggs, or peanut butter and banana smoothies are great sources of energy! In fact, the American Heart Association recommends loading up on protein and carbohydrates before strenuous physical activity.
Make taking vitamins a part of your daily routine to make sure you have enough energy for the day. Not enough magnesium, for instance, can deplete your energy, causing you to get tired more easily. Aside from multivitamin tablets, you can go for natural sources, like fresh fruit, vegetables, or yogurt.
Sometimes, the best energy boost comes from pushing yourself to keep moving. Physical activity elevates serotonin and endorphin levels, resulting in more energy!
READ: Is your child drinking too much soda? A recent study says yes
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