A mom in Australia is campaigning against energy drinks after losing her son to cardiac arrest. Shani Clarke’s 35-year-old son, Michael, had developed a habit of ingesting up to four of the drinks per day.
Although she lost her son in 2014, Clarke is channeling her pain by educating others on the dangers of caffeine toxicity. On the day that he died, coroners deduced that Michael had drunk about 4 cans of Mother – a Monster brand energy drink available in New Zealand and Australia – and 4 cups of coffee.
A 500 ml can of Mother contains roughly 160 mg of caffeine. That amount of caffeine put too much stress on Michael’s heart, leading to his death. Medical examiners concluded that Clarke had caffeine toxicity and heart damage.
Shani Clarke started a Facebook group called Caffeine Toxicity Death Awareness aimed at spreading awareness of the effects of energy drinks. She told ABC News in Australia that she’s encountering people who had no idea that the beverages could potentially be harmful.
One truck driver’s wife reached out and said that her husband quit his 4-a-day habit thanks to the group, and so did a single mom. Clarke is also working to have an age ban enacted for those who are under 18.
Excessive consumption of energy drinks has been linked to muscle spasms, seizures, heart problems, breathing difficulties, anxiety, and kidney damage. NIH reports that men and teenagers are the largest group of consumers of the drinks, and that nearly 1/3 of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have them regularly.
Like Clarke, public health agencies have concerns about the safety of the drinks, particularly for youth. Health experts encourage consumers to read the labels carefully and speak with their doctors if they notice abnormal changes in their bodies or behavior.
Can you relate to this woman’s plight about energy drinks? Do you consume these regularly?