Do energy drinks contain active components other than caffeine?
Article first published online: 9 NOV 2012
© 2012 International Life Sciences Institute
Volume 70, Issue 12, pages 730–744, December 2012
How to Cite
McLellan, T. M. and Lieberman, H. R. (2012), Do energy drinks contain active components other than caffeine?. Nutrition Reviews, 70: 730–744. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00525.x
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 9 NOV 2012
- US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
- Department of Defense Center Alliance for Dietary Supplements Research
- physical and cognitive performance;
- Red Bull;
Energy drinks (EDs) contain caffeine and are a new, popular category of beverage. It has been suggested that EDs enhance physical and cognitive performance; however, it is unclear whether the claimed benefits are attributable to components other than caffeine. A typical 235 mL ED provides between 40 and 250 mg of caffeine, equating to doses that improve cognitive and, at the higher levels, physical performance. EDs often contain taurine, guaraná, ginseng, glucuronolactone, B-vitamins, and other compounds. A literature search using PubMed, Psych Info, and Google Scholar identified 32 articles that examined the effects of ED ingredients alone and/or in combination with caffeine on physical or cognitive performance. A systematic evaluation of the evidence-based findings in these articles was then conducted. With the exception of some weak evidence for glucose and guaraná extract, there is an overwhelming lack of evidence to substantiate claims that components of EDs, other than caffeine, contribute to the enhancement of physical or cognitive performance. Additional well-designed, randomized, placebo-controlled studies replicated across laboratories are needed in order to assess claims made for these products.