DENVER (CBS4) – The Food and Drug Administration is investigating popular energy drinks amid claims they can cause serious health problems.

Specifically the FDA is investigating reports of five deaths that may be associated with Monster Energy drinks. Some experts 4 On Your Side Health Specialist Kathy Walsh spoke with say the drinks potentially can be dangerous.

The FDA limits the amount of caffeine in soda, but there is no such limit on energy drinks. They are the beverages of choice for many who want a boost. Cans of energy drinks fill store coolers and energy shots can be found on the shelves and counters.

“It helps focus. I can concentrate and focus and I know what I’m doing,” an energy drink consumer said.

The FDA is now focused on Monster Energy, investigating whether the highly caffeinated beverage may have caused five deaths and one heart attack. There’s no proven link but parents in Maryland are suing Monster Beverage. They claim 14-year-old Anais Fournier drank two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy in 24 hours. According to the coroner, the teen died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity. She also had an existing heart problem.

“The family really hopes they can keep this from happening to anybody else,” the family’s lawyer said.

A spokeswoman for Monster Beverage has reportedly stated that the company “is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks.”

Dr. Sam Mehta is a Denver cardiologist. Walsh asked him if he would let his children consume energy drinks.

“I wouldn’t because I’m concerned, long-term-wise or short-term-wise, what’s there,” Mehta said.

A 24-ounce Monster Energy drink is said to have 240 milligram of caffeine. That’s seven times the amount found in a 12-ounce cola. Mehta says that’s five or six cups of coffee in just one drink.

“That’s why I think there’s cause for concern,” he said.

Mehta would like to see full disclosure of what’s in energy drinks. He’d also like to see regulation of how much caffeine they can contain. He urges parents to pay close attention to what their children are drinking.


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