Following five deaths over the past three years that have been reportedly linked to Monster energy drinks, doctors have begun to voice their concerns about the dangers of too much caffeine. The stimulant can increase heart rate, drive up blood pressure and possibly result in death, according to HealthDay.
"In anyone who has any underlying heart condition, these two effects can be deadly. Know what you're drinking before you drink it," Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at a NYC hospital, told the publication.
To put things in perspective, a 12-ounce can of Coke has about 35 milligrams of caffeine; a 16-ounce Monster has 160 mg of caffeine and a 24-ounce can of the energy drink has 240 milligrams of caffeine.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most healthy adults can consume 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day and be safe, but any more than that may cause insomnia, nervousness, muscle tremors or a faster heartbeat. They also recommend being in tune to your own body -- if you get jittery after one cup of java, having more than that might not be a good idea.
But for kids and teens, officials recommend no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day -- which was grossly exceed by 14-year-old Anais Fournier of Maryland, whose death was one of the five reported in connection to Monster energy drinks. NPR reports she died from heart arrhythmia after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster in less than 24 hours, and now Fournier's parents are filing a lawsuit against the company.
Fournier did have an underlying heart condition but according to the autopsy report her arrhythmia came as a result of "caffeine toxicity." The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says they have received five reports suggesting Monster energy drinks were linked to deaths and although they are investigating they are considering these cases "unconfirmed allegations."
Although the FDA regulates caffeine amounts in sodas, many energy drinks are classified as dietary supplements and not subject to the same restrictions. Those that do list caffeine amounts are not always accurate, according to a report from NBC News.
A spokesman for Monster told the Los Angeles Times that the company is "unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks."