The abstract from the published study by Thorlton, Ahmed & Colby (2016) starts out:
"Breastfeeding women may experience disrupted sleep schedules and be tempted to turn to popular energy drinks to reduce fatigue and enhance alertness, prompting the question: What are the maternal and child health implications for breastfeeding mothers consuming energy drinks?"
Caffeine and vitamin-rich energy drinks contain a variety of herbal ingredients and vitamins; however, ingredient amounts may not be clearly disclosed on product labels. Interactions between herbal ingredients and caffeine are understudied and not well defined in the literature. Some infants can be sensitive to caffeine and display increased irritability and sleep disturbances when exposed to caffeine from breastmilk. Breastfeeding women who consume energy drinks may be ingesting herbal ingredients that have not undergone scientific evaluation, and if taking prenatal vitamins, may unknowingly exceed the recommended daily intake. Caffeinated products are marketed in newer ways, fueling concerns about health consequences of caffeine exposure," (p 179).
Initially introduced into the market in 1960, the consumption of energy drinks has skyrocketed, increasing 10-fold between 2001 and 2010. "There is no consistent definition for an energy drink; however, most contain a blend of caffeine, herbal ingredients, vitamins, amino acids, and sugar or sugar derivatives," (p 180). These drinks range from a concentrated "shot" to a large container that has 3 servings. Combining taurine, guarana, ginseng, gingko biloba, yerba mate, B vitamins and other herbs, they are meant to stimulate the central nervous and cardiovascular systems. Excess consumption can lead to toxic effects: agitation, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension, sleep disturbances, digestive problems, seizures, acute renal failure, and even death. When combined with medications (anticoagulants, cardiovascular drugs, oral hypoglycemic agents and antiretrovirals, they may increase or negate the effects of the medications.
Caffeine concentrations do not need to be declared on product labels, since energy drinks may be considered a "dietary supplement" or a "conventional food." Generally considered safe for consumption, caffeine for breastfeeding mothers should be in moderation--about 2 cups per day. The average half-life of caffeine in the adult system is 3 to 7 hours. However, in the newborn, it rises to "up to 120 hours," (p 181). Infants generally ingest 1% of the maternal dose of caffeine, increasing the risk of irritability and sleep pattern changes. And the chronic use of caffeine by the mother can reduce the iron content in her milk.
So can breastfeeding mothers take these energy drinks? Those mothers on medications or drinking alcohol should be counselled not to exceed 300mg per day of caffeine, as well as to closely read ingredient labels. "...they should exercise caution where energy drinks are concerned," (p184), due to the unknown effects of the stimulants, herbs, and vitamin content, which vary from one manufacturer to another.
To those of you who reside outside of the US I would ask to share what your experiences with energy drinks are in your area. I look forward to following this discussion.
Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, BSPsy, RN, IBCLC, RLC, FILCA
Professional Development Educator
When you visit the Site, we automatically collect certain information about your device, including information about your web browser, IP address, time zone, and some of the cookies that are installed on your device. Additionally, as you browse the Site, we collect information about the individual web pages or products that you view, what websites or search terms referred you to the Site, and information about how you interact with the Site. We refer to this automatically-collected information as Device Information."
We collect Device Information using the following technologies:
Additionally when you make a purchase or attempt to make a purchase through the Site, we collect certain information from you, including your name, billing address, shipping address, payment information (including credit card numbers), email address, and phone number. We refer to this information as "Order Information."
We use the Order Information that we collect generally to fulfill any orders placed through the Site (including processing your payment information, arranging for shipping, and providing you with invoices and/or order confirmations). Additionally, we use this Order Information to:
We use Student Access Information to provide accurate tracking to Users and Clients on completion and use of the courses, as well as for analysis on how to improve our services.
We use the Device Information that we collect to help us screen for potential risk and fraud (in particular, your IP address), and more generally to improve and optimize our Site (for example, by generating analytics about how our customers browse and interact with the Site, and to assess the success of our marketing and advertising campaigns).
We share your Personal Information with third parties to help us use your Personal Information, as described above. For example, with your employer who needs to verify your completion or progress of your studies. We also use Google Analytics to help us understand how our customers use the Site--you can read more about how Google uses your Personal Information here: https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/. You can also opt-out of Google Analytics here: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.
Finally, we may also share your Personal Information to comply with applicable laws and regulations, to respond to a subpoena, search warrant or other lawful request for information we receive, or to otherwise protect our rights.
As described above, we use your Personal Information to provide you with targeted advertisements or marketing communications we believe may be of interest to you. For more information about how targeted advertising works, you can visit the Network Advertising Initiative's ("NAI") educational page at https://www.networkadvertising.org/understanding-online-advertising/how-does-it-work.
You can opt out of targeted advertising by:
Additionally, you can opt out of some of these services by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance's opt-out portal at: http://optout.aboutads.info.
Please note that we do not alter our Site's data collection and use practices when we see a Do Not Track signal from your browser.
If you are a European resident, you have the right to access personal information we hold about you and to ask that your personal information be corrected, updated, or deleted. If you would like to exercise this right, please contact us through the contact information below.
Additionally, if you are a European resident we note that we are processing your information in order to fulfill contracts we might have with you (for example if you make an order through the Site), or otherwise to pursue our legitimate business interests listed above. Additionally, please note that your information will be transferred outside of Europe, including to Canada and the United States.
When you place an order through the Site, we will maintain your Order Information and Student Access Information for our records unless and until you ask us to delete this information. We are required to keep course completion records for at least 5 years in order to comply with certain accreditation requirements.
For more information about our privacy practices, if you have questions, or if you would like to make a complaint, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com or by mail using the details provided below:
5890 Monkland Avenue, #16, Montreal, QC, H4A 1G2, Canada
Last Updated: September 2018