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WARNING: Excessive Consumption of Energy Drinks Linked to Acute Hepatitis

Nov 03, 2016 05:47 AM EDT
Energy Drinks
Excessive consumption of energy drinks linked to the development of acute hepatitis
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A recent case study revealed that drinking four to five energy drinks daily might result to acute hepatitis due to excess vitamin B3 consumption.

The study, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, showed that a healthy man with no history of substance, alcohol and tobacco abuse suddenly developed acute hepatitis due to his energy drink habit.

The man, 50, works in construction. Due to the heavy demands of his profession, the man drinks four to five energy drinks per day to survive the long hours. The man reported experiencing flu-like symptoms, which include lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting. However, the man was alarmed when urine turned black and his skin became yellowish, a telltale sign of declining liver function.

Laboratory testing showed that the man has an underlying chronic Hepatitis C. However, liver biopsy showed severe acute hepatitis with bridging necrosis and marked cholestasis. The researchers discovered HCV antibodies in the patient's blood. The presence of these antibodies even when the man only showed symptoms for only two weeks suggests that he had chronic hepatitis, because HCV antibodies can only be present in the blood ten weeks after exposure. But, the researchers found that the underlying virus is not the cause of the acute hepatitis.

According to a report from CNN, the patient reported no changes in his diet or use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. Furthermore, the man is not under any prescription or over-the-counter medication, which could possibly damage his liver.

Overall the medical history of the patient is in the corners of normal. The only thing jumping out from his records is his excessive consumption of energy drinks. The researchers noted that drinking four to five energy drink a day also means that the body is absorbing about 160 to 200 milligrams of niacin, which is below the threshold of being toxic. However, previous reported energy drink-related hepatitis was associated with about 300 milligrams daily intake of niacin.

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