A member of the House of Representatives, Dayo Bush-Alebiosu has said lawmakers, who are pushing for thorough investigations into the contents and effects of consuming energy drinks, are not trying to take over the responsibilities of established regulating bodies such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
While speaking on the Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Bush-Alebiosu explained the need for the government to pay more attention to the effects and inherent dangers associated with energy drinks.
Asked if he was expecting a total ban of the drinks or a measure of regulation, he said that the findings of the reseacrh being carried out will determine the appropriate action to be taken.
Mr Bush-Alebiosu, who sponsored the bill on the floor of the House, revealed that he had stopped consuming the potentially harmful drinks ever since he discovered the many health risks involved.
The Chief Medical Director Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Wale Oke on Monday said the consumption of energy drinks can cause high blood pressure and such beverage should be treated as drugs.
While speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Dr. Oke said energy drinks have been able to penetrate the Nigerian market are treated as beverages which is why it does not go through rigorous and extensive research by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
He said, “These drinks contain caffeine which can cause individuals with health challenges to become hypertensive. Consumption of the drinks can also increase blood pressure or cause abnormal heart rate.”
He revealed that non-sugar energy drinks have been directly linked with blood clot formations in the human body and have been banned in over two European countries.
He opined that Nigerians have embraced the ‘fad’ in order to help them keep awake whilst being ignorant to the internal damages the drinks cause.
He advised that Nigerians should cultivate the habit of visiting the hospital for regular comprehensive tests.
A motion which seeks to ban the sale and consumption of all brands of caffeinated energy drink in Nigeria has been passed by the House of Representatives. This followed a motion by Yacoob Bush-Alebiosu on the perceived devastating health effects of the caffeinated energy drinks on Nigerians.
He expressed concern that heart diseases caused by the consumption of these energy drinks, especially amongst young people, is alarming and threatens the health condition of younger generations.
The house mandated its committee on health to investigate the importation, distribution, sales and health implication of energy drinks in Nigeria and report to it within four weeks.
It has been found that the consumption of sports and energy drinks, causes irreversible damage to the teeth.
In a recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, “Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” said Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, lead author of the study.
“Most of the patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid,” she noted. Researchers examined the acidity levels in 13 sports drinks and nine energy drinks. They found that the acidity levels could vary between brands of beverages and flavours of the same brand.
To test the effect of the acidity levels, the researchers immersed samples of human tooth enamel in each beverage for 15 minutes, followed by immersion in artificial saliva for two hours. This cycle was repeated four times a day for five days, and the samples were stored in fresh artificial saliva at all other times.
Damage caused to tooth enamel is irreversible, and without the protection of enamel, teeth become overly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more likely to decay.