Pacific lecturer puts energy drinks to the test


College students in need of a boost will often turn to energy drinks to provide the strength needed to complete work and study long into the night.

However, do students understand what these drinks are doing to their body?

That is what Dr. May Chen, a lecturer in the Pharmacy and Health Sciences Department at University of Pacific, wants to find out.

Delta students may have seen Chen’s flyers posted around campus with the phrase “CALLING ALL ENERGY DRINK USERS,” in large print.

Chen is asking healthy students from the ages of 18 to 40 who regularly drink energy drinks to participate in her experiment to determine how energy drinks affect one’s cardiometabolic health.

The experiment requires participants to consume two energy drinks per day on a four week basis.

The Food and Drug Administration has cited it is safe for the average adult person to consume 400 milligrams of caffeine per day – the average energy drink contains 80 milligrams, although the amount may vary depending on the brand of drink itself. 

According to the information provided by University of Pacific via the Clinical Trial government registry through the United States National Library of Medicine, Chen will be measuring the participant’s blood pressure, electrocardiographic parameters, blood glucose, cholesterol, weight, body mass index and body fat composition before and after the four week period to observe what changes have occurred.

The project’s completion date is slated as December.

Very little is known about energy drinks themselves despite the fact that they are so popular.

Energy drinks contain large amounts of sugar as well as stimulants like taurine and guarana which is what allow energy drinks to increase our awareness.

However, the Center for Disease Control states these stimulants can also increase a person’s blood pressure and heart rate, lead to dehydration, and make a person experience anxiety and insomnia.

There have been reports of extreme energy drink consumption landing people in hospitals.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said there has been a doubling of emergency visits related to energy drink use from 2007 to 2011.

While there’s some evidence of the harmful effect of energy drinks, there’s still much left to be discovered and this experiment can answer this question: how do energy drinks affect a person who drinks them every single day?

Those who are interested in participating in the experiment can contact Chen by sending an email at or calling her at (209) 932-2959. 

Participants must be healthy individuals from the ages of 18 to 40 that are not taking any medication or pregnant.

Those who do participate are promised a $50 gift card on completion of the experiment.

Energy drinks might be a college student’s best friend during finals week, but it would be beneficial to learn just how harmful these drinks can be on our bodies before we become too dependent on them.