Beware of Stimulants
A Serious Post About a True Story
A 21 year youth pastor of local church is no longer alive. The doctors believe it was his over-consumption of stimulant containing sports drinks that caused the otherwise healthy youth to pass away.
A patient of mine from the church came to me asking how this could happen and this was my explanation, which is theoretical but likely.
The regular consumption of high sugar drinks developed reactive hypoglycemia. This means that his sugar highs were followed by sugar lows which created very unstable energy levels (and cravings for more).
The high caffeine content stimulated his adrenal glands to produce epinephrine and nor-epinephrine (aka adrenaline and nor-adrenaline). These powerful sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) hormones caused vasoconstriction of blood vessels initially driving up blood pressure. They also suppressed ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) produced in the pituitary gland which caused dehydration. Hot weather and vigorous exercise generated massive sweat which increased his state of dehydration.
The combination of excitatory amino acids further stimulated the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis into broad hormonal hyper-function. Aldosterone (adrenal hormone) was forced to prop up blood pressure by retaining sodium in the kidney and to offset the decreased ADH production however, electrolytes were lost through excess sweating faster than the adrenal glands to retain them.
All of this created a short term "up" which likely made him feel like superman. When he went for the hike it was 110 degrees outside. After the "up" wore off, his system began to crash.
By this time he was hypoglycemic, dehydrated, and hypoadrenic. Normally in a crisis, the adrenal glands pump out powerful life saving hormones but his were entirely exhausted from the over stimulation. With Aldosterone and ADH wiped out, he also must have dropped to very low blood pressure and likely hypovolemic shock began to set in. B-vitamins are needed to burn sugars through the citric acid cycle but with high sugar consumption vitamin B deficiency set in which also affected heart function.
Once his system crashed he must have passed out and he never got back up.
These drinks are potent and can be dangerous if consumed excessively. This case may be an extreme example, but the first time I posted this it went viral and many healthcare professionals commented on how often they have seen it.
Pass this on. Create awareness.