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The Science of Energy Drinks
Written exclusively for Xyience.com (Manzen, LLC) by ChristinasFitness.com, 2012

It’s no secret that millions of people rely on an extra boost of energy to get through their day nowadays… and it’s no secret that virtually everyone is on some sort of serious workout regimen and is taking some kind of stimulant supplement in the form of a drink or capsule, before or during their workouts.

There’s good reason for this! Mental focus and physical ability can be directly influenced by ingredients that are prevalent in effective energy drinks. Caffeine, Taurine, L-Carnetine, Ginseng Extract, Yerba Mate and B-Vitamins are all examples of ingredients you can expect to find in a reputable energy drink.

But what do all these fancy words mean? Are these things safe to take? Even seasoned gym-goers may not know all there is to know about some of these ingredients, and I think we all agree on one thing: We should know what we consume!

Ingredients of an Energy Drink: The Balancing Act

Not all energy drinks are created equal, and this is a very important note to notate (you like that?). Ingredients used to create an effective, safe, and nutritionally friendly energy drink are, unfortunately, not abundant in today’s most available options that you’d find in your local grocery store.

Sure, they might be marketed as so, and even designed to grab your attention, but it is important to know what you’re consuming. You absolutely want to avoid high sugar content and high fructose corn syrup – your waist line will thank you for not making it a WASTE line! So, let’s get into 3 very important ingredients to look for:

Caffeine: Made famous by coffee and sodas, caffeine is a substance that powers and accelerates energy levels almost instantly. It works by stimulating the central nervous system, causing a heightened sense of alertness, and rise in overall energy levels. This, of course, can lead to much more powerful and focused workouts.

Taurine: Taurine is an amino acid that is found naturally in meats and fish. It supports neurological development and is thought to also have antioxidant properties. Studies have suggested that Taurine supplementation can help aid in overall athletic performance, and is usually combined with other ingredients to help maximize this effect.

This nutrient assists the body in converting fat into energy. It is produced by the liver and kidneys, and stored in muscles and other organs. Interestingly, in 2011, researchers from The Journal of Physiology conducted a well-controlled study using L-Carnetine supplementation for six months, demonstrating not only increased muscle Carnetine storage in individuals without Carnetine deficiencies, but also an impact on muscle metabolism and performance. More excitingly, a 2004 study by the University of Rostock in Germany concluded that L-Carnetine supplementation led to a significant increase in fat oxidation without an effect on protein synthesis and breakdown rates.

To sum it up, these 3 ingredients are in my opinion, the most important ones to look for when looking for the right energy drink. Whether you’re trying to get your day started, heading into work, or trying to blast through your workout routine with maximum force and endurance, finding these 3 ingredients in an energy drink is a sure-fire route to choosing the right option.

As far as wings go, well, you’re going to have to hop in an airplane to get those things.

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