Newswise — A Queens pediatrician  Dr. Arkadiy Takhalov recently issued a  health warning on sugar based sports drinks and caffeine rich energy drinks taking a stance against the over consumption of sports drinks in teenagers.

This stance comes on the heels of reports that  an increasing number of children are drinking energy drinks and being hospitalized due to intolerence.

Dr. Arkadiy Takhalov believes parents should take a stricter stance  with their teenagers when it comes to the consumption of sports drinks and makes it an important part of his talks with parents, especially those that are particularly active in school sports.   

He believes that parents should understand the inherent risks associated with consumption of sports drinks and energy drinks and that there are  worrying amounts of caffeine and sugar that can have adverse health effects.

 There have been reports of children as young as 6 years old turning up in emergency rooms with dangerously high blood pressure, abnormal heart rythyms, seizures and high blood pressure all attributable to sports drink consumption.

Dr. Nonna Rivkin and Dr. Myron Beer , two pediatricians at Dr. T's Pediatrics in Queens who work alongside Dr. Takhalov share the same concerns and  warn against sports drinks that contain pharmaceutical grade caffeine as well as additional caffeine from natural sources. This can cause a childs heart to race and blood pressure to skyrocket. They are also concerned about the levels of sugar that these sports drinks contain. 

“Many of these energy based drinks contain around 150 -240 mg of caffeine with some actually being as high as 400 to 500 mg in a can or bottle. By comparison a cup of coffee contains 150 mg. This is an extreme amount of caffeine for a teenager. Even for an adult.” says Dr. Myron Beer.

Dr. Arkadiy Takhalov cites a 2011 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics which says that children do not need energy drinks and rarely need sports drinks. The report found that energy drinks contain substances that are not found in sports drinks. These substances act as stimulants and can include caffeine, guarana and taurine. Caffeine which is the most used stimulant in these energy drinks has been linked to an increasing number of harmful health effects in children. These can include effects on a childs neurologialc and cardiovascular systems.

Dr. Nonna Rivkin a pediatrician in Forest Hills, Queens for over 30 years and who is presently one of four pediatricians at Dr. T’s Pediatrics cites the recent death of a 16 in South Carolina a a warning to parents to be more strict and more vigilant . The 16 year old male drank a mountain dew, a coffee and an energy drink all within 40 minutes and later died.

‘The over consumption of caffeine triggered an cardiac event in this individual. This is becoming an increasing problem and we would like to advise our parents here at Dr. T. Pediatrics that water is the best hydration for teenagers who are exerting themselves on the playing fields and who should stay clear of caffeine based energy drinks. The sale of sports drinks to children is so serious and poses such a health risk that a South Carolina state representative has begun to push a bill to ban the sale of energy drinks to anyone under the age of 18. It is just a matter of times before we see more tragic cases and more regulation.”

 

It is important to note that the (AAP) American Academy of Pediatricians recommendations include:

Pediatricians should highlight the difference between sports drinks and energy drinks with patients and their parents, and talk about the potential health risks. Energy drinks pose potential health risks because of the stimulants they contain, and should never be consumed by children or adolescents. Routine ingestion of carbohydrate-containing sports drinks by children and adolescents should be avoided or restricted, because they can increase the risk of overweight and obesity, as well as dental erosion.Sports drinks have a limited function for pediatric athletes; they should be ingested when there is a need for rapid replenishment of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes in combination with water during prolonged, vigorous physical activity.Water, not sports drinks, should be the principal source of hydration for children and adolescents.

Dr. Takhalov, as well as warning against the cardiac risks also sees it having an influnce on childhood obesity, due to the large amount of sugar in energy and sports bases drinks. He adds that he seen one sports drink with as much as 76g of sugar which he believes is an extreme amount of sugar.

"We already have a diabetes crisis in the US and an increasing number of children are becoming diabetic. We must do more to educate our children about the dangers of sugar consumption and sports and energy drinks is a great place to start."

 Dentists are also warning against the increase in children drinking sport drinks. David Pinkhasov, DDS of Right Family Dental in the Bronx says that everday in the street on hot summer days and when he is driving home he says he sees kids drinking sports drinks everyhere. 

"The affect on your teeth from drinking these drinks has an effect on your enamel and causes dental caries. Some sports drink have around 14-20g of sugar per bottle. As well as the inherent risk of dental caries, there is also the risk of diabetes and as we now know diabetics have a terrible time with gum disease as it can lead to severe tooth loss. It is time to educate our children about the effects of these high sugar content sports and energey drinks."

 

Jim Sarji, DDS a dentist in Park Slope has further advice for patients that drink these drinks. 

" You are receiving no flouride in these drinks and there is no better source of flouride than tap water. Dental caries is cause by the bacterial fermentation of dietary carbohydrates and these drinks are sugar loaded."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a report in 2011 that is still relevant today, educating parents about the dangers of sports drinks. It can be reed here http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/6/1182 

Dr. Aleksandr Dayanayev, a dentist in Astoria  at Steinway Family Dental Center believes we are in the middle of a health crisis when it comes to young people drinking 'sugar based sports drinks' and he has made it part of his dental treatment regimen to educate young people about the dangers of sports drinks and the effect on their teeth.

" Lets forget about the the huge amounts of caffeine in some of these drinks for a minute and concentrate on the 'sugar'. Some of these drinks contain 8 teaspoons of sugar and are marketed as "healthy". My partner Albert Malakov, DDS and I are amazed at the amount of consumption of sports drinks when we ask patients. It is a vicious circle as it damages your teeth, and over time you are running the risk of becoming diabetic. This is when the real problems start. Periodontal disease is a major disease that diabetics are prone to and the existence of it exacerbates the diabetic condition. People need to realize just how much sugar they are consuming."

A Chicago based marketing research firm Information Resources recently published an article about the $6.6B a year industry, claiming that most people, even your average jogger do not need these sports drinks.   

Arkadiy Takhalov, M.D. is a pediatrician in Forest Hills  at Dr. T. Pediatrics. David Pinkhasov, D.D.S. is a cosmetic and general dentist at Right Family Dental P.C. in the Bronx. Aleksandr Dayanayev, D.D.S. is a cosmetic and general dentist at Steinway Family Dental Center PLLC, along with Albert Malakov, D.D.S. Jim Sarji, D.D.S. is a cosmetic and general dentist at Advanced General Dentistry of Park Slope.