*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on ScienceBlog.
New research may cause parents to think twice before letting their kids drink energy drinks or grande lattes.
A University of Colorado Boulder study published in a recent edition of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology suggests that consumption of caffeine puts adolescents at risk of suffering anxiety-related jitters long after they stop ingesting it.
Anxiety disorders are typically characterized by chronic anxiety or exaggerated worry and tension when not warranted by circumstances. These conditions can also be linked to major psychiatric disorders.
The study found that adolescent rats hydrated with caffeinated water developed behaviors indicating anxiety disorders – even after the caffeine was removed from the water. And they did so at an alarming rate.
In addition, researchers found that levels of plasma corticosterone – a stress-related hormone produced by rodents’ adrenal glands – remained high even after the caffeine diet was stopped. In fact, levels of the stress hormone rose dramatically 24 hours after caffeine was eliminated and persisted for an additional week.
Concerns about the impacts of energy drinks on young brains – not to mention other impacts including high blood pressure and arrhythmia – prompted at least one college to ban them. A student and faculty committee at Vermont’s Middlebury College eliminated campus sales, saying energy drinks promoted poor academic environments and elevated student stress.
The new study also suggests that caffeine consumption during adolescent development “may increase vulnerability to the development of psychiatric disorders.”