Truly Buzzworthy: Natural Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are everywhere, there’s no doubt about it. From your local corner store to gas stations, major supermarkets and everything in between, you can find beverages that promise to give you a boost. They’ve even made their way into bars and clubs to give night-owls the stamina to party all night long. The energy drink industry was only worth $3.8 billion in 1999, and it has grown to about $53 billion in 2018. It is expected to reach over $86 billion by 2026.
These drinks were advertised as a cool alternative to coffee, promising more energy with added caffeine and often other additives such as taurine. Oftentimes they contain even more caffeine than the advertised amount, proclaiming to boost your brainpower and endurance. The key players in the market found strong partners in professional athletes and ties to a wide array of sports and public events, giving unassuming consumers the impression that these drinks were not only on-trend but even good for you. But is that really the case? Here’s the ugly truth on conventional energy drinks. But don’t worry, there are better natural alternatives!
What are energy drinks?
The term ‘energy drink’ can loosely be applied to refer to beverages that have a high concentration of a stimulant ingredient, most notably sugar and caffeine in conventional beverages. They may also contain other supplements such as carnitine or vitamins, and they are promoted as products that can enhance physical performance and mental alertness. The energy drink boom started in the 90s with a certain brand that promises to give the drinker wings - do you know who we’re talking about?
Energy drinks are often confused with sports drinks, but there are some key differentiators. Sports drinks are usually used to replace electrolytes and to hydrate after or during physical activity. In most cases, sports drinks contain fewer ingredients and tend to be decaffeinated. Sports drinks often contain minimal amounts of caffeine or no caffeine at all. Some energy drinks are marketed as dietary supplements if they contain food additives, such as amino acids or taurine.
Energy drink manufacturers make claims that their products enhance mental focus, physical performance, and boost energy levels. These claims are mainly attributed to high amounts of caffeine and sugar, neither of which are good for you in these highly concentrated amounts, combined with other yucky artificial flavours, dyes, and preservatives. Have you ever noticed that many of these drinks all tend to taste like rotten melted gummy bears? Pretty gross, if you ask us.
In recent years, public awareness of the potential negative effects of conventional energy drinks has greatly increased. Without any age restrictions on purchase and consumption, particularly the effects of these beverages on young people have become a larger health concern.
Potential adverse effects of conventional energy drinks
Can cause cardiac arrest
There is evidence that some people with underlying heart conditions have experienced cardiac arrest after consuming these drinks. Studies reveal that typical energy drinks can lead to more forceful heart conditions and could have adverse health effects on people with particular health conditions.
Another study shows that there is an increased risk of cardiac arrest among teenagers if they consume many energy drinks. The study advised teenagers not to drink more than one 250ml can per day, and it should never be during or before exercise. Furthermore, little is known about the developmental side-effects these drinks might have on young people. Another study conducted in 2016 showed that there was an increased rate of abnormal heart rhythm risk among people who drink these beverages. Another study revealed that within 90 minutes of consuming a 24-oz energy drink, the inner diameter of the arteries decreased by about 50%. Additional studies reveal that energy drinks can significantly increase blood pressure. Note to self: don’t drink this monstrous crap-in-a-can.
Can cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms
If you consume these drinks regularly, you may have found yourself craving “another fix” to keep you going on busy days. A few hours after you miss your daily dose of these artificial boosters, the withdrawal symptoms start to creep in. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include lethargy, headaches, irritability, sleepiness, depression, constipation, flu-like symptoms, lack of concentration, and muscle pains. Other symptoms include brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, heart rhythm abnormalities, and dizziness.
These symptoms are an unpleasant experience, and they could last up to two weeks just for light users. However, it can extend up to two months for hardcore consumers. Many people might not even associate their symptoms as signs of withdrawal, as consumption of these beverages has become so commonplace in society. Don’t you think it’s time to do something about that? We certainly do!
These drinks are like the junk-food of beverages. A quick and unsustainable fix of nasty chemicals - that certainly gives us anxiety! In all seriousness though, these drinks have been linked to increased anxiety.
While some people could experience increased energy levels, some people experience increased anxiety when they consume these drinks, sometimes even leading to full-blown panic attacks. Yeah, it’s definitely time for a worry-free healthy alternative.
Could cause insomnia
This one is probably quite a given, but these liquid health-busters can cause sleep issues, especially if you’re consuming them regularly. They can cause sleep dysfunctions, especially insomnia.
Insomnia can cause impaired functioning, and it could be dangerous to drive or conduct tasks that require a lot of concentration. Seriously, why is anyone still drinking this stuff?!
Can cause some chronic conditions
While most energy drinks claim that their sugar levels are zero, the products are often filled with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium. In mainstream energy drinks, the sugar and sweetener levels are often outrageous and have played a key role in the increasing number of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in many parts of Europe and North America.
The American Heart Association advises men not to take more than 36 grams (9 teaspoons) of refined sugar while women are advised not to take more than 24 grams (6 teaspoons) of refined sugar each day. However, many people take up to four times the recommended daily intake. Due to excessive refined sugar intake in the diet, people are experiencing health conditions such as obesity, early puberty in girls, type 2 diabetes, shorter lifespan, heart disease, tooth decay, cancer, and gum disease.
The Harvard School of Public Health explains that people who took more than one sugary and caffeinated drink were at a 16% increased risk of getting a stroke. Also, they had a 26% increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and a 35% higher risk of getting a fatal heart disease or a heart attack. At this point, we hope you’ve cleared your fridge of these ghastly liquids and crossed them off all future shopping lists.
Some of the ingredients could react negatively with your body
Mainstream energy drink companies have been cramming all types of ingredients into their near-poisonous potions. The excessive amounts of these ingredients that are way over the recommended daily amount (RDA) can raise your blood pressure, heart rate, and dehydrate your body.
Taurine is an amino acid naturally manufactured by the human body. However, the type found in energy drinks is synthetic. The human body usually makes enough taurine in the body, and it is not necessary to supplement it. Some researchers argue that the combination of caffeine and taurine causes stronger heart contractions that can cause heart issues in consumers.
Notably, when one takes more than 35mg of vitamin B3 (Niacin), you can experience flushing of the skin. When the amount exceeds 3000mg, it causes liver toxicity. The British Journal of Medicine conducted a study on a man who took about five energy drinks per day for 21 days. Vitamin B3 levels in his body reached toxic levels, and it led to non-viral hepatitis. Also, when you consume too much L-carnitine, you may experience insomnia, vomiting, restlessness, stuffy nose, nausea, indigestion, and headaches. Why would anyone voluntarily do this to themself? Yeah, we don’t get it either.
Linked to risky behaviours among teenagers
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) released a report that linked energy drinks with risky behaviour. One of the researchers associated it with “toxic jock” behaviour that involved aggressive and risky behaviour, such as violence, substance abuse, and otherwise poor decision making.
However, the study does not mean that energy drinks cause bad and risky behaviours. It is a red flag for parents that when their children start consuming many energy drinks, they are highly likely to take risks with their safety and health. Although the American Beverage Association says that companies do not market energy drinks to teenagers, claiming they mainly target people who can afford about two or three dollars to buy a drink and want to appear a certain way in their peer groups. And who succumbs the most to peer pressure? Probably teenagers and young adults, wouldn’t you say?
About 31% of children aged between 12 and 17 regularly consume artificial energy drinks. The American Academy of Paediatrics published a recommendation in 2011 stating that teenagers and children should not consume energy drinks because they can cause serious health effects in addition to developmental issues.
Why should you switch to natural energy drinks?
If the scary stats already covered didn’t convince you, then we certainly have a plethora of other reasons that should do the trick! The concept of natural energy drinks is not new, in fact, they have deep roots in many cultures, they just don’t use the media-popularized nomenclature. People have been drinking yerba mate, green tea, black tea, coffee, and other plant-derived beverages for physical and mental boosts for several centuries. Unlike mainstream energy drinks pumped full of artificial ingredients, and that are always accompanied by side effects, the main side effects of natural energy drinks are a healthier brain and body. We’ll take that over chemically laden artificial concoctions any day!
Natural energy drinks can boost neurotransmitter levels to boost motivation and mood. They have nutrients that tackle free radicals and offset the effects of cell damage and ageing.
Of course, not all-natural energy drinks are created the same, and growing consumer interest in these products means that there are a lot of unreliable beverages on the market that are full of false claims. Our founder, Rebekah Hall, noticed that too and that’s why she knew it was time to do something: to change the game by creating natural energy drinks using the power of botanicals, based on centuries of knowledge and tradition.
Do something - with Botanic Lab
Botanic Lab is on a mission to do something. What’s that, you ask? We’re glad you did. Amongst other things, we’re shaking the foundations of the energy drinks industry because it’s time for a change. People deserve drinks that they can trust to do something - to benefit their health and live their best lives, of course. Our drinks are infused with functional botanicals that will excite, calm, and energise you. They are all-natural, vegan, and utterly delicious if we do say so ourselves. We don’t like to brag, but we have won three industry awards for innovation in drinks in 2019, so we don’t seem to be the only ones who think so. We also believe in constant research and innovation to stay at the top of the ladder, and we were the first brand in Europe to create CBD botanical drinks. We may be a lab, but there is nothing artificial about our drinks. We believe that the only thing energy drinks should do is improve your overall health and wellbeing, and that’s why our drinks target your specific needs.
Our botanical ingredients
Botanicals are plants or plant parts such as juice, fibre, pulp, or tissues that are used in food supplements, personal care products, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals - they’re often referred to as phytomedicines and they are the foundation of modern-day medicine. The main botanicals you can find in our drinks are cannabidiol, damiana leaf, green tea, yerba mate, yuzu, jalapeno, and lemongrass.
Cannabidiol is one of the primary components of cannabis. CBD is the main ingredient in medical marijuana, and it is usually obtained from the hemp plant. CBD does not cause intoxication often associated with marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive agent that causes a user to be high or intoxicated.
CBD is believed to have several health benefits. One of the potential health benefits of CBD includes treating severe childhood epilepsy syndromes, including Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). Such syndromes do not normally respond to medications, but there is evidence that CBD can reduce the number of seizures or even stop the seizures in some cases. CBD has also been used to treat anxiety and depression, insomnia, and chronic pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Turnera diffusa or damiana is a low-growing plant with fragrant leaves and yellow flowers. It is native to the Caribbean, Central and South America, southern Texas, and Mexico. Damiana was used among indigenous tribes before the Spanish crossed the Atlantic. They mainly used it as a bladder tonic and aphrodisiac.
It is believed to treat various symptoms ranging from anxiety to diabetes in addition to boosting sexual health. However, there is a need for additional scientific evidence to prove the claims. The botanical is believed to enhance sexual stamina and arousal in both women and men.
We don’t just love green tea for its deep, earthy flavour, but also for its functional benefits. Green tea is prepared from unoxidized leaves of Camellia sinensis. It contains more polyphenols and antioxidants than other types of tea. The drink is native to India and China but it spread globally and has gained a lot of popularity in the US. Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world across a wide array of cultures. However, only less than 20% of the tea consumed globally is green tea.
Green tea is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve brain function, has properties said to reduce the risk of cancer, and could be beneficial in weight loss. It is thought to kill bacteria in the mouth, prevent type 2 diabetes, and help you live longer according to a study conducted in Japan - considering the high average life expectancy over there, we don’t doubt this to be true.
Yerba mate is an indigenous South American drink that is becoming popular among health enthusiasts. It has a rich cultural history in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, and is traditionally shared from a flask known as a bombilla. There’s a strong sense of community and ritual associated with drinking mate, and if you’re lucky enough to be offered a sip from the bombilla, you shouldn’t decline as it’s a sign of friendship - just don’t touch the straw, that’s a big no-no. Yerba mate is believed to release endorphins similar to chocolate, has the health benefits of tea, and the strength of coffee. Yerba mate tea is prepared from the twigs and leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant.
This botanical is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. It has even more antioxidants than green tea. It can improve mental focus and boost energy, enhance physical performance, protect against infections, and could help you lose weight. It can boost your immunity, lower blood sugar levels, lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, and boasts many other benefits.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit that is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and North America, especially among connoisseurs of East Asian cuisine. Yuzu is mainly cultivated in Japan, Korea, and China, originally emerging from China over 1000 years ago before being brought to other countries. It is popular in East Asian cuisines, and yuzu oil is often used in aromatherapy, perfume, and cosmetics.
The yuzu fruit is rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Some of its potential health effects include improving blood flow and improving brain function. It is said to help with improving bone health, reduces cholesterol, prevents cardiovascular conditions, boosts immunity, and it’s long been believed to have anti-ageing properties as well. Sounds like our kind of fruit!
Yuzu fruits are small and potent, packed with flavour, so they should be treated with care as not to overpower other ingredients. We went through many delicious rounds of trial and error to perfect not only the taste of our drinks but also to give you the optimum nutrients and benefits. You can thank us later.
You’ve probably tasted or at least heard of jalapeño peppers, but did you know that they’re categorized as fruits and that they’re not just delicious but also ultra nutritious? Jalapeños originated in Mexico, but can now be found all over the world. Other names for jalapeño include huanchinango, cuaresmeno, and chile gordo. They’re just the right level of spicy, they get your taste buds going without setting fire to your mouth.
This might come as a surprise, but eating one jalapeño is equivalent to 28% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. Jalapeños also contain vitamins B6, K, A, and folate. They contain minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, potassium, and magnesium which provide overall health benefits. Jalapeños can boost your metabolism and reduce hunger in addition to lowering blood pressure, relieving pain, and improving digestion.
Jalapeño peppers are not just a great pizza topping, they are also a great way to literally and figuratively spice up your drinks, which is why we love them.
Mmm, just hearing the name of this fragrant herb transports us to a relaxing spa in a tropical climate. Cymbopogon citratus, more commonly known as lemongrass, is a tall and perennial grass that is native to the subtropical and tropical climates of Australia, Asia, and Africa. India is the primary producer of lemongrass globally. It has been part of herbal medicines for centuries and is also used in cooking in Vietnamese and Thai cuisines.
It is believed to prevent the growth of some yeast and bacteria. Lemongrass has strong antioxidant properties, reduces fever, regulates cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood, and stimulates the uterus and menstrual flow, so it’s a great natural support for the ladies. On top of all its health benefits, lemongrass adds a delectable aroma and fragrant exotic flavour too - it perfectly complements the other ingredients found in our Latin Lover drink.
Feel good with Botanic Lab
Our drinks are all 100% natural, vegan, and low in calories. We keep our word and don’t make empty claims like so many others on the market. Our drinks deliver on their promises because we don’t want to be just another run-of-the-mill wellness brand. We want real results with real benefits, which is why we’re pioneering a revolution. It’s not just about what’s on the inside, we also care about ethical sourcing and packaging, which is why we use recyclable aluminium cans and continuously research cleaner, environmentally friendly alternatives.
Our series of natural energy drinks all come in 250ml cans that can be ordered in packs of 24. We also have a ‘Try Me’ set for those of you who want to dip your toes in the water before committing.
Yin Yang Yuzu
Get sippin’ and let your mind slip as fragrant yuzu dances with bitter orange notes in a sea of green tea. The perfect synergy between invigorating and calming, this drink is true to its name - told ya, we don’t do empty promises! There’s no telling what the day will bring, so bring yourself into balance and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way.
If you’re not familiar with the firecracker in our lineup, we highly suggest that you give it a shot. A Botanic Lab fan favourite, Latin Lover combines the power of yerba mate with a kiss of lemongrass and a cheeky lick of jalapeño - a combination you’re bound to remember as this drink propels you into your day full of energy. The vibrant flavours are just as refreshing as the botanicals that they come from and will have you dreaming of hot nights in Havana.
Shop Now and experience the amazing power of our natural energy drinks that will uplift your mind, body, and spirit.