Have we become a nation of energy-boosting addicts? Sure, most of us drink caffeinated coffee to get a little lift, but now we’re spending more than $12.5 billion a year on energy drinks, shots, and drink mixes — 60 percent more than we spent in 2008. No wonder energy drink makers are so eager to keep their products on shelves despite wrongful death lawsuits and harsh warning letters from federal health officials, members of Congress, and consumer watchdog groups.
Last Thursday the US Food and Drug Administration issued a harsh warning against energy drinks and supplements containing the stimulant dimethylamylamine (DMAA), telling consumers to stay away from it while adding that the agency was “using all available tools at its disposal” to ensure that it’s no longer sold. The agency was prompted by 60 reports of serious conditions such as heart attacks, seizures, psychiatric problems, and deaths associated with DMAA use.