‘Coffee stops vitamin pills working’
*Energy drinks mask alcohol’s effects, increases injury risk
*Swallowing tablets with cup of caffeine wipes out all benefits
People who mix highly caffeinated energy drinks with their alcoholic beverages may be at increased risk for injury, according to a review in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Also, researchers claim swallowing vitamin supplements with tea or coffee can wipe out all the good they do. Experts said the heat in the drinks can dramatically reduce the effects of tablets, and even kill the ‘friendly’ bacteria in probiotic foods such as yoghurts.
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC), in Canada, searched for peer-reviewed journal articles on the topic of alcohol and energy drinks published from 1981 to 2016 and found 13 that fit their criteria and were able to be analyzed. Of those studies, 10 showed evidence of a link between the use of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) and an increased risk of injury compared to drinking alcohol only. The study classified injuries as unintentional (such as falls or motor vehicle accidents) and intentional (such as fights or other physical violence).
“The stimulant effects of caffeine mask the result that most people get when they drink,” says lead study author Audra Roemer, M.Sc. “Usually when you’re drinking alcohol, you get tired and you go home. Energy drinks mask that, so people may underestimate how intoxicated they are, end up staying out later, consume more alcohol, and engage in risky behavior and more hazardous drinking practices.” AmED use is increasingly common across North America, the researchers say, either as premixed drinks sold in liquor stores or by combining the two beverages by hand (Red Bull and vodka is a common example).
Roemer says she became interested in the topic while reading research on the effects of alcohol and cocaine. “Cocaine is obviously a strong stimulant, and I was curious about lower level stimulants that are more socially acceptable,” she says. “I wondered if they were having a similar impact but to a lesser degree.”
Three of the studies looked at whether risk-taking or sensation-seeking tendencies play a role in injuries associated with AmED use.
Meanwhile, a University of East Anglia study found that hot drinks and food such as porridge inhibit the absorption of iron by up to 73 per cent. Around 46 per cent of British adults take daily vitamin supplements, and 70 per cent of those who do take them with breakfast.
Now experts suggest waiting at least an hour before consuming hot food or drink after taking tablets.
Dr. Sarah Brewer, a General Practitioner (GP) and medical nutritionist, said: ‘I don’t advise taking probiotics, vitamin or mineral supplements with tea or coffee.
These drinks contain compounds, which, although beneficial at other times, also bind iron and other minerals to reduce their absorption. “In fact, coffee can reduce iron absorption by up to 80 per cent if drunk within an hour of a meal. Very hot drinks can also inactivate some vitamins, and kill live probiotic bacteria.”
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