So, the latest thing, it seems, is the practice of mixing alcohol with energy drinks. Obviously, it is clear why one would want to do that. Staying out all night partying until the sun comes up is fuckin’ badass, BUT maybe, just maybe, you might want to reconsider the energy drink side of it. However, in no way are we going to advocate not staying up all night partying in and of itself because that’s still just awesome.
We all saw what happened with the rise and fall of Four Loko, and although it was mourned heavily, perhaps the government had an adequate reason for pulling it from shelves? Let’s take a look at what happens when you try and cheat the laws of booze and avoid that sleepy daze that comes when you’ve been going HAM for too long.
Alcohol and Energy Drinks (RedBull, Four Loko, Sparx etc.)
Every heard of Chris Farley? Yeah, mother freakin’ Beverly Hills Ninja himself. Chris Farley died from a drug “overdose” caused by a practice known as “speed-balling.” It sounds like a fun game you might play at a carnival, but on the contrary it is dangerous practice of mixing two distinct classes of drug, stimulants and depressants. When you drink alcohol mixed with energy drinks YOU are essentially speed-balling because caffeine is a stimulant, and alcohol is very much a depressant.
Your first point of argument to defend your favorite sugary-nightmare of a beverage might be to suggest that Chris Farley was on some serious opiates and cocaine, which are extreme versions of both depressants and stimulants, but you would be wrong to think that caffeine and alcohol are any less dangerous when mixed together. The effect of caffeine when drinking is to make the user feel less intoxicated by the depressants. Ordinarily your body would start to get sleepy and possibly even non-responsive (if you are WAY drunk) when you attempt to walk or move appropriately. BUT, caffeine counters these effects allowing you to feel more alert and “sober,” which with your standard college binge -rinker means “time to drink more.”
To drink more would be a serious, serious mistake. At a certain point, alcohol stops just making a person intoxicated and doing liver damage and starts to do SERIOUS cellular damage to all parts of the body. Your blood stops being efficient at oxygenating muscles and tissues, and the alcohol itself contributes to killing cells (especially brain-cells). At this point you can risk brain-damage, and even death. For this reason you might want to avoid the Caffeine.
Alcohol and 5 Hour Energy
Ever heard the phrase less is more? What about too much of a good thing can be a bad thing? Well aside from the fact that generally both of those idioms are sweepingly true about alcohol on its own, it DEFINITELY applies when it comes to alcohol AND 5 Hour Energy. Personally, I had never heard of people actually mixing these two until recently when I heard of some frat brothers cooking up a vat of punch with multiple cases of the stuff. So, what goes down when you mix 5 Hour with Whiskey Sour?
So, we already know about the caffeine now, but there is a lot of debate about the effects of B-vitamins on the liver, and research has not really conclusively proven anything, but a good general rule of thumb is that when it comes to vitamins, take a minimum. The FDA suggested daily dose is usually quite arbitrary, and the simple fact is, your body does not need, and will not use most of the vitamins you take, and this means that one of two things will happen. Excess vitamins will either be excreted through your urine (the case with most water-soluble vitamins), or they will be stored in your liver (the case with many fat-soluble vitamins). Fortunately, most B- vitamins (the ones present in 5 Hour Energy) are water soluble.
But still, your liver and kidneys are responsible for working hard to filter and remove these agents from the blood-stream, and this is where the complications occur. Your liver works hard to metabolize the alcohol; it has what’s called an “alcohol preference” which means that when alcohol is present the liver tends to focus on metabolizing that stuff first to prevent cellular damage and because there is no place for alcohol to be stored in the body like proteins, fats, or carbohydrates. This means that most of the vitamins taken from drinking the 5 Hour Energy are going to stay in your body for much longer than they need to and continue to pile-up. For THIS reason, 5 Hour Energy is probably a terrible idea, because studies HAVE shown that in aggressively large doses B-vitamins CAN be detrimental to organ health.
Alcohol and Adderall!?!?
Just don’t do it. Caffeine is bad enough, but adding what is essentially a stable version of Meth to your debauchery can only lead down a bad road. You might have taken Adderall and gone out drinking before to no negative conclusion, but I am willing o bet that you fucked up your body WAY more than you might have realized, and if not maybe you have great self-control and are the exception not the rule. But when stupid sorority girls are ending up hospitalized from Four Loko, it is probably a good idea for them never to even go near Adderall.