Energy drinks continue to attract consumers to down cans of the stuff increasingly, even with a less than good reputation. They have to be one of the most stocked items in stores across the world. Though they seem to be the most popular with adolescents and college students, adults are turning to them as well. Bill Laitner discusses this in a report this week. Laitner found that adults might grab an energy drink or two when they aren’t able to get coffee, or to augment the effects of the caffeine in coffee. It does appear that the effects of caffeine in coffee mellow out as the body gets used to dealing with it. The jolt we got from three daily cups now doesn’t appear until after four cups. So some adults will drink an energy drink to fill that void and experience the rush. Unfortunately such use has its own price. Studies show that energy drinks can elevate blood pressure along with causing the rush, whereas coffee does not do the same. In some instances, when the drinker isn’t used to coffee, it might elevate the BP, but this is temporary. Additionally, energy drinks pack in a lot of sugar and other elements that might not be healthy; in fact, the sugar adds to the jolt and energy-upping sensations. Sugar highs are known to lead to a big energy letdown when it wears off, leaving the person more tired in the long run. So what is up with caffeine? Is it different in coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks? Scientists state that caffeine is caffeine and it’s the same compound whether one ingests it from chocolate, tea, coffee or cola. That is, the molecular formula that defines caffeine is always the same, or it ceases to be caffeine. Yet it affects different people differently, and it even affects an individual differently depending on the source. These interactions are still being investigated and coffee vs. caffeine investigation is showing researchers new things as studies continue. It’s a fascinating study because coffee is being found to have more health benefits every year. On the other hand, caffeinated drinks, such as energy drinks, are being found to be more problematic as their use continues. Caffeine by itself as used in research affects the body differently than the same amount when the source is coffee or tea. With tea, an amino acid has been identified which affects the way the caffeine is absorbed. Coffee has so many other compounds and substances in it that all could be having an effect on how its caffeine affects the body. One thing researches DO know is that there are many anti-oxidants in coffee which do great things for health. It’s possible these very anti-oxidants get the credit for enabling the caffeine to be broken down without the negative effects it has in other beverages such as energy drinks. However it works, coffee makes us feel better and stay alert while providing nutrients as well. You gotta love it.