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Prime drinks are not suitable for children and pregnant women. This is why


Prime drinks have been heavily promoted in Australia, leading to crazy sales also in supermarkets banned in schools.

Prime offers two products: one is marketed as a “hydration drink”, the other as an “energy drink”. The latter comes with one warning it is not suitable for people under the age of 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women and is not legally sold in stores in Australia.

But both drinks can pose problems for those under the age of 18 and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What’s in Prime Energy?

Prime Energy contains 200 milligrams of caffeine per can, which equates to about two to three instant coffee. This caffeine content is about double what it is legally allowed for products sold in Australia.

Despite its name, Prime Energy drink contains only about 40 kilojoules of carbohydrates, one of our body’s main sources of energy. The “energy” in Prime Energy refers to the caffeine, which makes you feel more alert and reduces the perceived exertion of the work you are doing.

Caffeine does provide performance benefits for athletes over the age of 18. Given the large amounts in the drinks, there may be better ways to get caffeine in more appropriate doses.

Read more: Can coffee improve your workout? The science of caffeine and exercise

Caffeine is a concern during pregnancy

Health guidelines recommend restrictive caffeine intake during pregnancy and while breastfeeding to less than 200 mg per day.

Theoretically, this drink alone, with 200mg of caffeine per can, should be enough. But in practice, diets contain many other sources of caffeine, including coffee, tea, chocolate and cola drinks. Consumption of these in addition to energy drinks would raise intakes above this safety threshold for pregnant women.


Why is Caffeine a Problem for Fetuses and Babies?

Caffeine can cross the placenta and enter the bloodstream of the growing fetus. Fetuses cannot break down the caffeine, so it remains in their bloodstream.

As the pregnancy progresses, so does the mother slower at clearing caffeine of her metabolism. This may expose the fetus to caffeine for longer.

Studies have shown that high caffeine intake is associated with growth restriction, reduced birth weight, premature birth and stillbirth. Some experts say so no safe limit of caffeine intake during the pregnancy.

With breastfeeding, caffeine passes into breast milk. It remains in the baby’s bloodstream, as they cannot metabolize it. Evidence shows that caffeine can make babies more crampy and irritable and less likely to sleep.

What about children?

Children also have a limited ability to break down caffeine. Combined with their lighter body weight, a caffeine-based drink will have a more pronounced effect.

As such, safe caffeine levels are determined by weight: 3 mg per kg of body weight per day. For example, children aged 9 to 13 who weigh no more than 40 kg should not consume more than 120 mg of caffeine per day. Those between 14 and 17 years of age who weigh less than 60 kg should not exceed 180 mg per day.

Studies have shown higher intakes increase the risk of heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath and fainting. This may reflect underlying cardiac arrhythmias, which have ended in some cases children and teenagers present to the hospital’s emergency department.

Read more: Should teens taking ADHD, anxiety and depression drugs consume energy drinks and coffee?

What about Prime Hydrate, which contains no caffeine?

This drink contains branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, which are promoted by the supplement industry as an aid in gaining muscle mass. There are three BCAAs: valine, leucine and isoleucine.

However, there is no evidence that they provide any benefit. As such, the Australian Institute of Sport has concluded that they are not an effective supplement for athletes.

Supplements are generally not recommended children or pregnant women because they have not been tested in these groups.

There is also concern about the impact of BCAAs and how they may affect fetal growth. a scientific animal study altered growth patterns in fetal mice.

No human studies have studied BCAA and fetal growth, so research needs to be done before making recommendations to pregnant women. They should avoid these ingredients for lack of evidence.

Likewise, these supplements have not been tested in children under the age of 18, so there is no guarantee of their safety.

Performance-enhancing sports supplements are not recommended for children and adolescents as they are still developing physically, refining and improving their sporting skills.

Children run
Children should not take performance-enhancing supplements.

What does science say about BCAA?

Scientists have studied how BCAA affects adults. Circulating BCAA can and so can affect carbohydrate metabolism in muscle change insulin sensitivity. BCAAs are elevated in adults with diet-induced obesity and are associated with increased future risk of type 2 diabeteseven when scientists account for other basic risk factors.

Adults with obesity and insulin resistance were found to have higher levels of BCAA. Emerging evidence suggests obese children and adolescents also have higher levels of BCAA, which may predict future insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes.

However, we do not yet know whether these elevated levels of BCAA in the blood are the result of being overweight or obese, or whether it plays a role in the development of overweight or obesity.

Read more: Do Athletes Really Need Protein Supplements?

The bottom line is that we have clear evidence that caffeine is problematic for children and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. And there’s mounting evidence that BCAA can also be problematic.

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