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Real World Limitless: Energy Supplements

By Anna Dehnke
28 Oct 2015

The struggle to decide whether to sleep or study is real for college students across the country. Many students opt to study instead of sleep, which sometimes requires the help of energy supplementation. This supplementation can come in many forms; the most common are pills or caffeinated drinks.

Maggie Fox discusses some of the adverse effects of these and other supplements in a recent article on NBC News Online. According to the study discussed in this article, 71.8% of all supplemental-related emergency room visits were due to weight-loss or energy supplements. Not only are these supplemental materials causing some extreme adverse effects, there are also reports of findings of prescription drug materials within these supposedly “natural” supplements. These issues raise some important questions as to whether the use or recommendation of these products should be encouraged among the public.

Based on the findings in the study discussed in Fox’s article, some may argue that the risks associated with supplements, especially weight-loss and energy supplements, are too dangerous to allow any person to take them. Because these adverse effects have directly affected so many Americans, there is plenty of evidence to support the argument against the use of supplements. When supplement labels do not include the prescription drugs included within the product, there is no way to know specific risks associated with the unmentioned drugs. Those who argue against the use of supplements would argue that these newly discovered risk factors make the consumption of supplements not worth the potential benefits.

There are several groups of people who may argue that the benefits of supplements out weight the risks associated with them. Students struggling to stay awake in order to complete schoolwork are most likely among some of the strongest supporters of energy supplementation. Because of our busy schedules, many students find energy supplements to be the only way to effectively and efficiently complete work that is essential for success in our classes. The use of energy supplementation on college campuses is commonplace, so students may arguably become desensitized to the potential risks associated with the use of and potential prescription drugs included within energy supplements.

It is interesting to consider the safety of supplements while taking into account the recent findings discussed in Fox’s article. Are the unknown prescription drugs included in these supplements essential for the expected effects or should they be eliminated? Should students continue to consume energy supplements in order to complete required schoolwork?

Anna graduated from DePauw University in 2016 with a major in Biology and a minor in Spanish. With a passion for working with animals, specifically horses, she is pursuing a career in animal welfare.
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