Friday, August 21, 2009
People who drink more than two quarts of cola per day may induce severe and possibly fatal potassium deficiency, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Ioannina, Greece, and published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
“We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before, and a number of health issues have already been identified including tooth problems, bone demineralization and the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes,” researcher Moses Elisaf said. “Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalemia, in which the blood potassium levels fall, causing an adverse effect on vital muscle functions.”
Researchers reviewed the cases of several patients who had consumed between two and 10 quarts of cola per day, including two pregnant women. One of these, a 21-year-old who drank as much as three quarts per day, was admitted to the hospital for persistent vomiting, fatigue and appetite loss. The other was admitted after drinking seven quarts per day for 10 months and suffering from progressive weakening of her muscles.
Both women recovered after they stopped drinking cola and were treated with intravenous or oral potassium.
Potassium plays a critical role in the functioning of the body’s nerves, muscles and heart. Critical deficiency like that experienced by the patients in the University of Ioannina study can lead to cramping, paralysis, irregular heartbeat and even death. In one of the cases studied, a man suffered lung paralysis after drinking 10 quarts per day.
The researchers believe that both caffeine and sugar contributed to the observed potassium deficiency.
In an accompanying editorial, Clifford D. Packer at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Cleveland warned, “There is very little doubt that tens of millions of people in industrialized countries drink at least 2-3 [quarts] of cola per day. The soft drink industry needs to promote safe and moderate use of its products for all age groups, reduce serving sizes, and pay heed to the rising call for healthier drinks.”
This article was posted: Friday, August 21, 2009 at 4:21 am