A doctor has warned against giving children Prime energy drinks - here's why.
The Prime drink, which was launched by English YouTuber KSI and American YouTuber Logan Paul last year, has become popular and has been flying off the shelves. There are two products for sale – Prime hydration and Prime energy.
But many may not realise that the latter should not be consumed by children under the age of 18. This is stated on the Prime website.
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The energy version of Prime isn't officially sold in major supermarkets in the UK yet, but some smaller corner shops have been selling them. However, from April they are set to be more widely available in the UK, reports The Mirror.
A doctor has now issued a warning to parents about the drink's high caffeine content. Prime energy contains a whopping 200mg of caffeine, compared to 86.4mg in a can of Monster Energy.
Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, told The Mirror: "I would not recommend children drink Prime energy drinks or other energy drinks for children of any age. Children don't need energy drinks anyway – they have plenty of energy!
"If your child is lacking in energy take them to see their GP, do not give them an energy drink. It encourages them to want sweet drinks, when plain water is the answer and helps them develop a sweet tooth which is not good for the future in terms of a healthy diet and controlling their weight."
There are a number of reasons why young children shouldn't have caffeine, including the fact that it can become addictive. Dr Lee said: "Children are actively growing, and their brain, nervous system and heart function and development are crucial for their future health. Caffeine acts at all these sites and it would be unwise to recommend any substances which could have any deleterious effect."
It can also interfere with sleep, which children need plenty of. She added: "Caffeine results in an increased need to pass urine, so will not help at school with more trips to the toilet and could contribute to bed wetting."
On the FAQ section of the brand's website, it states: "PRIME Energy contains 200mg of caffeine, per 12 oz. can. PRIME Energy is not recommended for children under the age of 18, women who are pregnant or nursing or individuals who are sensitive to caffeine." However, the "PRIME Hydration and PRIME Hydration+ Sticks are caffeine-free."
Although it's not easy to find all the ingredients online, Dr Lee also notes that there are other things to consider when deciding whether to buy your children a Prime drink. She said: "Dipotassium phosphate is an artificial flavour enhancer and preservative which is said to be safe for consumption but can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and constipation."
Prime is marketed as zero sugar and low calorie, but it's got sucralose, which is an "artificial sweetener which has been shown to alter the gut microbiome and increase levels of systemic inflammation".
Dr Lee also notes that there is added zinc, and said: "Most children do not need zinc supplements – it is readily obtained from the diet. This can cause symptoms too, such as vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches."
The doctor added that Prime is made from coconut water, which is "full of electrolytes (sodium and potassium)" but "again, children obtain plenty of these from their diet. They do not need any extra from an energy drink. What they need during the day is plenty of good old-fashioned, water."
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