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Originally, I was going to write about Advocare's higher paid distributors. The segment was going to be titled “where are they now”. Somehow I get the feeling they do not stay wealthy for very long. But that will have to wait for another day.
As I began to research for the other article I started to come across information pertaining to the energy drink spark. Some of the information I read was really concerning. For instance, if you go to this website you will see that some women are considering using the spark energy drink while pregnant. I have spent the past couple of months or so writing a book about domestic violence and alcohol. Part of the book covers the negative effects of alcohol on the brain of the fetus. That is when I started wondering what effects, if any, caffeine would have on the fetus.
So, I started thinking to myself, what does the product label suggest. That is when I turned to the Advocare website and read the spark product label. The label clearly tells the reader anyone that is pregnant should consult a healthcare physician prior to consuming the spark energy drink, and you should, and I quote "keep it out of reach of children". Does that include the ones in the womb as well? As usual, I like to take on a question like this using research. I would use Advocare's research but they never seem to provide any. Go ahead and click here but nothing has changed on their website since my last article. I found a research article that linked caffeine intake while pregnant to low birth weights. The good new is that a cup of coffee a day may not be a problem for most women. I am not so sure that would include a spark energy drink, but I will work up to that. According to the March of Dimes website low birth weight means a baby is born under 5 pounds 8 ounces, and can lead to some serious health risk for some babies. But I am going to be honest with you, I am not as concerned with the caffeine as I am with other ingredients found in spark. Women have been drinking caffeine for years. I would be concerned with ingredients such as Niacin, and Sucralose (so new, even the spell check does not recognize it). I probably could find more but I will just address those for now. Let me start with the sucralose.
I know what most people are thinking. Sucralose was approved by the FDA. Well, I guess if you trust the FDA that much then you have nothing to worry about, and you should stop reading. For those that want to know the truth about sucralose, then please, read on. The aforementioned ingredient was approved by the FDA back in 1998. That means that sucralose has only been on the US market for 17 years. If it makes anyone feel better we can say 18 years. If you take into consideration the time it takes for a product to hit the market and become popular, you would come to the conclusion that the product is still in its infancy. Well, at least I would come to that conclusion. If you go to the FDA website you will see that they used 113 animal studies, and a non documented amount of human studies. Sort of reminds me of Advocare. Approve something for use but do not provide the research to back it up. I am not saying it does not exist, they just do not provide it for reading on their website.
Unfortunately there were only two studies reviewed by the FDA that involved humans. If you go to Google books you will be able to read all about sucralose. The author believes that sucralose has never been proven safe and effective for its intended use by any human studies. The longest human study according to the aforementioned website and Mercola.com was 4 days and it pertained to tooth decay. Both websites also indicate that the absorption of sucralose into the human body was tested on only 8 men. The author of "High Frequency Food" Lee Bracker said that studies showed "sucralose (splenda) reduced gut flora colonies by 50%, increased PH levels in the intestines, and sucralose affects a glycoprotein in the body that can have crucial health effects especially if you are taking medications".
Anyone that read my previous article knows that gut flora is host specific and messing with it could have a negative affect. That information was based on real research. Just click on my Advocare review link and read it for yourself. If you are not convinced yet please read Pub Meds article "Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats". Please do not tell me that the research is not credible because it was based on rats. Sucralose was approved based on 113 of them. Let me simplify this for you if I can. It seems as though studies are actually showing that sucralose can be absorbed into the body and the body does have the capability to store it. If you are pregnant I do not believe you would want anything messing with your gut flora in a negative way. But somehow I think you get the point. Sucralose will probably be one of those ingredients that the FDA bands, but will it be too late. Let me be clear, I am not telling you not to use the product. All I can do is tell you what the research really indicates, and that the verdict is still out on sucralose. Please read the Google Book I provided it is a very interesting read and is backed by real research. So lets get to the Niacin shall we.
Have you ever heard the saying that too much of a good thing could be bad. Well, I think that is what niacin would be to a pregnant person. I am not so sure it is good for anyone at the levels distributed by Advocare. According to the spark label there is 60 mg of niacin-amide, which is 300% of the daily value needed. MedlinePlus indicated that a pregnant person should only take 30mg of niacin-amide. Now take into consideration that a pregnant women can obtain more vitamin b3 (niacin-amide) through her regular diet there is a high probability she would super exceed the daily value of niacin. Many of you maybe thinking to yourself, "so what", Vitamin b3 is good for you. Unfortunately studies have shown that too much vitamin b3 can have adverse effects on the fetus, and the FDA has label niacin a category C when taken above daily values (Link). So, if you want to ensure that your baby is not harmed, it probably would be a good idea to avoid drinking all that niacin.
Unfortunately not only do pregnant women want to use spark but at some point Advocare sold a drink for kids by the name of Kickstart Spark. I was told that the Kickstart Spark was taken off the market by a friend at Advo-Truth. On the other hand it does not really matter because now we have parents using the regular spark to treat their child's ADHD (Link). So ask yourself this question. Would you take ADHD medication if you did not need to? Apparently there is a study that is influencing all these parents to believe spark is the answer to their prayers (link).
This is what I am thinking. Advocare and distributors claim that the 24 day challenge is a means to teach people to eat right, and by eating right the user will have more energy, and feel good. Then why do they still need the spark drink when they are done with the challenge? Is it because they have not learned to truly eat right? Or are they addicted to the caffeine? Or is it both?
Now we have parents giving their children the spark drink with total disregard of the extreme amounts of niacin, sucralose, and many other vitamins exceeding daily values. My suggestion for pregnant women would be eat the right proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
My suggestion for the parents is talk with your doctor before handing your child a drink created for adults.
Let me remind everyone. I am just giving you the facts. If you think that I am wrong, then continue using the product. But, if you can not say to yourself, that you are absolutely sure that sucralose, and extremely high levels of niacin, are good for your baby, do not use it.
I am not a doctor, and I am not claiming to be proficient in the field of supplements. This is my opinion backed with viable research.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and please feel free to comment.
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