The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is warning military members that over consumption of energy drinks can cause serious harm and that there are “real reasons” to avoid overuse of the drinks.

The warning, published on the official U.S. Defense Department science blog, “Armed with Science,” cited a recent study from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, “Energy drink consumption and its association with sleep problems among US service members on a combat deployment.”

In an analysis of more than 1,000 service members in Afghanistan in 2010, the study found that approximately 45 percent of service members drank at least one energy drink per day, while almost 14 percent consumed three or more each day.

Individuals who drank more than three energy drinks a day were more likely to sleep less than four hours a night. They were also more likely to experience sleep disruption and were more likely to nod off during a briefing or while on guard duty.

Dr. Patricia Deuster, professor and director of the Consortium for Health and Military Performance at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, warns that energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine, too much of which can have serious side effects.

High levels of caffeine can cause high blood pressure, insomnia, dehydration, anxiety, heart palpitations and panic attacks.

The DoD also noted that the drinks are unregulated and many do not include supplement information on the nutrition labels. According to Deuster, one ingredient, taurine, is especially concerning because little is known about the amino acid’s effects.

She also noted that little is known about the possible effects energy drinks can have in large doses or in the long-term.

As strong advocates for individuals who have been harmed because of energy drinks, the energy drink injury lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan are familiar with the dangerous side effects of these drinks. We can help you fight for the compensation you deserve if you or a loved one has been harmed by an energy drink.