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Too Much Cola Can Lead to Muscle Weakness, Paralysis

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Cola and health

Drinking too much Cola is leading to increasing numbers of patients who suffer from muscle weakness, according to a recent warning from physicians. The rising number of patients admitted to the hospital is linked to too much Cola, causing low potassium levels (hypokalemia), which results in muscle weakness, and can even lead to paralysis, as well as heart rhythm disturbances that can be fatal.

The warning that Cola is linked to muscle weakness and even paralysis should be bad enough, but warnings about excess consumption of Cola do not stop there. Other maladies associated with soft drink consumption include metabolic syndrome, diabetes, erosion of teeth, and bone loss.

Dr Moses Elisaf from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina, Greece says we already know drinking too much Cola can cause harm. His team carried out a review of research studies, finding that too much Cola can cause symptoms that range from muscle weakness to paralysis from lack of enough potassium.

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One of Dr. Elisaf’s own patients who drank four liters of Cola daily and complained of muscle weakness simply refused to stop consuming the soft drink. He compromised, cutting his Cola consumption in half, and his muscle weakness improved.

The physician team looked at case studies among people who consumed two to nine liters of Cola per day. The study included two pregnant women admitted to the hospital with hypokalemia. In one instance, 21-year-old women with weakness, and heart rhythm disturbance had been drinking three liters of Cola daily. She was also experiencing loss of appetite and persistent vomiting. The second woman had been drinking seven liters of Cola a day for the past ten months, and complained of muscle weakness.

The three ingredients in Cola responsible for muscle weakness are glucose, fructose and caffeine. The physicians say caffeine is the most likely culprit in Cola that leads to muscle weakness. However, Dr. Elisaf warns, "Despite this, caffeine free cola products can also cause hypokalemia because the fructose they contain can cause diarrhea."

All of the clinical cases recovered from muscle weakness caused by drinking too much Cola. The researchers say Cola should be added to the list of potassium depleting drugs that physicians should include on their checklist. They also suggest that as serving portions become larger, so will the public health implications of drinking too much Cola leading to muscle weakness, paralysis, and even death from irregular heartbeat.

International Journal of Clinical Practice