A RED BULL junkie who consumed 20 cans a day caused so severe liver damage that doctors mistook her for an alcoholic.
Mary Allwood, 26, was consuming the sugar equivalent of 16 Mars bars each day, as well as the caffeine equivalent of 17 cups of coffee.
The single mother would store the cans all around the house and shop for the greatest supermarket prices every day, spending more than £2,300 a year on drinks.
When she was rushed to the hospital with discomfort and an MRI scan indicated her liver was TWICE the normal size, she was forced to confront her addiction.
Until teetotal Mary confessed to her Red Bull addiction, physicians were convinced she was an alcoholic.
She quit smoking ‘cold turkey five months ago, and a test this week found that her liver is now functioning normally.
“I needed it and I didn’t care what damage it was doing to me at the moment,” the full-time mother from Brixham, Devon, said.
“I’d be miserable and grumpy if I didn’t get my fix, so it wasn’t a choice – I’d make sure I got it.”
“At first, it gave me a buzz and energy, but after a while, it didn’t offer me any energy – I simply wanted it.”
“I needed the flavor and sparkle.” It was my opium. I’d be miserable if I didn’t have it.
“Now that anyone can go to the store and get it, it makes me so nervous.” I believe it should be treated as if it were a combination of alcohol and cigarettes.”
Mary drank the caffeinated drink for the first time when she was 22 years old in order to boost her energy levels.
It worked at first, but within four months she was downing up to 20 cans per day, with at least two down as soon as she awoke at around 8 a.m.
“I’d walk to the store and grab two if I didn’t have any in the fridge,” she said.
“I’d drink the first one in three sips and then attempt to stretch out the second one.”
“I’d go to the store and buy ten multipacks at a time.” I’d tell the cashier that I owned a restaurant and was purchasing them for that purpose.”
Her weight increased from a size 16 to a size 24, and she didn’t drink anything but Red Bull.
Even an instance of heart palpitations a year after she started drinking didn’t stop her.
However, in November 2015, she experienced severe liver discomfort and was brought to the hospital in an ambulance.
Her liver was twice the size it should be, with two fibrous tumors the size of a grape and a satsuma, according to an MRI image.
Excessive alcohol use can promote liver inflammation and contribute to fibrosis, which can lead to cirrhosis.
A high-sugar diet, on the other hand, can cause sugar to build up in the liver, causing it to become inflamed and scarred, as well as lumps and scarring.
“They kept asking how much I drank and talking about drinking,” Mary recalled.
“They stated my liver looked like an alcoholic’s, so I told them I drank at least 12 Red Bulls a day,” I added.
“They gave me a disgusted expression.”
It was just what Mary needed, and she began on a meal-replacement diet, substituting six and a half liters of water for her Red Bull.
She went through withdrawal symptoms for almost a month, including mood swings and shaking, but she no longer desires the drinks.
“It was incredibly difficult, and there were times when I bought one, opened it, but never drank it,” Mary, who is unmarried and has a three-year-old daughter named Berivan, said.
“When I put a drop on my tongue, it tasted exactly like sugar.” I’ll never go back to the way things were before.
“Now, I believe the rules should be modified, and it should be regulated similarly to cigarettes, with blank packaging,” says the author.