Move over, Red Bull: New drinks make splash on S.A. shelves

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by Wendy Rigby / KENS 5

kens5.com

Posted on February 22, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 11:00 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- Move over energy drinks. There are some new kids on the block at convenience stores, grocery stores and pharmacies. They’re called relaxation drinks.

You might call them the anti-Red Bull. They’re loaded with natural relaxants and the promise of easier sleep.
 
The names conjure up the image. iChill and Dream Water are the ones we found in San Antonio. The ingredients vary. Some have valerian, rose hips, and small amounts of a natural hormone called melatonin.
 
“One of the main ingredients is melatonin and we do know that that does help with sleep,” explained U.T. Health Science Center registered dietitian Sue Cunningham, Ph.D. “It is a hormone that we produce and as we age we produce less of it.”
 
A couple of graduate student taste-tested the products for us. They liked Dream Water better. Both said it’s a product concept that appeals to them.
 
“I think everyone in this world is stressed and they need it,” she said, laughing. “I know I do.”
 
We found iChill at Exxon TigerMarts next to 5-Hour Energy shots at the checkout. Dream Water sells at some Walgreen’s near the sleep aids. They sell for two to three dollars apiece.
 
“If you could get seven hours of sleep for two bucks? I think it’s worth the price,” said UTHSC graduate student Joe Francis.
 
One published study found that a bedtime cocktail that included melatonin, zinc. Cunningham said insomnia is due to so many different factors, more research on oral relaxation drinks is needed.
 
“Even though we suspect these might be helpful for some people, might not be harmful for some people, might not be harmful for most people, there’s still not a lot of research that shows either way,” Cunningham stated.
 
Relaxation drinks are quickly gaining a foot hold in the beverage market. Sales are expected to reach $68 million this year alone.

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