The energy drinks are ones of the most preferred beverages due to their ability to produce a feeling of wakefulness, alertness, and productivity.
Even though these drinks are a popular item in today’s world, they are not a new innovation. The energy drinks have been used for fighting against fatigue for over a century.
Nowadays, they contain either just sugar or some type of neurological stimulant which enables the consumers to feel more energetic.
However, these beverages were once made up of actual energy. The active ingredient of the energy drinks was radium, a rare radioactive element that emits radiant energy with each atomic decay.
RadiThor – Energy Drink Made from Radium Dissolved in Water
RadiThor was one of the most popular energy drinks in the 1920s. This beverage was simply radium dissolved in water.
It was sold in one-ounce bottles for about US$1 ($15 in 2016 dollars). According to the claims of its manufacturer, this drink not only supplied energy but also treated various ailments, including impotence, which made it a great seller.
The most famous consumer of RadiThor was Eben Byers, an American socialite, industrialist, and golfer. He started drinking RadiThor in order to heal his broken arm.
However, he soon became addicted to the drink, despite the fact that it didn’t contain any narcotics. Even after Byers’ arm had healed, he continued consuming this drink in large amounts.
Reportedly, he drank a bottle or two on a daily basis for more than three years, and eventually his addiction killed him.
The Radioactive Poisoning Death of Eben Byers
When the radium is ingested, it gets incorporated into the bone, and its radiation energy is stored in the bone tissue.
With time, the radium delivered an extremely high level of radiation dose to the Byers’ skeleton, resulting in an appearance of holes in his skull and a loss of most of his jaw.
He developed a number of other bone-related illnesses, which lead to his death on March 31, 1932.
In order to block the radiation that was being released from Byers’ bones, he was put to rest in a lead-lined coffin.
In 1965, Robley Evans, an MIT scientist, exhumed Byers’ skeleton to determine the level of radium contained in his bones.
Since this element has a half-life of 1,600 years, the amount of radium in Byers’ bones remained the same as it was on the day he died.
According to the Byers’ self-reported consumption of RadiThor, Evans’s model had predicted that there would be about 100,000 becquerels of radioactivity in his body.
What Evans discovered was that Byers’ skeletal remains contained 225,000 becquerels of radioactivity, showing that either his model of radiation uptake provided an incorrect prediction, or that Byers understated his intake of RadiThor.
After completing his radium measurements, Evans returned Byers’ bones to the lead coffin, and they remain as radioactive as ever to this very day.
The radium-containing drinks were removed from the market by 1932. Nowadays, the energy drinks rely on caffeine as their main ingredient, which may not be as powerful as radium, but it is a safe alternative to the life-threatening element.
The caffeine is effective in increasing the energy levels of the consumers, without posing a serious danger to their health.