Energy Drinks May Raise Heart Risk
Downing just one energy drink can cause short-term physiological changes that could, over time, increase the risk of heart disease, concludes a new study published in JAMA.
Researchers recruited 25 healthy adults and on two separate days, measured their blood pressure, heart rate and blood levels of caffeine, glucose and norepinephrine. The study participants were then asked to consume either an energy drink or a placebo. The placebo was similar in taste, texture and color to the energy drink, but did not contain caffeine or other stimulants. Thirty minutes after people finished each drink, the researchers repeated taking the measurements.
The results showed that after consuming the energy drink, the participants' systolic blood pressure increased, on average, by 6.6 points compared with an average increase of 3.3 points after drinking the placebo. Additionally, levels of the hormone norepinephrine also increased following the consumption of the energy drink. Norepinephrine is released by the adrenal glands and raises blood pressure.
The researchers said that the changes seen in the study "may predispose [people] to increased cardiovascular risk,” but that additional, larger studies are needed to confirm the results.