Just one energy drink may affect heart

Increases blood pressure, stress chemical
  • Deborah Condon

Consuming just one energy drink could affect a young person's heart health, a new study suggests.

US researchers looked at 25 young adults, all of whom were considered healthy with no known cardiovascular risk factors. Each participant randomly consumed either a 16oz can of a commercially available energy drink, or a sham drink, over the course of two days.

The researchers measured the participants' blood pressure and blood levels of norepinephrine before they consumed the drinks, and then 30 minutes after.

Norepinephrine is known as a ‘fight or flight' chemical - it increases blood pressure and the heart's ability to contract. It also alters the body's heart rate and breathing in response to perceived stress.

The study found that those who had consumed the 16oz energy drink experienced an increase in blood pressure. However, it also found that their norepinephrine levels increased more than twice as much when compared with the levels of those who consumed the sham drink.

Overall, those who consumed the energy drink saw their norepinephrine levels jump by almost 74% compared to 30% for those who consumed the sham drink.

According to the researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, these increases in blood pressure and stress hormones could predispose young, healthy adults to an increased cardiovascular risk by triggering some sort of cardiovascular event.

These findings were presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2015 in Florida.


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