In a new study from the Texas A&M University, researchers found some energy drinks have adverse effects on the muscle cells of the heart.
They found that cardiomyocytes—human heart cells grown in a laboratory—exposed to some energy drinks showed an increased beat rate and other factors affecting cardiac function.
When placed in the context of the human body, researchers linked consumption of these beverages to improper beating of the heart, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle which makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood), increased blood pressure, and other heart conditions.
In the study, the team evaluated 17 widely available over-the-counter energy drink brands. They then treated heart cells with each drink.
The team also used new methods to study the composition of the energy drinks. By comparing the effects and differing ingredient concentrations in each drink, they were able to infer which ingredients may contribute more to adverse effects on the heart cells.
Using mathematical models, they determined that the possible presence of theophylline, adenine, and azelate, substances that can have negative effects on the heart.
The team says little is known about the ingredients that may contribute to the adverse effects of energy drinks on the heart
More work is needed to test the ingredients identified in the study to ensure the safety of their consumption, especially for consumers with pre-existing health conditions.
They hope that the consumers will carefully weigh the performance-enhancing benefits of these beverages versus the emerging data that suggests that they may have real adverse effects.
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The study is published in Food and Chemical Toxicology. One author of the study is Ivan Rusyn.
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