Scientists from Mayo Clinic found that drinking one 16-ounce energy drink can increase blood pressure and stress hormone responses significantly.
This raises the concern that these response changes could increase the risk of heart disease events.
In previous research, the team found that energy drink consumption increased blood pressure in healthy young adults.
The current study found that the increases in blood pressure are accompanied by increases in norepinephrine, a stress hormone chemical, and this could predispose an increased risk of cardiac events—even in healthy people.
In the study, the researchers tested 25 healthy volunteers with an average age of 29.
Each person consumed a 16-ounce energy drink and placebo drink within five minutes, in random order, on two separate days, with a maximum of two weeks apart.
The placebo drink was similar in taste, texture, and color, but lacked caffeine and other stimulants of the energy drink, such as taurine, guarana, and ginseng.
The team found in addition to the blood pressure increase in study volunteers, their norepinephrine levels increased by almost 74 percent after energy drink consumption, compared with a 31 percent increase after the placebo drink.
Systolic blood pressure increased after energy drink consumption by 6 percent, compared to 3 percent with placebo consumption.
These results suggest that people should be cautious when consuming energy drinks due to possible health risks.
The team says asking patients about energy drink consumption should become routine for physicians, particularly when interpreting vital signs in the acute setting.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about food that may strongly increase heart disease risk, and common high blood pressure drugs may increase the risk of heart disease.
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The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by Anna Svatikova et al.
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