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Experts are studying the effects of consuming energy drinks on heart health
Many young people like to consume so-called energy drinks. Researchers have now found that consuming energy drinks can increase blood pressure. In addition, such drinks also seem to have a negative effect on the heart rhythm.
The researchers at the David Grant Medical Center found that consuming energy drinks can lead to various health problems. The drinks can cause blood pressure to rise and heart irregularities to occur. The experts published the results of their study in the medical journal "Journal of the American Heart Association".
In addition to caffeine, energy drinks contain a variety of other ingredients
So-called energy drinks can contain up to 320 mg of caffeine. This amount corresponds to about four cups of coffee. In addition, such drinks usually contain a lot of sugar, several B vitamins and a variety of other ingredients, the authors explain. It is precisely this combination of ingredients that can lead to serious problems. Consuming energy drinks could, for example, cause irregularities in the heart rhythm, which are the basis of many heart diseases.
Safety of mixed ingredients in energy drinks often not checked
The ingredients of energy drinks are often referred to as so-called proprietary mixtures. Each manufacturer mixes its own special version of the ingredients, which are usually not checked for safety, the researchers explain.
Subjects were medically monitored 24 hours after consumption
The study carried out was relatively small. It included only 18 male and female subjects. These were completely healthy at the start of the study, the scientists say. The drink that the participants ate was a commercially available energy drink. The subjects' blood pressure was medically monitored by the experts. An EKG was also performed. This measure controlled the electrical activity of the heart for 24 hours after consuming the drink, the authors add.
Heart irregularities occurred during the monitoring period
During this 24-hour period, the researchers observed that heart irregularities occurred. These changes did not take place if the consumers consumed a product only with caffeine, the researchers explain.
Energy drinking increases blood pressure and leads to the release of stress hormones
Another study had already shown that a 12 ounce (340 gram) energy drink could raise blood pressure. This releases so-called stress hormones, which can also lead to health problems in adolescents with a healthy heart, the scientists say.
Problems caused by energy drinks among young people
In the past three years, more than 5,000 health problems have been reported that were attributable to the consumption of energy drinks, the researchers say. Half of these cases affected children and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics therefore warns that energy drinks should not be included in the diet of children and adolescents.
Consumers should be careful about consuming energy drinks
Most people assume that consuming energy drinks cannot lead to health problems. Such drinks are simply regarded by those affected as a large caffeine drink, the doctors explain. However, the problem is the additional ingredients. In other words, when it comes to energy drinks, people should be extremely careful with their consumption. It is never clear which ingredients - apart from the specified caffeine - are contained in energy drinks, the authors warn. (as)