Energy drink consumption has been associated with serious cardiovascular events, possibly related to caffeine and other stimulants in it. A new study has revealed that just one energy drink is enough to cause potentially harmful spikes in both stress hormone levels and blood pressure in young, healthy adults.
The Mayo Clinic researchers randomly assigned 25 healthy volunteers (age 18 years or older) to consume a can of a commercially available energy drink (Rockstar; Rockstar Inc) and placebo drink within five minutes, in random order on two separate days, maximum two weeks apart. The placebo drink that was selected to match the nutritional constituents of the energy drink, was similar in taste, texture, and color but lacked caffeine and other stimulants of the energy drink (240 mg of caffeine, 2,000 mg of taurine, and extracts of guarana seed, ginseng root, and milk thistle).
‘Researchers observed that caffeine levels in the blood remained unchanged after the placebo drink, but increased significantly after energy drink consumption. Just a single drink lead to 6.2% increase in systolic blood pressure, and 6.8% increase in diastolic blood pressure.’
The research team examined the effect of energy drink consumption on hemodynamic changes, such as blood pressure and heart rate. Study participants were fasting and abstained from caffeine and alcohol 24 hours prior to each study day. Serum levels of caffeine, plasma glucose and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) were measured and blood pressure and heart rate were obtained at baseline and 30 minutes after drink ingestion.
They observed that caffeine levels remained unchanged after the placebo drink, but increased significantly after energy drink consumption. Consumption of the energy drink elicited a 6.2% increase in systolic blood pressure; diastolic blood pressure increased by 6.8%; average blood pressure increased after consumption of the energy drink by 6.4%. No significant difference in heart rate increase were noted between the two groups.
The authors said, "These acute hemodynamic and adrenergic changes may predispose to increased cardiovascular risk. Further research in larger studies is needed to assess whether the observed acute changes are likely to increase cardiovascular risk."
The study is published in JAMA