Many people use energy drinks to give themselves a boost, but a new study suggests that drinking the popular beverages could send you to the hospital.
Energy drinks are commonly used to increase energy levels, and are loaded with caffeine, sugar, herbal extracts, and vitamins. These drinks can cause an increase in blood pressure, increased heart rate, and wakefulness.
However, a new study from the University of Adelaide suggests that even moderate consumption of energy drinks could be linked to heart problems.
In the study, researchers surveyed 60 patients who were at an emergency department in South Australia after experiencing heart palpitations. The patients were all between the ages of 13 and 40, which is young for a person to have heart problems.
“Of the patients surveyed, 36% had consumed at least one energy drink in the 24 hours prior to presenting at the hospital and 70% had consumed some sort of energy drink in their lifetime,” said co-author Dr. Scott Willoughby.
Eight of the patients had consumed over five energy drinks in the past 24 hours. One of the patients had consumed 12 energy drinks. This patient also drank the energy drinks with alcohol, which increases the risk of adverse effects, since alcohol can reduce the breakdown of caffeine and increase its concentration.
The study’s findings showed that those who consumed more energy drinks were also more likely to have heart problems. “Those patients who were heavy consumers of energy drinks were found to have a significantly higher frequency of heart palpitations than those who consumed less than one per day,” Dr. Willoughby said.
Many of the patients who had consumed energy drinks had no other risk factors for heart disease. This suggests that the energy drink may cause heart palpitations, increased heart rate, and chest pain in people who are otherwise healthy.
The results of the study indicate that energy drinks may lead to heart disease, and that even moderate consumption could lead to serious problems. The study results recommend that people do not drink more than two energy drinks per day, and that they do not consume the drinks regularly.
Energy drinks are commonly used to fight fatigue and enhance performance. However, medical professionals say that these few benefits may be outweighed by the risk.
As well, many people consume energy drinks in combination with alcohol. This can cause serious adverse reactions, since alcohol can actually reduce the breakdown of caffeine and increase its concentration.
Not only are energy drinks linked with heart problems, scientists have linked energy drinks with brain injuries in teenagers. A research team from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, recently discovered that young adults who had traumatic brain injury within a year of the study taking place, were more likely to have drank (at minimum) five energy drinks within a one-week period.
It is recommended that people do not drink more than two energy drinks per day and that they do not consume the drinks regularly.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Busuttil, M., et al, “A survey of energy drink consumption among young patients presenting to the emergency department with the symptom of palpitations,” International Journal of Cardiology, 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.11.118.