Energy Drinks Can Alter Heart Functioning

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Energy drinks might be a quick way of getting an extra boost of energy, but how is it affecting your heart? According to a new study presented at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting, energy drinks can make the heart contract rapidly.

In the study, 18 healthy volunteers drank an energy drink that contained 400mg of taurine and 32mg of caffeine per 100ml (about 3,4 ounces). MRIs of heart function showed a 6% increase in heart contraction rate after consuming an energy drink, when performed an hour before and an hour after the study participants consumed the drink. Researchers suggest that the change in heart function was due to the blend of taurine, sugar and caffeine. In a second experiment, with drink only containing caffeine, no significant increase in heart contractions were found. Read these 9 New NRG Drink Facts.

Co-author Jonas Doerner from the University of Bonn advises children and those with irregular heart beats to avoid energy drinks until more studies are conducted, although the long-term effects of consuming energy drinks are not known. Authors of the study note that the findings are preliminary and subject to change until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

But They Might Even Be A Gateway Drug

Consuming Energy drinks has been strongly linked to the use of illegal prescription stimulants, according to a study done at a major US university.

The study found that there was a 50 percent probability that student’s at Midwestern University who consumed energy drinks for the past 30 days, also consumed stimulant medication without a prescription.

The longer the students consumed energy drinks, the greater the chance that they would end up using stimulant medication as well.

Only 15 percent of the students who hadn’t taken any energy drinks in the same period consumed stimulant medication illicitly.

Stimulant medications, such as Concerta and Ritalin, are often prescribed to treat attention disorders.

Another scary result to emerge from the study is that all the students who had a valid prescription for stimulant medication, mixed their medication with energy drinks. Something the study report describes as increasing risk of “side effects and dangers”. These include serotonin syndrome, which can be lethal.

The study experts believe that students are at risk of developing a substance addiction because of the, “high cognitive demands placed on them as students.”

The study made use of an anonymous online survey to obtain its results and was published in the journal Substance Abuse.

-Leigh Schaller @LeighSchaller




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