According to a recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, energy drinks are loaded with stimulants and sugars that tend to increase blood pressure and stress hormones in healthy adults that lead to an elevated risk of Heart Disease. The results of this experiment weren’t as severe as some may think, but they are valuable when it comes to making decisions regarding your well-being.
“It is hard to pinpoint whether it is the caffeine, other stimulants or a combination of ingredients in energy drinks that cause this effect and whether this would lead to any heart problems. However, more research is needed into the effects of energy drinks on the body,” stated Tracy Parker, a Heart Health dietitian at the British Heart Foundation.
The study consisted of 25 participants, 14 of which were men, that had an average age of 29. All of the participants had a healthy body mass index, none of them were smokers, and they weren’t affiliated with any diseases. The participants were given a Rockstar and a placebo, which was identical in taste, but lacked the stimulants, that they were instructed to drink within five minutes. This study took place over the course of two days.
Before each day of the study, participants were instructed to fast and withhold from consuming any alcohol or caffeine. Both before and 30 minutes after drinking the Rockstar, a variety of measurements and tests were done to measure heart rates, caffeine and sugar levels, and blood pressure. They also measured norepinephrine in the blood, a “stress hormone” that is known to increase heart rate. As expected, caffeine levels shot up after consuming the Rockstar, but they were unchanged by placebo consumption.
The heart rate and blood pressure of the participant stayed within the normal range, while the average blood pressure increased after consuming the energy drink. The heart rate seemed to remain unchanged, while norepinephrine levels rose after consuming the energy drink and it is the combination of these two effects (increased norepinephrine levels and blood pressure) that scientists believe may lead to an increased risk of Heart Disease.
Energy drinks contain about 200 milligrams of caffeine, so it isn’t surprising to observe the increase in caffeine levels. This study consists of a small group that experienced the effects of energy drinks, but scientists are unsure what causes the increase in norepinephrine levels and blood pressure.