By now it’s common knowledge that energy drinks aren’t exactly the healthiest beverage. However, a new study conducted at the non-profit Mayo Clinic has detailed just how much damage constant consumption can have on one’s body, especially for young adults. According to the report, even just one drink can increase stress hormones and blood pressure, with researchers expressing that “these acute hemodynamic and adrenergic changes may predispose to increased cardiovascular risk.”

Energy Drinks – How Bad Are They For You?
For the study, which was published in the latest issue of JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), researchers put forth a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover pilot study in which participants were given either an energy drink or a placebo. The two groups would then be switched, with neither the researchers nor the participants knowing who was receiving which.

They found that blood pressure increased 1.0 percent for the placebo and 6.4 for the energy drink, measuring at baseline and again 30 minutes after ingestion. Additionally, the participants’ norepinephrine levels increased by almost 74 percent after consuming the energy drinks, compared to the 31 percent increase from the placebo.

“In previous research, we found that energy drink consumption increased blood pressure in healthy young adults,” explained first author and Mayo Clinic cardiology fellow Anna Svatikova. “We now show that the increases in blood pressure are accompanied by increases in norepinephrine, a stress hormone chemical, and this could predispose an increased risk of cardiac events — even in healthy people.”

To measure mental stress, participants were required to complete consecutive mathematical tasks as quickly as they could. For cold stress, participants had to stick one hand into an ice bucket. Blood pressure was then monitored for two minutes each during these circumstances.

Moreover, the researchers observed the participants norepinephrine levels increase from 150 pg/mL (picograms per millilitre) to 250 pg/mL after consuming the energy drink, while the placebo only showed a rise of 140 pg/mL to 179 pg/mL.

“Further research in larger studies is needed to assess whether the observed acute changes are likely to increase cardiovascular risk.” the team wrote.

Food scientist at Schmid College of Science and Technology, Lilian Were, cited the ingredients in the beverages as the root of problems like higher blood pressure. The high levels of caffeine and taurine mean youth and adults should now be more wary of drinking too many energy drinks.

“These results suggest that people should be cautious when consuming energy drinks due to possible health risks,” says Dr. Svatikova. “Asking patients about energy drink consumption should become routine for physicians, particularly when interpreting vital signs in the acute setting.”

For reference, the drink used in the study was Rockstar, which contained 240 mg of caffeine and 2,000 mg of taurine, according to the authors.

Energy drinks have become popular in the recent years and a new study has analyzed the impact of energy drinks on heart health. The study concluded that even with one-time consumption of any energy drink, there is a temporary impact on heart health. The study might be shocking for many as just a single energy drink raising the risk for heart seems farfetched.

The study found that participants who drank 16 ounce of energy drink Rockstar had higher levels of hormone norepinephrine and witnessed an increase in blood pressure. Hormone norepinephrine is similar to adrenaline and causes increase in blood pressure.

The study results were presented at the at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting, held in Orlando, Florida.

Each Rockstar energy drink contains 240mg of caffeine and nearly 2,000 mg of taurine and extracts of guarana seed and milk thistle. Energy drinks contain other stimulants as well.

The research team checked the blood pressure of study participants before and 30 minutes after consumption of energy drink. The team noticed nearly 6.6 points higher systolic blood pressure among the study participants after energy drink consumption. The increase was 3.3 points among people who were given placebo.

The blood pressure, the heart rate and blood levels of glucose, caffeine and norepinephrine were measured as baseline data. After letting the participants drink, the same data were obtained.

Norepinephrine level was noticed 100 picograms per milliliter higher among people who consumed energy drink. For participants given placebo drink, the rise was 39 picograms per milliliter.

The study team said that regular consumption of energy drinks could lead to increased blood pressure and a rise in stimulants in the blood stream. This could raise long term heart disease risk among individuals. The study team suggested that more research should be conducted on the impact caused by energy drinks on health. In the recent years, energy drinks have grown their market share across the world.

The detailed study results have been published in the latest issue of the journal JAMA.

Just One Energy Drink May Raise Heart Health Risk
Having just one energy drink can cause short-term changes in healthy adults that, over time, could increase their risk of heart disease, a new study finds.

In the study, participants who drank one 16-ounce (480 milliliters) can of Rockstar energy drink had higher blood pressure and higher levels of the hormone norepinephrine, after they drank the energy drink than before they consumed it. Norepinephrine is released by the adrenal glands and raises blood pressure; it is a cousin of the hormone adrenaline.

One Rockstar energy drink contains 240 milligrams (0.008 ounces) of caffeine, along with other stimulants, including 2,000 mg (0.8 ounces) of taurine and extracts of guarana seed, ginseng root and milk thistle, according to the study.

To test the effects of the drink, the researchers recruited 25 healthy adults to participate in the study. On two separate days, the researchers measured the volunteers’ blood pressure, heart rate and blood levels of caffeine, glucose and norepinephrine. The researchers then asked the participants to consume either the energy drink or a placebo. The placebo was similar in taste, texture and color to the energy drink, but did not contain caffeine or other stimulants.

Thirty minutes after the participants finished each drink, the researchers repeated their measurements. The volunteers also underwent several tests that increased their physical and mental stress. During these stress tests, the researchers once again measured blood pressure and heart rate.

After consuming the energy drink, the participants’ systolic blood pressure increased, on average, by 6.6 points (from 108.4 mm Hg to 115.0 mm Hg), compared with an average increase of 3.3 points (from 108.3 mm Hg to 111.6 mm Hg) after drinking the placebo.

Norepinephrine levels also increased following the consumption of the energy drink. They rose, on average, 100 picograms per milliliter (from 150 pg/mL to 250 pg/mL), compared with an average increase of 39 pg/mL (from 140 pg/mL to 179 pg/mL) after drinking the placebo.

The changes seen in the study “may predispose [people] to increased cardiovascular risk,” the researchers wrote in their study.

This is not the first study to suggest energy drinks may have a negative effect on heart health. In a study from earlier this year, the same research group found that energy drinks can raise people’s blood pressure to potentially unhealthy levels.

However, the researchers noted that additional, larger studies are needed to confirm the results of the new research. The current study’s limitations include the small sample size of adults and the use of only one type of energy drink, the researchers wrote.

Live Science reached out to Rockstar Inc. for comment, but did not hear back by press time.

The study was published in the journal JAMA today (Nov. 8) and was also presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting, held in Orlando, Florida.

Researchers detail what a Rockstar energy drink does to your body
If you thought energy drinks were little more than sugar water, scientists from Mayo Clinic can assure you that they really do pack a punch.

A team of cardiovascular researchers at the esteemed clinic in Rochester, Minn., reported that a single can of Rockstar energy drink can boost your blood pressure and cause the fight-or-flight hormone norepinephrine to increase in just 30 minutes.

These discoveries were made with the help of 25 volunteers, each of whom who downed a 16-ounce can of Rockstar on an empty stomach in five minutes or less. A single can contained 240 milligrams of caffeine and 2,000 mg of taurine, along with guarana seed, ginseng root and milk thistle extracts.

On another day, the same volunteers swigged a “placebo” energy drink that had the same taste, texture and nutrients as Rockstar but none of the caffeine, taurine or other stimulants. The 14 men and 11 women didn’t know which of the drinks they were getting on each day.

All of the volunteers were in good health. Their average age was 29 and their average body mass index was 25, right on the border between having a normal weight and being overweight. None of them were on medications, and none had consumed alcohol or caffeine in the 24 hours before each test.

Just before taking their first swig, the volunteers allowed researchers to measure their heart rate and blood pressure and to draw a sample of blood. All of those tests were repeated thirty minutes after their cans were emptied. Just like the volunteers, the researchers taking the measurements didn’t know who got the real energy drink and who got the placebo.

The volunteers started out with heart rates and blood pressure readings in the normal range. After consuming Rockstar, their systolic blood pressure rose about 6%, from 108.4 millimeters of mercury to 115 mmHg, on average, and their diastolic blood pressure rose nearly 7%, from 64.3 mmHg to 68.5 mmHg, on average. By contrast, systolic blood pressure rose just 3% and diastolic blood pressure was flat after drinking the placebo beverage.

Both drinks led to a slight uptick in the heart rate – an average of 3.1 additional beats per minute for Rockstar and 4.3 more for the placebo. Those outcomes were essentially the same.

The biggest difference was in blood levels of norepinephrine, a precursor of epinephrine (a.k.a. adrenaline). After consuming the real energy drink, the average amount of norepinephrine rose from 149.8 to 249.8 picograms per milliliter of blood. That compares with an increase from 139.9 to 178.6 pg/mL after finishing the placebo drink.

To see whether stressful situations would bolster the energy drink’s effects, the researchers asked the volunteers to answer math questions, squeeze a hand grip or submerge a hand in ice water for two minutes. None of those stressors had a discernible effect.

Even so, the findings caused the researchers to fret. The increases in blood pressure and norepinephrine after consuming an energy drink may make people more vulnerable to cardiovascular problems, they wrote in a study published online Sunday by the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

However, they added, the results might be different with another energy drink or a larger group of volunteers.


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