Energy Drinks Change Heart Beat
Put down that Red Bull. Caffeine energy drinks intensify heart contractions, researchers warn.
No one actually thinks that energy drinks are good for the body, but for those who can't skip a caffeine-packed indulgence, here's a new study that might turn you off from it for good.
Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany imaged the hearts of 17 people an hour after they had an energy drink and found that contractions were more forceful afterwards, the BBC reports.
"Until now, we haven't known exactly what effect these energy drinks have on the function of the heart," researcher Dr. Jonas Dorner said of his findings at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
Participants consumed a drink that containing 32mg per 100ml of caffeine and 400mg per 100ml of another common energy-drink chemical, taurine. The researchers found that the left ventricle, the chamber of the heart that pumps blood around the body, contracted harder an hour after the energy drink was taken than at the start of the study.
Dr. Dorner said, "We've shown that energy drink consumption has a short-term impact on cardiac contractility....We don't know exactly how or if this greater contractility of the heart impacts daily activities or athletic performance."
Energy drinks can have up to three times the amount of other caffeinated beverages such as coffee or soda. Children, pregnant women/women who are breastfeeding, and people with some health conditions should avoid the drinks.
"There are many side effects known to be associated with a high intake of caffeine, including rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death," Dorner warned.
Most people who regularly chug a Monster know it's not exactly fortified orange juice. However, if you absolutely need that fluorescent green pick-me-up, like with anything you put into your body, moderation is key. The MayoClinic writes that energy drinks provide, at best, a temporary energy boost. The ones that contain sugar may contribute to weight gain — and too much caffeine can lead to:
Increased blood pressure
Also, anyone who's had a Red Bull vodka-fulled bender knows that mixing energy drinks can wing into disaster. "Energy drinks can blunt the feeling of intoxication, which may lead to heavier drinking and alcohol-related injuries," the health website writes.
The occasional energy drink is fine, but stick to about 16 ounces (500 milliliters) a day.
Will you skip your next energy drink now?