Energy Drinks Increase Risk Of Heartbeat Problems: Caffeine And Taurine Consumption Spike. By Lizette Borreli.medicaldaily.com. December 03, 2013. You may want to think twice before reaching for that energy-boosting caffeine and taurine drink; it may alter the way your heart functions. According to a recent study, healthy adults who consume energy drinks experience significant spikes of heart contract rates per hour after intake, which may lead to fatal heartbeat problems.
Energy drink labels typically don’t tell consumers what chemicals are in the manufacturer’s products. Despite being named “energy” drinks, these products do not provide any real energy but instead provide the popular stimulant, caffeine. The stimulating properties in the drink can boost heart rate and blood pressure — sometimes causing palpitations — that dehydrate the body and prevent sleep. The Long Island Heart Associates, an affiliate of Mount Sinai Heart, says the alteration in heart function is due to the presence of high amounts of caffeine — the equivalent of two or more cups of coffee and taurine, an amino acid known to boost heart rate. Presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, German researchers investigated the effect of energy drinks high in caffeine and taurine, like Red Bull, by using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) on a group of healthy volunteers to show the structure of the heart and how it functions during consumption of—-PICK UP HERE– myocardial function in a group of healthy volunteers using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR), showing the structure of the heart and how it functions. Eighteen participants — 15 male and three female with an average age of 27.5 — were examined by undergoing a CMR performed on a whole-body scanner before, and one hour after drinking an energy drink. These drinks contained taurine (400mg/100ml) and caffeine (32mg/100ml). The researchers looked at how the left ventricle — the heart chamber that pumps oxygenated blood out of the heart and to the rest of the body — was functioning by measuring its peak strain and peak strain rate during heart contraction and dilation. In addition, the participants’ heart rate and blood pressure were also recorded in the study. Compared to the images taken before the consumption of the energy drinks and post-beverage MRIs, the researchers noted an increased in peak systolic strain rates, or heart contractions, in the heart’s left ventricle per hour after drink intake. However, the energy drink did not show a significant effect on the amount of blood being ejected from the left ventricle, heart rate, or blood. The short-term impact on heart contractions caused by energy drinks was affirmed in the small study. "We’ve shown that energy drink consumption has a short-term impact on cardiac contractility,” said Dr. Jonas Dörner, study researcher of the University of Bonn in Germany, the BBC reports. "We don’t know exactly how or if this greater contractility of the heart impacts daily activities or athletic performance." The researchers do acknowledge that further studies need to be done to accurately assess the long-term effects of energy drink consumption as well as any other possible effects these drinks may have on people with a history of heart disease. Although there is a lack of knowledge about long-term risks, the German researchers recommend children and people with cardiac arrhythmias — irregular heartbeats — abstain from consuming energy drinks. The short-term impact on contractility changes may produce the onset of arrhythmias. Dörner also warns about the risks posed by mixing energy drinks with alcohol, especially due to its popularity on the nightclub scene. Stimulants can mask how intoxicated a person is and prevent them from realizing how much alcohol they have consumed which shadows the effects of the depressant. Fatigue is usually one of the ways the body lets a person know they have had enough to drink. The combination of energy drinks and alcohol have been under review such as the drink Four Loko. A 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko typically contains 12 percent alcohol — the equivalent of four to six beers — 35 milligrams of caffeine and guarana, a legal stimulant similar to caffeine, says Brown University Health Education. Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko does not publish information about the amount of guarana in their drink because they do not have to print nutrition facts on the can which can lead to the consumption of unknown and potentially dangerous chemicals entering the body. The Cavalier Daily reports Ramapo College in New Jersey prohibited the drink following the hospitalization of 17 students and six visitors. One student was taken was taken to the emergency room with a .4 blood alcohol content — five times the legal limit in New Jersey — after consuming three cans of Four Loko, the equivalent of 12 tequila shots. According to a 2013 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S., energy drink-related emergency department visits have doubled from more than 10,000 to approximately 21,000. Most of the cases occurred in patients between the ages of 18 and 25. For ways to naturally boost your energy, click here. Source: Dörner J, Kuetting D, Naehle CP, et al. Caffeine and Taurine Containing Energy Drink Improves Systolic Left-ventricular Contractility in Healthy Volunteers Assessed by Strain Analysis Using Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Tagging (CSPAMM). RSNA. 2013.
Read also related: Mixing Energy Drinks With Alcohol Increases Consumption, Likeliness Of Feeling Negative Effects. By Anthony Rivas. medicaldaily.com. December 02, 2013. Vodka Red Bulls and Jäger bombs may be delicious, but they’re really just variations of the now-banned Four Loko and Sparks, two of the many alcoholic energy drinks that were banned in the last few years after a slew of alcohol-related illnesses — 23 at just one college party — were traced back to their consumption. A new study shows that banning these products could have been a good decision; finding that students tended to drink more alcohol, and therefore, become more intoxicated on days that they also drank highly-caffeinated drinks. Although there is the occasional person who drinks one too many, and ends up falling asleep, mixing highly-caffeinated drinks with alcohol is not necessarily the best way to ensure a full-night of partying. Mixing these drinks can result in an intoxicated state known as “’wide-awake drunk’ because caffeine is presumed to attenuate some of alcohol’s sedative effects,” the researchers wrote in their study. But the researchers found that student’s didn’t even have to mix their alcohol with caffeinated drinks in order to feel more intoxicated, to drink more heavily, and to experience negative consequences the day after. Analyzing data on 652 college students over the course of four semesters, the researchers asked the students in four, two-week periods how many energy drinks they had on the previous Friday, as well as how many energy drinks with alcohol they had. They were also asked about whether they got drunk, and whether they felt any of 10 negative consequences the next day, including having a hangover and getting in trouble — with whom wasn’t clear. The students’ estimated blood alcohol content (eBAC) was also measured using start and end times for drinking, body weight, and gender. They found that 80 percent of the students drank alcohol on at least one of the 56 sample days. Of these students, 30 percent also used alcohol on the same day at least once. Drinking alcohol on days when energy drinks were also consumed resulted in a higher number of drinks consumed, and higher levels of drunkenness — rated by eBAC. But even when these differing levels were controlled for, people who consumed energy drinks on the same day were still likely to report negative consequences the next day. The time of day that students drank caffeinated drinks had little to no effect on results, the researchers wrote. This was because their results still showed that caffeine affected drunkenness. What’s more, they say that the effects of caffeine can be felt in the body for up to five hours, “making it very likely that the pharmacological effects of caffeine and alcohol overlapped on days students were using both energy drinks and alcohol.” “Our findings suggest that the use of energy drinks and alcohol together may lead to heavier drinking and more serious alcohol-related problems,” co-author of the study Megan Patrick, of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, said in a statement. As energy drink become more popular, we should think about prevention strategies for reducing the negative consequences of using energy drinks and of combining energy drinks with alcohol.” Excessive drinking can lead to a numberof health problems, including liver disease, digestive problems, high blood pressure, eye paralysis, and bone loss, according to Mayo Clinic. Source: Patrick M, Maggs J. Energy Drinks and Alcohol: Links to Alcohol Behaviors and Consequences Across 56 Days. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2013.