Just One Energy Drink May Cause Harmful Spike in Blood Pressure

AHA: One Energy Drink Ups Blood Pressure, Norepinephrine Levels
AHA: One Energy Drink Ups Blood Pressure, Norepinephrine Levels

(HealthDay News) — Just one energy drink can cause potentially harmful spikes in both stress hormone levels and blood pressure in young, healthy adults, a new study shows. The findings were published as a research letter online Nov. 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 7 to 11 in Orlando, Fla.

The study included 25 healthy young adults. They were between the ages of 26 and 31 and had no known cardiovascular risk factors. Each person drank one 16-ounce can of Rockstar Punched or placebo drink in random order on two separate days. Researchers measured participants' blood pressure and blood levels of norepinephrine before and 30 minutes after each drink.

Participants' norepinephrine levels increased more than twice as much compared to when they consumed placebo, the researchers found. Blood pressure also spiked due to energy drinks. For example, mean blood pressure increased by 6.4 percent after energy drink consumption, compared with a 1 percent increase with placebo.

"As physicians, we should perhaps ask people about energy drink intake, and factor this in as we interpret their vital signs in emergency settings," lead researcher Anna Svatikova, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told HealthDay. "For the consumers, they should use caution when consuming energy drinks, because these drinks may increase their risk of sudden heart problems, even among young people."

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