Chest pain after drinking

Researchers conducted the largest controlled study yet of the effects of energy drinks on the heart and blood pressure in healthy adults.

While still a relatively small study, new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association is still the largest controlled study looking at how energy drinks affect the heart.

And we will just cut to the chase here with what the researchers found:

Drinking an energy drink in a short timespan may increase blood pressure and the risk of electrical disturbances in the heart, which affect heart rhythm.

Given that some 30 percent of American teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 consume energy drinks on a regular basis – which has been linked to increased emergency room visits and death (!) – this seems like pretty relevant news.

The study included 34 healthy participants ranging in age from 18 to 40 years. They either drank 32 ounces of one of two commercial caffeinated energy drinks or a placebo. They drank the drinks evenly paced during the course of an hour.

The energy drinks included between 304 to 320 milligrams of caffeine per 32 fluid ounces. For reference, less than 400 milligrams of caffeine is not expected to induce any electrocardiographic changes – indicating that other ingredients, or a combination thereof, are at play. Other ingredients in the study’s energy drinks included taurine, glucuronolactone, and B-vitamins.

Electrocardiograms measured the electrical activity of the participants’ hearts, and blood pressure was taken as well, at the beginning and then every 30 minutes for four hours after the drinks were consumed.

“In participants who consumed either type of energy drink, researchers found that the QT interval was 6 milliseconds or 7.7 milliseconds higher at 4 hours compared to placebo drinkers,” notes the American Heart Association. “The QT interval is a measurement of the time it takes ventricles in the heart (the lower chambers) to prepare to generate a beat again. If this time interval is either too short or too long, it can cause the heart to beat abnormally. The resulting arrhythmia can be life-threatening.”

They also found a statistically significant 4 to 5 mm Hg increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the energy drink drinkers.

“We found an association between consuming energy drinks and changes in QT intervals and blood pressure that cannot be attributed to caffeine. We urgently need to investigate the particular ingredient or combination of ingredients in different types of energy drinks that might explain the findings seen in our clinical trial,” said lead author Sachin A. Shah, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacy practice at University of the Pacific, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Stockton, California.

The authors note that these results don’t take into consideration the fact that energy drinks are often consumed in combination with alcohol and/or other substances.

“Energy drinks are readily accessible and commonly consumed by a large number of teens and young adults, including college students. Understanding how these drinks affect the heart is extremely important,” said study co-author Kate O’Dell, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacy and director of experiential programs at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

For more, see the full study here: Impact of High Volume Energy Drink Consumption on Electrocardiographic and Blood Pressure Parameters: A Randomized Trial.

Do you buy energy drinks for your children or drink them when you’re working out? New evidence shows these drinks may boost your blood pressure, and they can also affect your heartbeat.

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A recent study found that healthy adults were more likely to have an abnormal heartbeat and high blood pressure after drinking an energy drink. Researchers also assessed the response to other drinks that contained the same amount of caffeine as the energy drinks.

The findings, reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association, raise concerns and unanswered questions.

So, what exactly do energy drinks contain that has such an impact on your body?

“The big thing that jumped off the page for me was the 108 grams of sugar,” says cardiologist Daniel Cantillon, MD. “Energy drinks are very sugar-enriched and obviously have health implications.”

Also disturbing, Dr. Cantillon says, are the unknown effects of ingredients in the drinks’ proprietary blends.

What about energy drinks and children?

There are more than 500 energy drinks on the market. Drink makers claim that they will help you perform better, physically and mentally.

Ingredients vary, but most energy drinks contain caffeine, sugar and proprietary blends of ginseng and other herbal and chemical ingredients.

The drinks are popular with teens and young adults. Men between the ages of 18 and 34 are the largest consumer group.

Earlier studies and reports link energy drinks to cardiac arrhythmia in children. So, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and adolescents avoid them.

One study found that children younger than age 6 account for more than 40 percent of the emergency calls to poison centers that relate to energy drinks.

New study raises concern for adults

For the latest study, researchers recruited 18 healthy men and women, ages 18 to 40, on a U.S. Air Force base. The men and women drank a 32-ounce energy drink or a caffeinated control drink. Both contained 320 milligrams of caffeine. Then, after a 6-day washout period, they switched drinks.

Researchers detected blood pressure and heartbeat abnormalities after participants drank the energy drinks. They did not see these ill effects after drinks that contained caffeine only.

Dr. Cantillon sees a need for more research regarding energy drink safety among adults with chronic health problems, and he advises caution.

“We really need further studies to understand the safety of energy drinks,” he says. “Energy drinks are probably OK for healthy individuals, but I don’t endorse energy drinks for anyone.”

He warns consumers to use caution when buying dietary supplement products. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and thus are “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” he says.

What about caffeinated drinks?

While the amount of caffeine used in the study — 320 milligrams — is high, the dosage is within a safe range, Dr. Cantillon says.

Most doctors consider daily doses of up to 400 milligrams (the equivalent of about four cups of brewed coffee) harmless for most adults without chronic health problems, he says.

If your drink contains caffeine, it can be easy to overdo it when you’re hot and thirsty after a game or when you’re exercising.

Possible effects of caffeinated drinks include alertness, palpitations, agitation, heartburn and diarrhea. And, because it’s a diuretic, caffeine makes your body lose water.

So, caffeinated drinks don’t really quench your thirst.

“I’m a fan of plain old water,” Dr. Cantillon says. “Water will get the job done.”

Drinking 32 ounces of energy drink is associated with potentially harmful changes in blood pressure and heart function that are beyond those seen with caffeine alone, according to a new study.

There are more than 500 energy drink products on the market, and their increased popularity is matched by a significant rise in energy drink-associated emergency department visits and deaths.

American Heart Association

Manufacturers and fans of these products claim they are as safe as caffeine, but there is little evidence to support that claim.

Caffeine in doses up to 400 mg (about five cups of coffee) is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration. While energy drinks usually contain caffeine, little is known about the safety of some of their other ingredients the study team writes in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Related: Middlebury College Bans Energy Drinks

To see what effects these other components have, researchers compared physical changes in a group of 18 healthy men and women after consuming a commercially available energy drink and after drinking another concoction with the same amount of caffeine but none of the other ingredients.

Besides 320 mg of caffeine – the amount in about four cups of coffee – the energy drink contained 4 ounces of sugar, several B vitamins and a proprietary “energy blend” of taurine and other ingredients that are often found drinks like Monster Energy, Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy.

Sachin A. Shah of David Grant Medical Center on Travis Air Force Base and University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and colleagues measured the participants’ blood pressure and used an electrocardiogram (often called an ECG or EKG) to measure heart electrical activity for 24 hours after the subjects consumed the drinks.

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Related: FDA Checks Into Deaths Linked to Energy Drink

An ECG change known as QTc prolongation and sometimes associated with life-threatening irregularities in the heartbeat was seen after drinking the energy drink, but not after drinking the caffeine beverage, the study team reports.

Several drugs have been withdrawn from the market just for causing ECG changes of a similar magnitude, the authors note.

Blood pressure increased by close to 5 points after drinking the energy drink, but by just under 1 point after drinking the caffeine beverage. Blood pressure also remained elevated six hours later.

These changes are by no means worrisome for healthy individuals, the researchers say, but patients with certain heart conditions might need to exercise caution consuming energy drinks.

Related: Can Caffeine Kill You?

Larger studies are needed to evaluate the safety of the noncaffeine ingredients contained in energy drinks, they conclude.

“The energy drink industry claims that their products are safe because they have no more caffeine than a premium coffee house coffee,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Harris from University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity in Storrs, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“However, energy drinks also contain a proprietary ‘energy blend,’ which typically consists of stimulants and other additives. Some of these ingredients (including taurine and guarana) have not been FDA-approved as safe in the food supply, and few studies have tested the effects of caffeine consumption together with these ‘novelty’ ingredients,” she said by email.

“On top of that, energy drinks are highly marketed to adolescent boys in ways that encourage risky behavior, including rapid and excessive consumption,” she said. “As a result, emergency room visits by young people in connection with energy drinks are rising.”

Any research that compares the effects of consuming energy drinks versus caffeine alone provides important evidence for public health advocates who have urged the energy drink companies to stop targeting youth with these potentially harmful products, Harris added.

Related: Energy Drinks Can Be Harmful to Young Children

More than 5,000 cases of people who got sick from energy drinks were reported to U.S. poison control centers between 2010 and 2013, and almost half of those cases were in children did not realize what they were drinking

Energy drinks typically contain high levels of sugar and at least as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. But the drinks also often tout the energy-boosting effects of a mix of other ingredients, ranging from taurine and l-carnitine, naturally occurring amino acids, to ginseng (a Chinese herb typically used in alternative medicine). But despite this “special blend” of ingredients, studies suggest energy drinks don’t boost attention any better than a cup of coffee does.

Even just one 16-ounce energy drink can increase blood pressure and stress hormones and could put a healthy young adult at risk for heart damage, concludes a 2015 Mayo Clinic study.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says energy drinks have “no place” in the diet of children and adolescents.

What Are the Side Effects of Drinking Red Bull?

Though Red Bull remains a popular beverage, research suggests that it may negatively affect your health.

Can increase blood pressure and heart rate

Blood pressure and heart rate are two important measures for heart health, as increased levels have been associated with a higher risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease (4, 5).

Several studies in healthy adults have shown that drinking one 12-ounce (355-ml) can of Red Bull significantly increased blood pressure and heart rate levels within 90 minutes and up to 24 hours after consumption (6, 7, 8, 9).

These increases in heart rate and blood pressure are thought to be largely due Red Bull’s caffeine content, as one large 12-ounce (355-ml) can contains 108 mg of caffeine — about the same amount as a cup of coffee (2, 10, 11).

Despite these increases, moderate and occasional intake of Red Bull is unlikely to cause serious heart problems in healthy adults.

Still, excess intake — particularly in younger people — has been linked to abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, and even death (11, 12, 13).

Additionally, while research is limited, drinking Red Bull could worsen heart health and be life-threatening in individuals with pre-existing high blood pressure or heart disease (11).

May increase type 2 diabetes risk

Excess sugar intake, especially from sweetened beverages, may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes (14).

In fact, a review in 310,819 adults found that drinking 1–2 servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day was associated with a significant 26% increased risk of type 2 diabetes (14).

As Red Bull is sugar-sweetened — providing 29 grams of sugar in one 8.4-ounce (260-ml) serving — drinking one or more servings per day could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes (2).

May damage your teeth

Research indicates that drinking acidic beverages can damage tooth enamel, which is the hard outer coating that helps protect your teeth against decay (15).

Red Bull is an acidic beverage. As a result, regular intake may harm your tooth enamel (16).

One 5-day test-tube study found that exposing human tooth enamel to energy drinks for 15 minutes, 4 times a day resulted in significant and irreversible loss of tooth enamel (17).

Furthermore, the study noted that energy drinks were twice as harmful to tooth enamel than soft drinks (17).

May negatively affect kidney health

While occasionally drinking Red Bull is unlikely to have any serious effects on kidney health, research suggests that chronic and excessive intake could.

A 12-week study in rats found that chronic intake of Red Bull may cause a decline in kidney function. However, these results have not been replicated in human studies (18).

Additionally, research indicates a link between high sugar intake and an increased risk of chronic kidney disease (19, 20, 21).

As Red Bull is high in sugar, frequent and excessive intake may increase your risk.

May increase high-risk behavior

Research has shown an association between drinking Red Bull and increased high-risk behavior, especially when combined with alcohol (1).

When consumed together, caffeine in Red Bull can mask the effects of alcohol, making you feel less intoxicated while still experiencing alcohol-related impairments (22, 23, 24).

This effect can have serious consequences.

One study found that college-aged students who drank energy drinks and alcohol together were more likely to drink and drive and experience serious alcohol-related injuries than when alcohol was consumed alone (25).

Even when not paired with alcohol, observational studies indicate that in young adults, regular intake of energy drinks like Red Bull is linked to an increased risk of alcohol dependence and illicit drug use (22, 26, 27).

Of course, not everyone who drinks Red Bull will experience an increase in high-risk behaviors. Still, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks, especially in younger adults and when alcohol is involved.

May lead to caffeine overdose and possible toxicity

While safe doses of caffeine vary by individual, current research recommends limiting caffeine to 400 mg per day or less in healthy adults (28).

As one small 8.4-ounce (260-ml) can of Red Bull provides 75 mg of caffeine, drinking more than 5 cans per day could increase your risk of caffeine overdose (2).

However, the average half-life of caffeine in the blood ranges from 1.5–9.5 hours, which means it could take up to 9.5 hours for your caffeine blood levels to drop to half of its original amount (29).

As a result, it’s hard to determine the exact amount of Red Bull that could lead to caffeine overdose.

Additionally, adolescents under the age of 19 may be at a greater risk of caffeine-related side effects (30).

Current recommendations call for limiting caffeine to 100 mg or less per day in adolescents aged 12–19. Therefore, drinking more than one 8.4-ounce (260-ml) serving of Red Bull could increase the risk of caffeine overdose in this age group (28).

Symptoms of caffeine overdose and toxicity can include nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, anxiety, rapid heart rate, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and seizures (31).


Occasional, moderate intake of Red Bull is unlikely to have any serious side effects. Still, when consumed frequently and in excess, it may have several negative and potentially life-threatening effects.

STEMI Associated with Overuse of Energy Drinks


Coronary artery disease (CAD) and ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) are predominantly diseases of middle-aged and older adults and when found in younger adults are usually associated with a strong family history. However, this report details the case of a nonobese 26-year-old Hispanic male who presented with an acute STEMI despite having no family history or other apparent risk factors for CAD or STEMI beyond a two pack-year smoking history and excessive energy drink consumption. The patient reported consuming between eight and ten 473 mL cans per day. Cardiac catheterization subsequently confirmed total occlusion of his left circumflex coronary artery.

1. Background

Energy drink consumption is a growing health concern due to limited regulation and increasing use, especially in younger demographics . With substantially higher caffeine content than soft drinks or coffee beverages, in some cases, as well as other poorly studied substances, there is significant potential for harm, especially when consumed in large quantities. A review of energy drink toxicity cases in the National Poison Data System revealed moderate to major adverse effects in 15.2% of cases reported to regional poison centers, including seizures and dysrhythmias . There have been two previous reports in the literature of STEMI associated with energy drink use by young people. Each patient was subsequently found to have normal coronary arteries. This report describes a novel case of a STEMI and established coronary artery disease in a young patient with no clear risk factors beyond a brief smoking history and excessive energy drink usage.

2. Case Presentation

The patient was a 26-year-old male who began having left-sided chest pain approximately 9 hours prior to presentation to the emergency department following drinking his usual quantity (~4L) of “Monster,” “Rock Star,” and other similar brands of energy drinks. The patient stated that he drank any kind of energy drink he could get access to: approximately eight to ten 473 mL drinks per day. The chest pain radiated to his left arm and his jaw but did not worsen with exertion. He also complained of numbness to his left arm, diaphoresis, nausea, and vomiting. His vital signs included a heart rate of 69, blood pressure of 132/73 mm/Hg, respiratory rate of 12, and oxygen saturation of 95% on room air. The patient was in significant distress and was diaphoretic, though not actively vomiting. The patient’s heart showed regular rate and rhythm, lungs were clear to auscultation with no crackles, wheezes, or rhonchi, and the abdomen was soft and nontender without guarding or rigidity. His EKG showed significant ST-elevation in the inferior leads with reciprocal changes in the anterior leads (Figure 1). His initial troponin was 0.02 μg/L (range 0–0.08 μg/L) and CK-MB was 160.1 μmol/L (range 0–266.9 μmol/L); both tests were performed on a point-of-care testing device. The patient was taken to the cardiac catheterization lab before serial blood tests or further formal lab tests could be performed. The patient’s serum caffeine concentration was not obtained, and the energy drink usage did not become known until after the patient had returned from the catheterization. The patient denied any illicit drug or stimulant use, and his urine toxicology screen was negative for any illicit drugs or stimulants, including common benzodiazepines, opiates, δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, amphetamines, and cocaine. The patient did however admit to smoking for the last two years, with approximately one pack (20 cigarettes) per day. The results of the patient’s lipid profile were as follows: total cholesterol 5.65 μmol/L (range 1.30–5.18 μmol/L), HDL 0.96 (range 1.04–1.53 μmol/L), LDL 2.69 μmol/L (range <2.59 μmol/L), and triglycerides 4.36 μmol/L (range 0.40–1.70 μmol/L). The patient had no history of diabetes, and each blood sugar check during his hospitalization was less than 6.11 μmol/L (range 3.86–5.55 μmol/L), but HbA1C was not checked. The patient’s complete blood count and complete metabolic panel were within normal limits.

Figure 1 Initial electrocardiogram, showing evidence of acute inferior myocardial infarction.

The patient underwent cardiac catheterization where a 100% occlusion of the left circumflex artery was observed, so a drug-eluting stent was placed after balloon angioplasty. The catheterization report is silent on the presence of any underlying coronary artery plaque in this region. The patient had “mild irregularities” in his left anterior descending coronary artery, in addition to the left circumflex artery occlusion, but no other coronary artery disease in his other coronary vessels was noted. His ST-elevation completely resolved after the catheterization (Figure 2). He remained in the hospital for two days after stent placement and experienced no further chest pain. He was discharged with prescriptions for an antiplatelet agent, an ACE inhibitor, a beta blocker, and a statin, and he agreed to stop smoking and consuming energy drinks.

Figure 2 Electrocardiogram following cardiac catheterization and balloon angioplasty, showing resolution of inferior ST-elevation.

3. Discussion

Energy drinks in various forms have existed for more than a century, including cocaine-containing Coca Cola which was introduced at the turn of the 20th century. However, energy drinks in their current incarnation are a fairly new phenomenon, with the sale of “Red Bull” beginning in 1997. There are multiple ingredients among the common brands of energy drinks, with the most frequent being caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone, and ginseng. A typical energy drink has approximately 0.34 mg of caffeine per mL, meaning our patient consumed between 1.2 and 1.6 g of caffeine per day, with a lethal dose of caffeine being between approximately 10 g of oral caffeine based on animal studies . However, smaller doses of caffeine may be fatal. Jantos and colleagues reported a fatal case in a 25-year-old woman who had ingested energy drinks containing 8.3 g of caffeine in association with ethanol . There has been increasing concern about the safety profile of these beverages because there have been multiple case reports describing adverse effects from energy drink consumption, ranging from nausea/vomiting to palpitations and dysrhythmias. Consequently, legislation has been passed in several countries restricting the sale of energy drinks to minors, restricting the combination of these beverages with ethanol, and limiting the concentration of caffeine in these drinks. There appears to have been a decrease in suicides by caffeine following such legislation in Sweden .

A thorough literature review uncovered scant literature about lethal cardiac effects associated with energy drink consumption. One case of a lethal cardiac event was reported after ingestion of ecstasy (MDMA) in combination with energy drinks . Two additional cases of STEMI after consumption of a large number of energy drinks have been reported in the literature. In one case, a 28-year-old male suffered cardiac arrest and ventricular fibrillation after consumption of ~7-8 cans of a “caffeinated energy drink.” Though no mention is made of the specific brand, the drink was said to contain both taurine and caffeine, similar to the drinks our patient regularly ingested . There is a separate published case of a 19-year-old with chest pain after drinking 2-3 cans of Red Bull per day for the week prior to his presentation. Like our patient, he also had ST-elevation on his EKG . However, in these published cases, both patients had normal coronary arteries on catheterization, unlike our patient. The authors of these cases postulated that the transient STEMI was possibly due to vasospasm caused by caffeine.

Caffeine acts primarily by competitively inhibiting adenosine receptors, but it also leads to increased catecholamine release. Though caffeine alone does not appear to have a significant effect on atherosclerosis , energy drinks contain multiple compounds in addition to caffeine, and there have been no definitive studies of these compounds to date, either alone or in the combinations found in energy drinks. However, one placebo-controlled physiological study has examined endothelial function and platelet aggregation among healthy medical students (20–24-year-old males) who consumed a single can (250 mL) of “a sugar-free energy drink.” This study reported an increase in platelet aggregation of ~14% (measured by optical aggregometry) compared to the controls, as well as a small decrease of the endothelial function .

We hypothesize that the significant quantity of energy drinks consumed by our patient, in the absence of any known genetic risk factors, contributed to the formation of the acute thrombus occluding the patient’s coronary blood vessel. We hypothesize that vasospasm caused by excessive levels of caffeine, along with possible effects from other substances in energy drinks, reduced flow in the coronary vessel to such a degree that a thrombus was able to form. A reasonable alternative hypothesis is that of smoking related coronary artery vasospasm.

Further research into the topic of energy drink toxicity in general, as well as cardiac specific issues, is needed, and although evidence to date is scarce, it is probably prudent to recommend limited consumption of these drinks.

Conflict of Interests

None of the authors have any conflict of interests to declare.

Authors’ Contribution

Daniel Solomin wrote the paper with editing and mentorship from Susan Watts and Stephen W. Borron.

JUST one energy drink is enough to cause heart problems, experts have warned.

They found guzzling drinks like Red Bull and Monster could narrow your blood vessels.

3 Just one can of energy drink could be enough to cause heart problems, experts have warnedCredit: Alamy

Narrowing arteries increases the risk of blockages – which cause heart attacks and strokes.

The new findings echo past studies, which have warned young people to steer clear of the drinks.

Scientists led by Dr John Higgins at the University of Texas in Houston said: “As energy drinks are becoming more and more popular, it is important to study the effects of these drinks on those who frequently drink them and better determine what, if any, is a safe consumption pattern.”

Dr Higgins’s team believe the combination of ingredients in the energy drink is what is potentially damaging drinkers’ blood vessels.

3 Just 90 minutes after drinking energy drinks, tests showed a person’s blood vessels narrow – increasing the risk of heart attack and strokeCredit: Getty – Contributor

They singled out caffeine, taurine, sugar and other herbal ingredients – warning they damage the lining of arteries and veins.

Energy drinks typically contain 80mg of caffeine per 100ml – roughly the same as three cans of Coke or a cup of instant coffee, the Food Standards Agency states.

But most also contain high levels of sugar, and are often sold in 500ml cans.

Experiments showed just one and a half hours after drinking an energy drink, a person’s blood vessels had narrowed.

3 Drinks like Monster and Red Bull contain very high levels of caffeine, taurine and sugar – which experts say could damage the lining of the blood vesselsCredit: Rex Features

Ultrasound measurements revealed before guzzling the drink, a person’s vessel dilation was 5.1 per cent in diameter.

That shrank to just 2.8 per cent afterwards, “suggesting acute impairment in vascular function”, the scientists warned.

All the volunteers taking part in the study were in their 20s, were non-smokers and had no previous health problems.

It’s not the first time energy drinks have been linked to health problems.


A HEART attack – or myocardial infarction – occurs when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked.

The heart muscle is then robbed of vital oxygenated blood which, if left untreated, can cause the heart muscle to begin to die, but what are the symptoms?

Heart attack symptoms can be difficult to spot for sure, because they can vary from person to person.

The most common signs include:

  • chest pain, tightness, heaviness, pain or a burning feeling in your chest
  • pain in the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach
  • for some people the pain and tightness will be severe, while for others it will just feel uncomfortable
  • sweating
  • feeling light-headed
  • becoming short of breath
  • feeling nauseous or vomiting

Past studies have linked them to heart conditions, as well as problems with the nerves and stomach.

Earlier this year, a Canadian study found energy drinks could trigger nasty side effects like heart problems and seizures in half of kids.

It led to calls for a ban on sales of the drinks to young people and children.
Professor David Hammond said: “The number of health effects observed in our study suggests that more should be done to restrict consumption among children and youth.”

Campaigners in the UK have been calling on the Government to ban the sale of energy drinks to kids under the age of 16.


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And many supermarkets and high street stores have taken matters into their own hands.

Waitrose led the way, in Janaury, banning the sale of the drinks to under 16s, after teachers said they fuel disruption in class.

Asda, Aldi, Tesco, Morrisons, Co-Op and WH Smith have also implemented the ban to protect youngsters.

Gavin Partington, director of the British Soft Drinks Association said: “Energy drinks and their ingredients have been extensively studied and confirmed safe by government safety authorities worldwide and nothing in this research counters that.”

These new, early findings, will be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions this week.

Will there be an energy drink ban in the UK and how old do you need to be to buy Red Bull and Monster?

Energy drinks are popular with people who want a power boost, including children and athletes. But these drinks, which contain caffeine, sugar, herbs, and other ingredients, may do more harm than good.

A recent study from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston found that having just one energy drink had a bad effect on the flow of blood through the arteries, which could lead to serious heart problems. Researchers did special tests of the blood vessels in 44 healthy students and then gave each of them a 24-ounce energy drink. When the tests were repeated 1½ hours later, the students’ blood vessels were much narrower. That means less blood can flow through them.

It’s not the first time that questions have been raised about the effects of energy drinks on the heart. A 2016 study found that energy drinks can raise blood pressure, which greatly increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Research from 2017 showed that they can also cause problems with heart rate. And other dangerous heart problems have been linked to energy drinks, even in young people.

It’s not clear what makes energy drinks hard on the heart, but it doesn’t seem to be just the caffeine. Researchers believe the combination of ingredients in the drinks may make them harmful. Energy drinks contain substances that aren’t regulated by the FDA, such as herbal stimulants.

Some of the ingredients may combine with germs in a person’s gut to create a compound called TMAO. High TMAO levels are linked to heart attacks and strokes.

If you’re looking for extra pep, here are some healthy ways to recharge your battery:

  • Get plenty of sleep.

Try to get a good night’s sleep whenever possible so you don’t become fatigued or sleepy during the day.

  • Take a short nap.

If your energy drops and you have 20 minutes and a quiet space, a power nap can give you more get up and go. But don’t nap late in the day because it could make it harder for you to go to sleep at night.

  • Drink lots of water.

Being dehydrated can make you tired. Be sure to drink water throughout the day.

  • Exercise

Regular workouts—or just a walk around the block—can raise your energy levels and help to keep you alert.

  • Eat small amounts of food more often.

Instead of 3 big meals a day, try eating several small meals or snacks during the day.

  • Lower your stress.

Feeling stressed takes a lot of energy. Try things like yoga, meditation, or spending quality time with friends and family.

  • Try some caffeine.

The caffeine in coffee, tea, and other foods and drinks can give you a quick burst of energy, but don’t overdo it. Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day—about the same as in four cups of coffee—is safe for most healthy people. A large study done in England last summer found that up to 8 cups of coffee a day reduced death rates. But if you already have heart problems, ask your doctor if it’s wise to consume caffeine.

Wonder how healthy your blood vessels are? Ask your doctor about tests that look for signs of harm in them, as well as tests of TMAO. These tests can help you understand your specific risks for heart attack and stroke, and take steps to reduce them.

Two energy drinks a day ‘increases the risk of heart palpitations’


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We all know that an energy drink can be great when you need a quick boost, but a new study is again calling their safety—more specifically, their effects on heart health—into question. Should you be worried?

A review of previous research, presented at the 2013 American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans, found that drinking one to three energy drinks could mess with your heart rhythm and increase your blood pressure. If severe enough, these changes could lead to an irregular heartbeat or even sudden cardiac death.

In the seven studies reviewed, which involved people between 18 and 45 years old, those who consumed energy drinks experienced a 4 percent change in the rhythm of their heart. In addition, their systolic blood pressure—aka the top number on the blood pressure reading—jumped by 3.5 points.

While the changes seem small, they can still cause problems for certain people. According to AHA spokesperson Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D., those with an existing heart condition or a family history of heart problems, like an irregular heartbeat, should avoid drinking energy drinks.

But if you’re generally healthy, do you need to swear them off? Probably not, but the key—like with most things—is moderation. Some men could have an undiagnosed heart condition that could land them in the emergency room after one energy drink too many. Just don’t overdo it by downing several cans in one day, and when you do drink one, keep an eye out for these side effects, which could signal a bad reaction:

  • Racing heart
  • Skipping or jumping heartbeat
  • Feeling jittery or anxious
  • Extended dizzy spells.

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Top 15+ Energy Drink Dangers

The dangers associated with energy drinks are getting a lot of bad press because of the sheer volume of energy stimulating products in the marketplace and the ease of access to these by minors.

While most energy drinks don’t have as much caffeine as a Starbucks’ coffee, they are heavily sweetened, have a host of other ingredients, and are easy to drink which appeals more to the younger demographic.

Therefore, we are seeing increased incidents of those 18 and younger having dangerous side effects from consuming too many energy drinks at one time. We are also seeing health ramifications from consuming too many energy drinks daily over an extended period of time.

15 Possible Dangers of Consuming Energy Drinks

  1. Cardiac Arrest: While our Caffeine Calculator can show people how many energy drinks at one time would be lethal, this formula doesn’t apply to everyone. Those with underlying heart conditions have gone into cardiac arrest after just a few energy drinks. Before drinking energy drinks or caffeine, be sure to know your heart’s health.-A new study showed that energy drinks cause more forceful heart contractions, which could be harmful to some with certain heart conditions.- One study showed that between 2009 and 2011 there were 4854 calls to poison control centers regarding energy drinks. 51% of these calls were involving children. src– Another study shows the link between energy drinks and cardiac events among teens. This study recommends that teens consume no more than one 250 ml energy drink per day and not before or during sports or exercise. . A 2016 study showed that 18-40-year-olds who drank energy drinks had a significant increase in their QTc interval, which is a marker of abnormal heart rhythm risk. Abstract.

    Research in 2018 showed that just 90 minutes after consuming a 24-oz energy drink, the inner diameter of arteries was halved. It’s thought that the high level of sugar and caffeine were to blame (more).

    A 2019 study found that 32 fluid ounces (about a liter) of an energy drink consumed within 60 minutes changed heart rhythm and increased blood pressure significantly in study participants. This was independent of the caffeine in the beverage. Source

    A 2019 study showed that even in healthy young adults, Red Bull significantly increased atrial electromechanical conduction times among study participants. The quantity of Red Bull consumed was just 330 ml.

  2. Headaches and Migraines: Too many energy drinks can lead to severe headaches from the caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Changing the amount of caffeine you ingest daily can cause more frequent headaches.
  3. Increased Anxiety: Those with 2 different genetic variations in their adenosine receptors are prone to feeling increased anxiety when consuming caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks. Larger doses of caffeine can even spur on full-blown panic attacks. The research.
  4. Insomnia: Energy drinks do a good job of keeping people awake, but when abused, they can cause some people to miss sleep altogether. This lack of sleep causes impaired functioning and can be dangerous to drive or perform other concentration heavy tasks.
  5. Type 2 Diabetes: Because many energy drinks are also very high in sugar, they can eventually wear out the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, which leads to type 2 diabetes.
  6. Drug Interaction: Some of the ingredients in energy drinks can interact with prescription medications especially medications taken for depression.
  7. Addiction: People can become addicted to caffeine and energy drinks. This can lead to a lack of functioning when unable to have the energy drink or financial stress from having to buy several energy drinks daily.
  8. Risky behavior: There was a study published in The Journal of American College Health which showed that teens are more likely to take dangerous risks when high on caffeine. This could result in injury or legal trouble.
  9. Jitters and Nervousness: Too much caffeine from energy drinks causes some people to shake and be anxious. This can interfere with performing needed tasks or cause emotional issues. This study shows how caffeine can elicit anxiety.
  10. Vomiting: Too many energy drinks can lead to vomiting. This causes dehydration and acid erosion of teeth and esophagus if frequent.
  11. Allergic Reactions: Because of the many ingredients in energy drinks reactions could occur, from minor itching to airway constriction.
  12. High Blood Pressure: Caffeinated products like energy drinks can elevate a person’s blood pressure. For those with normal blood pressure, this isn’t concerning, but those with already elevated blood pressure could be placing themselves at risk of stroke and other health problems related to hypertension if they consume too many energy drinks in a short period of time. The research. A more recent study conducted by The Mayo Clinic found that Rockstar Energy Drink (240 mg version) significantly raised the blood pressure of study participants compared to the placebo drink. Overall, there was a 6.4% increase in average blood pressure. More about the study here. A newer study published by the American Heart Association showed that energy drinks have a greater negative effect on blood pressure than drinks that contain caffeine alone as the active ingredient. They believe the combination of ingredients in energy drinks are why these beverages pose a greater risk of heart-related problems than drinks like coffee or tea.
  13. Niacin Overdose: Niacin (Vitamin B3) is placed in most energy drinks at levels that cause no harm and can even be therapeutic. However, if a person is taking additional supplements containing Niacin, overdosing on the vitamin is possible when consuming energy drinks in addition to those supplements. Symptoms include; Skin flushing, dizziness, rapid heart rate, vomiting, itching, gout, and diarrhea. Source. The British Journal of Medicine recently published a case study of a man who experienced nonviral hepatitis from B3 toxicity believed to have been from consuming too many energy drinks during a period of three weeks.
  14. Stress Hormone Release: A study conducted by The Mayo Clinic found that a 240 mg version of Rockstar Energy Drink caused an increase in stress hormone release. The average norepinephrine level of the participants increased by 74% while the placebo only caused a 31% increase. The study
  15. Mental Health Problems, Aggression, and Fatigue. A recent study conducted by the US Military found that soldiers who drink 2+ energy drinks a day are more likely to exhibit mental health issues, aggression, and fatigue.

Despite these serious dangers, quitting caffeine is often easier said than done.

Due to the addictive nature of caffeine exacerbated by anxiety and lack of sleep, actually quitting caffeine can be a nightmare.

If you want to reduce your caffeine intake (or quit entirely), here’s how:
1.Download our book Awake(it’s free).
2. Do the Overcoming Caffeine Withdrawal course at Udemy.
3. Use the Wean Caffeine supplement (something we helped get to market). It helps you avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms that often come when quitting caffeine abruptly.

From: Current Opinions in Pediatrics (Apr 2012)

World Health Organization’s Warning

The World Health Organization (WHO) just released a warning letter concerning the dangers energy drinks pose to young people, especially since they found 68% of adolescents consume them.

To reduce energy drink dangers, the recommend the following to government agencies:

  • Establish an upper caffeine limit on all products.
  • Enforce labeling requirements and sales restrictions to minors.
  • Enforce regulation of the industry to responsibly market their products.
  • Train health care workers to recognize and treat overdose from energy drinks.
  • Screen patients with a history of substance abuse for heavy consumption of energy drinks.
  • Educate the public about the dangers of mixing energy drinks with alcohol.
  • Continue researching the negative side effects energy drinks have on young people.

Their report is found here.

Moderation is Key

Too much of anything can potentially be dangerous, so moderation is recommended when consuming energy drinks. Caffeine (trimethylxanthine) and other ingredients in these beverages are drugs and should be respected and used in accordance with established recommended daily allowances.

To reduce the above potential energy drink dangers education is key. Consumers need to be aware of how much caffeine is in a drink or product and parents need to know exactly what their children are drinking and talk to them about what is safe.

Some stores are helping with this effort. Recently, supermarkets in the UK have banned sales of Energy Drinks to those under 16. Any drink with more than 150 mg per liter of caffeine must require proof of age before purchase (BBC). Other similar measures are being considered in other jurisdictions. Written by Ted Kallmyer, last updated on December 3, 2019

A healthy 26-year-old man in Texas who suffered a heart attack might be able to blame his condition on his daily habit of drinking energy drinks, according to a new report of the case.

The man told the health care workers who treated him that on the day of his heart attack he had downed eight to 10 energy drinks — and that he did that on most days, according to the case report. It’s possible that the man’s excessive energy drink intake caused a blood clot to form that partially blocked a blood vessel near his heart, leading to the heart attack, according to the case report.

“Energy drink consumption is a growing health concern due to limited regulation and increasing use, especially in younger demographics,” the researchers wrote in the case report. “With substantially higher caffeine content than soft drinks or coffee beverages, as well as other poorly studied substances, there is significant potential for harm, especially when consumed in large quantities.”

The man arrived at a hospital nine hours after he began having chest pain. His left arm felt numb, he was sweating profusely and he reported vomiting prior to his arrival at the hospital.

In addition to his daily energy-drink habit, he also said he had smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for the past two years.

Doctors treated the man for his heart attack, and he recovered. The patient went home from the hospital two days later. He said he would quit smoking and drinking energy drinks.

The excessive levels of caffeine and other potentially harmful substances in energy drinks may have reduced the blood flow in the man’s coronary blood vessel to such an extent that a blood clot was able to form, causing the heart attack, according to the case report. However, it is also possible that the man’s smoking led to the constriction of the coronary artery, the authors speculated. The man had no other apparent risk factors for heart attack beyond consuming a lot of energy drinks and smoking, the authors wrote.

However, any report of a single case should be interpreted with caution, said Dr. Robert Ostfeld, a cardiologist and director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the man’s case. This patient’s experience does not prove there is a cause-and-effect relationship between energy drink overuse and heart attack risk, Ostfeld said.

“Since it is just one case, it is always very hard to know exactly what the cause is,” Ostfeld told Live Science. “It is certainly possible that was related to the energy drink intake, but we could never know that for sure from a single case.”

Ostfeld said he has heard of other reports of heart attacks being linked to energy drinks, and there have also been some reports linking energy drinks to temporary heart palpitations. It’s possible that “energy drinks might transiently negatively impact blood vessel function, and make the blood more likely to clot,” he said.

But even those several reports do not prove cause and effect, he said. Further studies are needed to confirm the link. The FDA is currently investigating some reports of adverse events associated with energy drinks, according to the agency.

Nonetheless, Ostfeld said, “it is hard to argue that are healthy.”

There are other ways for people to feel more energized. “If you are looking to have a lot of energy, get some sleep and eat a whole-food, plant-based diet,” he said.

For example, beets have been associated with improving the efficiency of cells’ mitochondria, which produce the energy that people’s bodies run on, Ostfeld said.

The new case report was published online Feb. 6 in the journal Case Reports in Emergency Medicine.

Follow Agata Blaszczak-Boxe on Twitter. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science.

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