Just one energy drink may cause changes in heart health, and could increase the risk of heart disease in the long-run, according to a new study.
The findings show that the levels of the hormone norepinephrine and the levels of blood pressure increased in participants after they drank a can of Rockstar energy drink – which has about 16 ounces (480 milimetres). Norepinephrine, also called noradrenaline, raises blood pressure when it is released directly into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands.
According to the study, the Rockstar energy drink contains a number of ingredients including, 0.8 ounces (2,000 milligrams) of guarana seed extracts and taurine, 0.008 ounces (240 milligrams) of caffeine, milk thistle, and ginseng root.
In the study – published November 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) – the researchers measured the heart rate, blood pressure, and blood levels of caffeine, norepinephrine, and glucose of 25 healthy adults on two separate days.
The 25 participants were placed into two different groups: one group was asked to consume an energy drink and the other group was given a placebo. The placebo did not contain the stimulants in the energy drink, but it had a similar colour, taste, and texture.
The researchers repeated the volunteers’ measurements about thirty minutes after they had finished their drinks. The participants also underwent tests that heightened their levels of stress, after which the researchers took their heart rate and blood pressure measurements once again.
After the consumption of energy drinks, the norepinephrine levels increased from 150 pg/ mL to 250 pg/mL (by 100 picograms per millilitre), compared with an increase from 140 pg/mL to 179 pg/mL (or 39 picograms per millilitre) in those who consumed the placebo
In the participants who consumed an energy drink, the systolic blood pressure increased from 108.4 mm Hg to 115.0 mm Hg (or by 6.6 points), compared with those who drank the placebo and who had an increase from 108.3 mm Hg to 111.6 mm Hg (or 3.3 points).
The same research group conducted another study earlier this year, and found that people’s blood pressure can be raised to unhealthy levels due to energy drinks
The findings of the new study were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in Orlando, Florida.
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