Energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster Energy, have become a popular alternative to sodas with their promise to give consumers a caffeinated boost of energy. But a new study shows that the drinks may deliver more than consumers bargain for, including potentially serious health risks such as increased blood pressure, heart palpitations and arrhythmias, anxiety, and insomnia.
Polish researchers asked 18 healthy individuals ages 20-35 to consume one of two energy drinks. One drink contained 120 milligrams of caffeine, and the other contained 360 milligrams of caffeine. For comparison, an 8-ounce of brewed coffee has between 100 and 200 milligrams of caffeine. A third group of healthy young adults drank a placebo beverage, one that contained no caffeine or other stimulants. Researchers then measured the blood pressure of all the participants at 15, 30 and 90 minutes after consuming the beverages.
Researchers found that the less-caffeinated drink did not significantly affect either blood pressure or heart rate compared with the placebo.
But the more highly caffeinated drink had a significant effect. This group experienced an average 9-point increase in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and an average increase in heart rate of five beats per minute. Some people in this group also developed irregular heartbeats, racing hearts, anxiety, and insomnia.
Other research has delivered similar results. A study from the University of Arkansas looked at the effects of energy drinks on blood pressure in healthy, non-smoking adults ages 18-45, and found blood pressure was significantly elevated in participants who drank one serving of the energy drink Red Bull.
An Australian study focused on data associated with the consumption of energy drinks and calls to a poison information number. Researchers found that between 2004 and 2010, nearly 300 calls were made from people who had consumed energy drinks. Common symptoms reported were palpitations, feelings of agitation, tremors, and upset stomachs. Some callers reported hallucinations, seizures and irregular heartbeats. Nearly a half of the callers who had consumed energy drinks had to be hospitalized.
Dr. Michael J. Breus, “The Sleep Doctor,” says the studies show that the energy drinks should be regulated by the government. “It’s … time for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get involved, and for these drinks to be subjected to greater regulation, including regulating the amount of caffeine that can be included in a single serving. Historically, energy drinks have been classified — and marketed — as dietary supplements, which are subject to only the most minimal regulation. Canada recently reclassified energy drinks as foods, opening them up to more comprehensive regulation. It’s time for a serious look by the FDA at doing the same thing in the U.S.,” Breus said.
Source: Huffington Post