17 May 2017

Energy Drinks Has 'Life-Threatening' Effects

Energy Drink
A new study revealed that drinking fizzy, sugary energy drinks can trigger potentially 'life threatening' changes in blood pressure and heartbeat.

The drinks cause 'profound changes' in the body – different to changes caused by drinking the same amount of caffeine in other drinks.

Researchers from the USAF Medical Centre at Travis Air Force Base in California say that people with high blood pressure, or heart conditions, might want to avoid the drinks.

Doctor Emily Fletcher, deputy pharmacy flight commander said "We decided to study energy drinks' potential heart health impact because previous research has shown 75 per cent of the base’s military personnel have consumed an energy drink."

The study showed that drinking 32ozs (946ml) of a commercially available energy drink resulted in more 'profound changes' in the heart’s electrical activity and blood pressure than drinking the same amount of a control drink containing the same amount of caffeine.

Researchers said that energy drinks often consist of a host of other ingredients such as taurine.

Researchers measured the electrical activity of the volunteers' hearts by electrocardiogram – and measured their peripheral and central blood pressures at the study's start and at one, two, four, six and 24 hours after drink consumption.

The researchers found that volunteers who drank energy drinks had higher 'central blood pressure' after two hours – and a higher QT interval..

Dr. Fletcher said: "The QT interval is the measurement of the time it takes ventricles in the heart, the lower chambers, to repolarise, or prepare to generate a beat again.

"It's the pause from the end of the electrical impulse generating the heart to beat to the next impulse.

"If this time interval, which is measured in milliseconds, is either too short or too long, it can cause the heart to beat abnormally. The resulting arrhythmia can be life threatening."

Dr. Fletcher added: "Those who consumed the energy drinks still had a mildly elevated blood pressure after six hours.

"This suggests that ingredients other than caffeine may have some blood pressure altering effects, but this needs further evaluation."