Energy Drinks Hurt Heart Health
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Have you ever downed an energy drink and feel your heart start pounding rapidly? As a new study explains, beverages meant to boost energy can raise blood pressure and disturb the heart’s natural rhythm.
The QT interval, which describes a segment of the heart's rhythm on an electrocardiogram, was observed in 93 participants between 18 and 45 years old after they had just drank one to three cans of an energy drink.
After consuming the energy drinks, the participants’ QT interval was 10 milliseconds longer on average. When QT intervals become prolonged by about 30 milliseconds, there is a high risk of irregular heart beat and cardiac arrest.
Researchers then moved onto measure the blood pressure of 132 participants who consumed energy drinks. The drinks also proved to have an adverse effect on blood pressure, with participants’ blood pressure scores increasing an average of 3.5 points.
"The correlation between energy drinks and increased systolic blood pressure is convincing and concerning,” lead study author Sachin A. Shah, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor at University of the Pacific, was quoted as saying.
These results show that energy drinks can damage heart health, but researchers warn that some people may have stronger reactions to the beverages than others.
"Since energy drinks also contain caffeine, people who do not normally drink much caffeine might have an exaggerated increase in blood pressure,” Shah was quoted as saying.
Older individuals or people with other health issues, especially problems with the heart, may also experience more serious effects after drinking an energy drink.
While you may rely on energy drinks to get you through the day, kicking the habit could ultimately save your heart; the choice is yours.
Source: American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions, March 2013