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Energy Drinks Alter Heart Function, Increase In Emergency Room Visits

New study on energy drinks high in caffeine and taurine show altered heart function.

  • MRI was used to determine heart function before and after consuming an energy drink

  • From 2007 to 2011, emergency room visits due to energy drink consumption have more than doubled

  • Doctor claims more research on energy drink consumption is needed

Energy Drinks Alter Heart Function Image by More Crave

Energy Drinks Alter Heart Function
Image by More Crave

A new study on energy drinks shows that energy drinks can increase heart contraction rates.  The energy drinks in question were those that are high in caffeine and taurine.  The new study on energy drinks was presented at the meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. “Until now, we haven’t known exactly what effect these energy drinks have on the function of the heart.  There are concerns about the products’ potential adverse side effects on heart function, especially in adolescents and young adults, but there is little or no regulation of energy drink sales.” Stated radiology resident of the University of Bonn in Germany, Jonas Dörner, M.D. Numbers of visits to the emergency room for energy drink related medical conditions have more than doubled from 2007 to 2011 according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  The number rose from 10,068 to 20,783. In the new study on energy drinks, an MRI measured heart rates in volunteers before consuming an energy drink, and one hour after.  The results showed a substantial “increase in peak strain and peak systolic strain rates (measurements for contractility) in the left ventricle of the heart. The heart’s left ventricle receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the aorta, which distributes it throughout the rest of the body,” reports EurekAlert. “We’ve shown that energy drink consumption has a short-term impact on cardiac contractility.  Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of long-term energy drink consumption and the effect of such drinks on individuals with heart disease,” states Dr. Dörner. While the study is ongoing, children and those prone to cardiac arrhythmias are cautioned against the consumption of energy drinks due to the potential to trigger an arrhythmia.

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