Energy drinks have been in the news as being dangerous quite a lot lately. Even teens who have consumed too much of these energy boosting drinks are finding themselves in the emergency room for heart attack and other cardiac symptoms. It has become clear that these drinks can become dangerous to many, but for a while, the side effects of consuming too many energy drinks were not clear.
The American Heart Association recently did a study of the effects of energy drinks and the results say, in short, that too many of them are very likely taking a toll on people’s hearts. The official results have not yet been published, so the study is still considered preliminary. However, the findings should be noted. Researchers studied people between the ages of 18 to 45, to see how their bodies reacted to consuming energy drinks.
In the first part of the study, the QT interval was examined. This is where the activity of the ventricles in the lower chambers of the heart is measured. For the 93 people studied that consumed energy drinks, the QT interval was 10 milliseconds longer than in those who had not consumed energy drinks. A longer QT interval has the potential to cause irregular heart rhythms that have the potential to cause potentially fatal cardiac arrest. Dr. Ian Riddock, co-author of the study and director of preventative cardiology for the David Grant Medical Center on the Travis Air Force Base in CA feels that these findings definitely require further investigation.
For the second part of the study, the systolic blood pressure – or the top number, was examined in 132 participants that had consumed energy drinks. In those who had consumed energy drinks, the systolic blood pressure was an average of 3.5 points higher than in those who hadn’t had any of the drinks. The authors of the study feel that these findings are significant enough to warrant additional study as increased blood pressure can cause serious health problems over time.
While the American Beverage Association denied that energy drinks cause any types of adverse health conditions, the study authors, as well as the FDA, feel that more research is warranted to ensure the safety of these drinks.
Although there have been many unusual reports of cardiac issues in people who had consumed too many of these energy drinks, it is important to remember that there are even more who occasionally consume an energy drink with no adverse health effects. It is likely due to this fact that no additional warnings have yet been issued, but it is never advisable to consume too many of these drinks, or to consume them for too long a period of time, as the potential for risks likely increases.
Many health care professionals are recommending that any types of energy boosting products be consumed only very occasionally, and in those with already elevated blood pressure or heart conditions, the drinks should be avoided all together.