Heart Function Boosted With Consumption Of Energy Drinks
August 28, 2012

Heart Function Boosted With Consumption Of Energy Drinks

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Energy drinks have been heavily scrutinized in recent years for their unhealthy effects on the body, with some expert studies claiming they are bad for your teeth, some finding hospitalization is increased with the consumption of the popular soft drinks, and even one report going as far as claiming energy drinks can be fatal. So it is unusual to come across one study that has found that energy drinks can have a positive effect on the body--particularly the heart.

That is the latest finding by researchers, led by Dr. Matteo Cameli of the University of Siena, Italy. The researchers found that energy drinks that contain caffeine and taurine boost heart function in healthy people. Findings of the research were presented today at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich.

“In recent years the energy drink market has exploded, with more people than ever before turning to these products as quick 'pick me ups', whether to stay awake during all night study vigils or gain the edge in sport,” said Cameli. “With energy drinks containing both caffeine and taurine concerns have been raised of adverse effects on the heart. While caffeine increases blood pressure, studies suggest that taurine may stimulate the release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum.”

In the research, Cameli and colleagues found that function in both the left and right ventricles of the heart increased one hour after consuming an energy drink. The team used echocardiography (ECG) on 35 healthy people with an average age of 25. The researchers found that diastolic blood pressure rose 6 percent, while an increase in heart rate and systolic blood pressure was not statistically significant--1.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

“This confirms that a standard energy drink consumption induces a light increase in diastolic blood pressure,” noted Cameli. He added that “these results show that energy drinks enhance contractions of both the left and right ventricles, thereby delivering a positive effect on myocardial function.”

Cameli said while the study showed improved heart function in young healthy individuals, more research is needed to see if such benefits occur in the wider population, and to also find whether “benefits persist after long-term consumption of energy drinks, and what the effects are of consuming these drinks during physical activity.”

“It will also be important to determine which of the effects are induced in patients with cardiac disease to further our understanding of the potential benefits or risks of energy drink consumption,” he added.

In an interview with Bloomberg´s Allison Connolly, W. Douglas Weaver, former president of the American College of Cardiology, said that too much caffeine can cause people to sweat and have heart palpitations.

“People are showing up in the emergency room and doctor´s office after having these drinks and not feeling well,” Weaver told Connolly. “Now we can see some of the physiological effects.”

The global energy drink market has grown 14 percent in 2011 to more than $41 billion, accounting for 8.7 percent of the nearly $500 billion global soft drink industry, according to analysis by Bloomberg Industries.