March 26, 2009

Energy drinks may raise blood pressure

People who have high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid consuming energy drinks, researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit recommend.

Researchers found that healthy adults who drank two cans a day of a popular energy drink experienced an increase in their blood pressure and heart rate but no significant changes in EKG measurements were reported.

Lead author James Kalus, senior manager of Patient Care Services at Henry Ford Hospital, said the increases in blood pressure and heart rate were insignificant for healthy adults, but could prove harmful to people with a heart-related condition.

Based on our findings, we recommend that people who have hypertension or heart disease and are taking medication for them to avoid consuming energy drinks because of a potential risk to their health, Kalus said in a statement.

The researchers said they believe the caffeine and taurine levels in energy drinks could be responsible for increases in blood pressure and heart rate.

Both caffeine and taurine have been shown to have a direct impact on cardiac function, Kalus said.

Kalus added energy drinks should not be confused with sports drinks, which aim to replenish the carbohydrates and electrolytes that a body needs.

The findings are published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.