New Study: Are energy drinks healthy for your heart?


AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new study of healthy, young adults finds just one energy drink has a negative impact on blood vessels and could lead to heart problems.

According to the findings presented to cardiologists, “energy drink consumption has been associated with many health problems, including conditions associated with the heart, nerves, and stomach. Some believe cardiovascular side effects from energy drinks might be related to the drinks’ effects on endothelial, or blood vessel, function.”

That’s why Researchers including  Dr. John Higgens of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston studied 44 non-smoking, healthy medical students in their 20’s and measured their blood vessel function before and after consuming a 24-ounce energy drink.

The student’s blood vessel dilation went from an average of 5.1 percent in diameter before the energy drink to 2.8 percent in diameter just 90 minutes after consuming a single energy drink.

KXAN talked with local cardiologist Dr. Peter Monteleone of Seton Health Care for a better understanding of what this study means if you are a frequent energy drinker. “This a signal that the energy drinks many of us are using and taking may have some negative effects and we are going to be looking into it and finding out more and more as we go,” he says.

Dr.Higgins and colleagues believe the negative effect may be related to the combination of ingredients in the energy drink, such as caffeine, taurine, sugar and other herbals on the endothelium (lining of the blood vessels), according to the American Heart Association.

“It’s quite striking that one energy drink on one person can have that dramatic of an impact and the question that arises from that is what really would be the long-term effects of that if someone is taking that one energy drink a day multiple days, for years if not decades,” says Dr. Monteleleone.

He suggests more studies as well as drinking energy drinks in moderation until researchers study the long-term impact on one’s health.

The preliminary research was presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association’s Session 2018, which brings together a global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

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