Energy drinks may cause serious increases in heart rates

On its website, CBS News reports that research presented at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting suggests that “energy drinks may cause serious increases in heart contraction rates within an hour of” consuming them.

The Huffington Post reports that investigators “recruited 18 healthy people – 15 men and three women – with an average age of 27.5 to undergo cardiac magnetic resonance imaging before drinking an energy drink containing 32 milligrams/100 milliliters of caffeine and 400 milligrams/100 milliliters of taurine.”

One “hour after consuming the drinks, all the participants underwent cardiac MRI to see if energy drink consumption had any effect on heart function.” The investigators “found that the participants’ hearts had increased contraction rates – indicated by increased peak systolic strain in the heart’s left ventricle – after drinking the energy drinks.”

The Los Angeles Times “Science Now” blog reports that the investigators “also looked for changes in heart rate and blood pressure before and after volunteers consumed the energy drink, but the readings in both cases were essentially the same.”

On its website, FOX News reports that researcher Dr. Jonas Dörner, said, “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.”

HealthDay reports that this “study raises concerns that energy drinks might be bad for the heart, particularly for people who already have heart disease, said Dr. Kim Williams, vice president of the American College of Cardiology.” According to Dr. Williams, “We know there are drugs that can improve the function of the heart, but in the long term they have a detrimental effect on the heart.”

Of course, as I always say about findings that are presented at a medical conference: They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.