We cannot deny that some people, especially those who work in the wee hours, rely on energy drinks to keep themselves awake and alert. Does an energy drink have a bad effect on one’s heart?
Based on a study, energy drinks significantly increase heart contraction rates an hour after consumption.
A team of researchers, led by Dr. Jonas Doner from the University of Bonn, Germany studied the effect of energy drinks on the heart through the use of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Their study included 15 healthy men and three healthy women.
Doner and his team took cardiac MRIs among the subjects before and an hour after consuming the energy drinks. They used a drink that contained 400 mg/100 ml taurine and 32 mg/100 ml caffeine.
After comparing the two MRI results, the researcher found out that the MRIs taken after the energy drink consumption showed an increased peak strain and peak systolic strain rates in the heart’s left ventricle.
According to them, this ventricle receives oxygenated blood, which it pumps to the aorta, to be distributed to the rest of the body.
They admitted, however, that they still need additional studies to understand this mechanism and to determine how long the effect of the energy drink lasts.
“Usually, energy drinks contain taurine and caffeine as their main pharmacological ingredients. The amount of caffeine is up to three times higher than in other caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola,” noted Doner.
He added that aside from the added strain in the left ventricle, his team found no major changes in heart rate, blood pressure, or amount of blood pumped.
Their study also concluded that energy drinks have a “short-term impact on cardiac contractility.”
Meanwhile, Doner emphasized that side effects associated with consuming a large amount of caffeine include a rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and even seizures or death.
Despite the lack of knowledge about long-term risks, the study recommends that children and people with cardiac arrhythmias should refrain from consuming energy drinks, as contractility changes could trigger arrhythmia. (PNA)