RESEARCHERS found that a single can of energy drink increased blood pressure and stress hormone responses among young adults.
First author Dr. Anna Svatikova, a cardiology fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues found that young adults who consumed one 16-ounce energy drink showed a rise in blood pressure and an increase in stress hormone responses within 30 minutes, which may raise cardiovascular risk.
The team presented their findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015 on Sunday.
Energy drinks – marketed as beverages that can boost physical and mental performance – are growing in popularity, particularly among adolescents and young adults in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), energy drinks are regularly consumed by around 31 per cent of teenagers aged 12 to 17 and 34 per cent of adults aged 18 to 24.
But with the rise in energy drink consumption comes an increase in public health concern; the beverages have been linked to a number of severe side effects. A study reported by Medical News Today in 2013, for example, linked energy drinks to altered heart function.
What is more, a 2013 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found the number of emergency department visits in the US involving energy drink consumption more than doubled between 2007-11, from 10,068 visits to 20,783.
Caffeine is believed to be the most harmful ingredient in energy drinks; a single can or bottle contains anything from around 80 mg of caffeine to more than 500 mg. For comparison, a 500 mg cup of coffee contains an average of 100 mg of caffeine.
Energy drinks also have a high sugar content and may contain other plant-based stimulants that produce side effects comparable to those of caffeine.