CHICAGO Healthy adults who consumed energy drinks high in caffeine and taurine had significantly increased heart contraction rates one hour later, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
"Until now, we haven't known exactly what effect these energy drinks have on the function of the heart," said radiology resident Jonas Drner, M.D., of the cardiovascular imaging section at the University of Bonn, Germany, which is led by the study's principal investigator, Daniel K. Thomas, M.D. "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."
Energy drinks represent a multibillion dollar industry that is growing every day. While teenagers and young adults have traditionally been the largest consumers, in recent years more people of all demographics have begun consuming energy drinks.
A 2013 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stated that in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency department visits related to energy drink consumption nearly doubled, increasing from 10,068 to 20,783. Most of the cases were identified among patients aged 18 to 25, followed by those aged 26 to 39.
"Usually energy drinks contain taurine and caffeine as their main pharmacological ingredients," Dr. Drner said. "The amount of caffeine is up to three times higher than in other caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola. There are many side effects known to be associated with a high intake of caffeine, including rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death."
For the study, which is ongoing, Dr. Drner and colleagues used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the effect of energy drink consumption on heart functio
|Contact: Linda Brooks|
Radiological Society of North America