New research by the Mayo clinic published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that drinking around 450ml worth of an energy drink significantly increases a person’s blood pressure and stress hormone responses, which could in turn increase the risk of cardiovascular events.
Researchers studied 25 healthy young adults with no known cardiovascular risk factors. Each drank just under half a litre can of a readily available energy drink and a placebo drink within five minutes on two separate days. The placebo drink did not contain caffeine or other stimulants such as taurine, guarana and ginseng, but had a similar taste, texture and colour to the energy drink.
Researchers found that in addition to increases in blood pressure after consuming the energy drink, participants’ norepinephrine levels increased more than twice as much when compared to those who drank the placebo drink. Norepinephrine is a “fight or flight” chemical that increases blood pressure and the heart’s ability to contract and it modulates heart rate and breathing in response to perceived stress.
Researchers said their findings suggest increases in blood pressure and stress hormones could predispose otherwise healthy, young adults to increased cardiovascular risk.