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Scientists Warn Energy Drinks Speed Heart Rate, May Impair Cardiovascular Function

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Feb 11, 2021

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Energy drinks elevate heart rate and may impair cardiovascular function, a new study concludes. The researchers warn the globally burgeoning energy drink market, valued at more than $53 billion in 2018, may negatively affect public health.

“Little is known about the ingredients that may contribute to the adverse effects of energy drinks on the heart. … Because the consumption of these beverages is not regulated and they are widely accessible over the counter to all age groups, the potential for adverse health effects of these products is a subject of concern …” Professor Ivan Rusyn, a study author who focuses on toxicology at Texas A&M University in the U.S., said in a statement.

Published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, the study evaluated the effects of a variety of “widely available” energy drinks on cardiomyocytes, or human heart cells grown in a laboratory. The researchers found, among other effects, the drinks resulted in an increased beat rate. They noted that within a human body this could result in improper beating of the heart, diseased heart muscles, high blood pressure, and other heart problems.


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Using mathematical models to understand which ingredients could be responsible for the adverse effects on the human heart, the researchers blamed three substances: theophylline, adenine, and azelate. However, they noted that further research on these is warranted.

With the present study demonstrating the potential adverse impact of energy drinks on human health, especially on the heart, the researchers urged licensing authorities to review labeling guidelines for energy drinks and suggested warning labels. In addition, they recommended that governing bodies should consider issuing formal guidelines that discourage certain age groups and other vulnerable groups from consuming energy drinks.

They also hope the findings will remind people to be more careful about what they’re consuming. “We hope that the consumers will carefully weigh the performance-enhancing benefits of these beverages versus the emerging data that suggests that they may have real adverse effects,” Rusyn said.

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Written By Devrupa Rakshit

Devrupa Rakshit is an associate editor with The Swaddle. She is a lawyer by education, a poet by accident, and a painter by shaukh. She has her own podcast called #DateNightsWithD on Spotify. You can find her on Instagram @devruparakshit.

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