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Energy Drink a Day Linked to Heart and Hormone Risks

November 9, 2015 — JAMA has published a study suggesting that young adults who consume energy drinks may experience unhealthy increases in blood-pressure and stress hormones.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recruited 25 healthy volunteers over the age of 18. Each volunteer was given a can of Rockstar or a placebo.

One 16-oz can of Rockstar contains 240-mg of caffeine, 2000-mg of taurine, and a variety of other herbs. The placebo drink had a similar taste but no caffeine or stimulants.

Test subjects were told to consume the beverages on different days. Researchers checked blood pressure, heart-rate, and blood levels of caffeine, glucose (sugar), and the stress hormone norepinephrine.

After consuming a can of Rockstar, volunteers experienced an average 6.2% increase in systolic blood pressure, vs. 3.3% for the placebo. Blood pressure also increased 6.4%, vs. 1% for a placebo. Norepinephrine (stress hormone) levels increased 74% after drinking Rockstar, vs. 30.9% for a placebo.

According to authors of the study:

“These acute hemodynamic and adrenergic changes may predispose to increased cardiovascular risk. Further research in larger studies is needed to assess whether the observed acute changes are likely to increase cardiovascular risk.”

In March, the same researchers at the Mayo Clinic published another study linking energy drinks and elevated blood-pressure levels. Researchers warned about possible cardiovascular side effects, especially for young adults who did not normally consume caffeine.

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