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Energy Drinks Linked to Altered Heart Function

Dec 02, 2013 08:10 AM EST

Consuming energy drinks high in caffeine and taurine can increase heart rate in healthy adults, a new study has found.

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics had found that some 30 to 50 percent of teenagers and young adults consumed energy drinks. Health complications of consuming these drinks in large amounts include cardiac abnormalities, diabetes and seizures.

U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration had recently released a report showing that ER visits after drinking energy drinks jumped from about 10,000 in 2007 to more than 20,000 in 2011.

"Until now, we haven't known exactly what effect these energy drinks have on the function of the heart," said radiology resident Jonas Dörner, M.D., of the cardiovascular imaging section at the University of Bonn, Germany, "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."

In the present ongoing study, researchers looked at the negative effects of energy drinks by hooking up study participants to cardiac magnetic resonance imaging scanner. The study included 18 healthy adults who underwent MRI scans one hour before and after drinking an energy drink containing taurine (400 mg/100 ml) and caffeine (32 mg/100 ml), according to a news release.

Researchers found that participants' hearts contracted more rapidly after drinking the beverages. The increase in contractility was seen in the ventricle, which receives oxygenated blood from lungs.

"We've shown that energy drink consumption has a short-term impact on cardiac contractility," Dr. Dörner said in a news release. "Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of long-term energy drink consumption and the effect of such drinks on individuals with heart disease."

Energy drinks are quite popular with sales touching $9 billion in 2011.                      

The study was presented at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Recently, five people  died after drinking the popular energy drink Monster. Few months ago, 14-year-old Maryland teen died after drinking two 24-ounce Monster energy drink in a period of about 24 hours.  

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