Commercially available energy drinks are much popular these days! They sure do provide that extra lap of jog. But ever wondered what actually happens in our body as we consume these Taurine and Caffeine-rich drinks?
To find out, researchers from the Mayo Clinic looked at the effects of consuming just one 480 ml energy drink, and their conclusion was alarming: the recorded increase in blood pressure and stress hormone responses were so significant that they could conceivably trigger new cardiovascular events. (Source: Science Alert)
To test their theory, the researchers gave 25 healthy volunteers aged 18 years or older a 480 ml can of Rockstar Energy Drink and instructed them to drink it within five minutes. The group had fasted beforehand and also abstained from alcohol and caffeine for 24 hours prior to the experiment.
On another testing day two weeks removed (in a random order), the same participants drank a placebo beverage designed to resemble the energy drink in taste, texture and colour – but lacking any of the caffeine or other stimulants found in the Rockstar drink, which includes 240 mg of caffeine, 2000 mg of taurine, and extracts of guarana seed, ginseng root, and milk thistle.
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What the researchers found when they compared the results of the two drinking sessions was that consumption of the energy drink saw a 6.4 percent increase in average blood pressure.
Further, the average norepinephrine level – the hormone responsible for mobilising the body into action, especially with regards to the fight-or-flight response – increased from 150 picograms per millilitre to 250 pg/mL in those who consumed the energy drink, whereas the placebo elicited only a 140 pg/mL to 179 pg/mL increase (a 74 percent vs 31 percent change, as the researchers point out).
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“These acute hemodynamic and adrenergic changes may predispose to increased cardiovascular risk,” the authors write. “Further research in larger studies is needed to assess whether the observed acute changes are likely to increase cardiovascular risk.”