Energy drinks may cause heart problems

Energy drinks may cause heart problems

  • Healthy living is a life style and it includes being informed on the latest health news so you can take steps to living a long, healthy life.
  • Energy drinks can cause heart problems according to research presented at the ECS Congress 2014 by Professor Milou-Daniel Drici from France.
  • So-called ‘energy drinks’ are popular in dance clubs and during physical exercise, with people sometimes consuming a number of drinks one after the other. This situation can lead to a number of adverse conditions including angina, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and even sudden death,” Drici said.
  • Around 96% of these drinks contain caffeine, with a typical 0.25 litre can holding 2 espressos worth of caffeine. Caffeine is one of the most potent agonists of the ryanodine receptors and leads to a massive release of calcium within cardiac cells. This can cause arrhythmias, but also has effects on the heart’s abilities to contract and to use oxygen. In addition, 52% of drinks contain taurine, 33% have glucuronolactone and two-thirds contain vitamins,” he added.
  • In 2008 energy drinks were granted marketing authorization in France. In 2009 this was accompanied by a national nutritional surveillance scheme which required national health agencies and regional centres to send information on spontaneously reported adverse events to the A.N.S.E.S, the French agency for food safety,” Drici continued.
  • The study analyzed health problems reported to the agency between 2009 and 2012. The research team included cardiologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, and physiologists. The results were compared to data in the scientific literature.
  • The research team found that consumption of the 103 energy drinks in France increased by 30% between 2009 to 2011 up to 30 million liters.
  • The leading brand accounted for 40% of consumed energy drinks. Two-thirds of the energy drinks were consumed away from home.
  • During this period, 257 cases were reported, which provided enough information for safety research. The team found that 95 of the health problems reported were heart problems, 74 were psychiatric, and 57 neurological. Cardiac arrests and sudden deaths occurred in 8 cases, while 46 people developed heart arrhythmias, 13 with angina, and 3 had hypertension.
  • We found that ‘caffeine syndrome’ was the most common problem, occurring in 60 people. It is characterized by a fast heart rate (called tachycardia), tremor, anxiety and headache. Rare but severe adverse events were also associated with these drinks, such as sudden or unexplained death, arrhythmia and heart attack (myocardial infarction). Our literature search confirmed that these conditions can be related to consumption of energy drinks,” Drici said.
  • Patients with cardiac conditions including catecholaminergic arrhythmias, long QT syndrome and angina should be aware of the potential danger of a large intake of caffeine, which is a stimulant that can exacerbate their condition with possibly fatal consequences,” Drici added.
  • Drici continued, “The general public need to know that so-called ‘energy drinks’ have absolutely no place during or after physical exercise, as compared with other drinks designed for that purpose. When used along with alcoholic cocktails, the caffeine in ‘energy drinks’ enables young people in dance clubs or elsewhere to overcome the unwanted effects of alcohol, leading to an even greater intake of caffeine.”
  • Patients rarely mention consumption of energy drinks to their doctors unless they are asked. Doctors should warn patients with cardiac conditions about the potential dangers of these drinks and ask young people in particular whether they consume such drinks on a regular basis or through binge drinking,” Drici concluded.
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