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Energy Drinks Could Have Unhealthy Impact On Heart Rhythm And Blood Pressure

27 April 2017, 7:39 am EDT By Andrew Norman Tech Times
A study concluded that energy drink consumption led to irregular heart rhythm and elevated blood pressure. However, health officials claimed that the study's findings were circumspect as it was conducted on a very small group of participants.  ( Justin Sullivan | Getty Images )

Many people favor energy drinks as they temporarily boost one's energy levels, imparting the ability to perform better while exercising or engaging in any physical activity. However, a new research indicates that consumption of energy drinks could cause irregular heartbeats and elevated blood pressure.

The United States army performed the new study to determine the effects of energy drinks. Most army personnel depend on energy drinks when they are deployed on the field. Therefore, the authorities wanted to understand whether these energy drinks had any adverse effects.

Harmful Effects Of Energy Drinks

The study was performed on 18 healthy participants at an air base in the United States. All the participants were aged between 18 and 40. The participants were divided into two equal groups. Each member in a group was asked to consume 32 ounces of a readily available energy drink.

The energy drink in question contained 320 milligrams of caffeine, 108 grams of sugar, and other herbal ingredients.

The members in the other group were given a control drink which contained 320 milligrams of caffeine, 140 milliliters of cherry syrup in carbonated water, and 40 milliliters of lime juice.

Researchers recorded the heart rhythm and blood pressure of members of both groups up to six hours after consumption of the drinks, and again the following day. Six days after the first round, the drinks were interchanged among the groups and the researchers recorded their findings.

ECGs revealed that participants who consumed energy drinks showed heart rate increase by 10-milliseconds, essentially altering the heart rhythm.

"If this time interval, which is measured in milliseconds, is either too short or too long, it can cause the heart to beat abnormally," the lead researcher of the study Emily Fletcher remarked.

While a 10-millisecond increase may sound trivial, even drugs which alter the rate by 6 milliseconds come with a warning.

Both the energy and control drinks elevated blood pressure. While the increased blood pressure came down in those who consumed the control drink, it remained elevated for a long time for those who consumed the energy drink.

Is The Research Conclusive?

Some healthcare officials do not completely agree with the study's results. They posited that the group of participants was too small to reach the conclusion in a reliable way.

Gordon Tomaselli , a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, pointed out that even though these drinks may show cardiovascular effects, it does not likely cause cardiac diseases in people who are not predisposed to such a disorder.

The results of the study have been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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