The latest research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, said drinking energy drinks, which contain a mix of caffeine and other proprietary ingredients, can cause more heart and blood pressure changes than same-size drinks with the same amount of caffeine.
The American Heart Association (AHA) said the study measured the electrical activity in 18 young participants’ hearts via electrocardiogram and that just two hours after drinking 32 ounces of a commercially available energy drink, their hearts' electrical activity was abnormal versus drinking a caffeine-matched control drink. Blood pressure was also monitored, and while both caffeine and energy drinks raised systolic blood pressure at first, blood pressure normalized faster after caffeine, AHA said.
“We decided to study energy drinks’ potential heart health impact because previous research has shown 75 percent of the base’s military personnel have consumed an energy drink,” Emily Fletcher, study author and deputy pharmacy flight commander from David Grant U.S.A.F. Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California, said in the press release. “And nearly 15 percent of military personnel, in general, drink three cans a day when deployed, which is more than we studied here.”
The energy drink and caffeine-only participant groups had similar increases in systolic blood pressure, however, systolic pressures in the caffeine group returned to nearly original readings after six hours, AHA said.
“On the other hand, those who consumed the energy drinks still had a mildly elevated blood pressure after six hours,” Fletcher said. “This suggests that ingredients other than caffeine may have some blood pressure altering effects, but this needs further evaluation.”