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Energy drinks notably diminish blood vessel function in young adults

EnergyYoung, healthy adults experienced acute, significant diminished blood vessel function soon after consuming one energy drink, according to preliminary research from a small study to be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2018.

Energy drink consumption has been associated with many health problems, including conditions associated with the heart, nerves and stomach. Some believe cardiovascular side effects from energy drinks might be related to the drinks' effects on endothelial, or blood vessel, function.

Dr John Higgins, of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston and colleagues studied 44 non-smoking, healthy medical students in their 20s by testing their endothelial function before each of the students drank a 24-ounce energy drink. Researchers repeated endothelial function testing 90 minutes later.

One and a half hours after consuming the energy drink, researchers checked the young adults' artery flow-mediated dilation – an ultrasound measurement that indicates overall blood vessel health. They found vessel dilation was on average 5.1% in diameter before the energy drink and fell to 2.8% diameter after, suggesting acute impairment in vascular function.

Higgins and colleagues believe that the negative effect may be related to the combination of ingredients in the energy drink, such as caffeine, taurine, sugar and other herbals on the endothelium (lining of the blood vessels).

"As energy drinks are becoming more and more popular, it is important to study the effects of these drinks on those who frequently drink them and better determine what, if any, is a safe consumption pattern," authors noted.

Introduction: Consumption of energy drinks have been associated with adverse events on the cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrine, and psychiatric systems, especially in those of young age, small stature, caffeine-naïve/sensitive, pregnant/breastfeeding women, those with certain medical conditions and/or taking certain medications, consuming multiple energy drinks in one session, and those with underlying medical conditions. Cardiovascular side effects associated with energy drink consumption may be related to effects on vascular endothelial function. Thus, we studied the effect of energy drink consumption on endothelial function.
Hypothesis: Consumption of energy drinks acutely leads to impairment of endothelial function in young healthy adults.
Methods: Forty-four healthy non-smoking young medical students, average age of 24.7 years (range 23-27 years), average BMI 23.4, received a blood pressure & pulse check, and an electrocardiogram. Subjects then underwent baseline testing of endothelial function using the technique of endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) with high-resolution ultrasound. The subjects then drank an energy drink [24-oz Monster Energy Drink®], and measurements repeated at 90 min later. The FMD was calculated as the ratio of the post-cuff release and the baseline diameter.
Results: Energy drink consumption resulted in a significantly attenuated peak FMD response (mean+/-SD): baseline 5.1+/-4.1% vs. post-energy drink 2.8+/-3.8%; p=0.004).
Conclusions: Energy drink consumption was associated with an acute significant impairment in endothelial function in young healthy adults. As energy drinks are becoming more and more popular, it is important to study the effects of these drinks on those who frequently drink them and better determine what if any is a safe consumption pattern.

John P Higgins, Robin Jacob, Farzan Husain, Ioannis N Liras,George N Liras, Brandon L Ortiz, Karan Bhatti, Benjamin Yang, George T Le

[link url=""]American Heart Association material[/link]
[link url=""]Circulation abstract[/link]

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