Energy boost a bummer? Henry Ford Hospital study raises alarm about drinks

Apr 09, 2009 By Jeff Seidel

After downing three or four energy drinks every day for a couple of weeks, Jason Moore started to get severe chest pains. He thought he was having a heart attack or stroke.

But his doctor told him that the chest pain might be caused by the energy drink.

"I don't think they are safe," said Moore, 32, of Ferndale, Mich.

Now, there is research supporting Moore's concerns -- at least for people with heart problems.

If you are taking medication for high or , a new Henry Ford Hospital study suggests you should think twice before slugging down an energy drink.

"The conservative approach, at least in patients with heart disease or cardiovascular disease, is to just avoid these until we learn more about them," says James Kalus, senior manager of Patient Care Services at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and lead author of the study.

The researchers found that healthy adults who drank two cans a day of a popular energy drink experienced a 10-point increase in their blood pressure and a five- to seven-beat increase in . The study is published in March in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

"With healthy adults, these increases would probably not be a significant increase," said Kalus, who has a doctorate in pharmacy.

But Kalus said it could be harmful to people with heart problems, adding: "You might have undiagnosed cardiovascular disease."

The study builds on several others that have suggested that there could be dangers in using energy drinks.

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine claim people who mix energy drinks and alcohol are twice as likely to be injured as those who don't. Australian researchers say one can of Red Bull can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, even in young people.

And authors of a Johns Hopkins study said energy drinks should be regulated because of the levels of caffeine. The Monster energy drink label warns: "Limit 3 cans per day, not recommended for children, pregnant women or people sensitive to caffeine."

Kalus would not release the name of the energy drink he tested in the study because most have similar ingredients. He is not sure which ingredients cause the rise in blood pressure and heart rate.

"That's part of the problem," he said. "These energy drinks have many components. They have multiple vitamins, and caffeine and taurine are present in all of them. It's unclear from our study what specific part has produced the results we saw."

Patrice Radden, a spokeswoman for Red Bull, said the Henry Ford study "does not show an effect which would go beyond that of drinking a cup of coffee. ...

Health authorities across the world have concluded that Red Bull Energy Drink is safe to consume. Red Bull has been on the market for 22 years and last year alone, 4 billion cans and bottles were consumed worldwide."

___

KILLER DISEASE

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States. In 2005, 652,091 people died of heart disease (50.5 percent of them women). It made up 27 percent of all U.S. deaths.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

___

WHAT'S IN A DRINK

The energy drink market started about 10 years ago in the United States and has grown into a $6.5-billion-a-year market.

Most energy drinks include caffeine, sugar, a mixture of vitamins, and taurine, a nonessential amino acid derivative.

Amp Energy, for example, contains 71 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce serving. Its label says the drink also includes taurine, ginseng and guarana.

SoBe Adrenaline Rush tops that with 76 milligrams of caffeine for the same serving size and includes D-ribose, L-carnitine and taurine in its description of "energizing elements."

Full Throttle contains 72 milligrams of caffeine with carnitine, taurine guarana and ginseng on its list of ingredients.

By comparison, a can of Coke Classic contains 23 milligrams of caffeine.

___

(c) 2009, Detroit Free Press.
Visit the Freep, the World Wide Web site of the Detroit Free Press, at www.freep.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Energy drinks: The coffee of a new generation?

Feb 06, 2009

It's not uncommon for students to consume energy drinks to increase their concentration as they study throughout the night. "Energy drinks are the coffee of a new generation," says Stéphanie Côté, nutritionist ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

earls
not rated yet Apr 09, 2009
I have no idea why anyone would embrace and use these drinks - not only is the high not so, but the crash is horrible.

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.