Is it safe to consume energy drinks in any quantity?
It may only take one energy drink to harm your blood vessels
From students pulling all-nighters to fitness enthusiasts, many people use these boosters, but a new study suggests that a single energy drink could immediately harm blood vessel function.
How do energy drinks affect vascular health? A new study investigates.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), energy drinks are among the most commonly used dietary supplements in the United States.
The NCCIH note, specifically, that men “between the ages of 18 and 34 years consume the most energy drinks,” and that “almost one-third of teens between 12 and 17 years drink them regularly.”
Because they contain high levels of caffeine, taurine, and other stimulating substances, the safety of energy drinks has always been the subject of intense debate.
Mostly, researchers have been concerned about the impact of energy drinks on cardiovascular health. Reportedly, having more than two such drinks per day may endanger the heart.
Now, specialists from the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston are preparing to present evidence that a single energy drink may have serious negative effects on blood vessel function.
Dr. John Higgins and colleagues are due to present their findings next week at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2018, which will be held in Chicago, IL. During the 3-day summit, specialists will present the latest findings and advances related to cardiovascular health and care.
Blood vessel health acutely impaired
The study included 44 young, healthy participants. All were medical students in their 20s who did not habitually smoke.
The researchers tested the participants’ endothelial (blood vessel) function at baseline, to establish how energy drinks would affect it.
The participants then each had a 24-ounce energy drink. Ninety minutes later, the researchers again performed the endothelial function tests.
At the 90-minute mark, the tests showed that the students had poorer artery flow-mediated dilation than they had before consuming the energy drinks.
Artery flow-mediated dilation indicates blood vessel health. At baseline, it was about 5.1 percent in diameter, on average.
Following energy drink consumption, this measurement fell to 2.8 percent in diameter. The researchers explain that this indicates acute impairment of blood vessel function.
The authors of the study speculate that the impairment of vascular function may result from a combination of substances typically used in energy drinks, including caffeine, taurine, sugar, and herbal stimulants.
Dr. Higgins and his team explain that it is still unclear whether energy drinks are safe to consume, and in what quantities.
“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.”
Energy Drinks and High Blood Pressure
Just two drinks a day can make your blood pressure soar.
How Are Energy Drinks and High Blood Pressure Connected?
The deception with energy drinks begins with the word “energy.” Once inside the body, these beverages actually go to war with the body’s inherent ability to produce cellular energy.
By creating an acidic environment in the gut, these beverages actually inhibit oxygen utilization within the cells. In the moment, these drinks feel like they are giving you a boost, flooding the body with sugar and added caffeine, but the energy boost is short-lived and fake. It doesn’t take long for these drinks to zap the natural energy production of the cells, leaving you tired and feeling the need for more.
That need for more can be addictive and evenly deadly for some. In 2014, at least 34 deaths associated with energy drinks were reported in the U.S. Now, researchers are learning that consuming even a couple of energy drinks a day is dangerous for anyone and everyone, because they negatively affect heart rhythm and blood pressure, while also robbing the bones of nutrition due to their acid-forming effect in the gut.
Energy drinks raise blood pressure
The American Heart Association recently presented the new research linking “energy” drinks to abnormal heart rhythms. The evidence was brought forth by U.S. researchers from the University of the Pacific and the David Grant Medical Center and shows that two cans of energy drink a day increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythm and high blood pressure.
The study monitored 27 volunteers between ages 18 and 40. One group was given two cans of energy drink a day, every six days, for three weeks. The other group was given two cans of a placebo drink. Neither group knew what they were drinking. After the volunteers drank the two cans, researchers measured their heart rhythm and blood pressure four times in the six hours immediately afterward.
Those volunteers who were given the energy drinks showed an increased risk of heart problems. Electrocardiograms showed that their QTc intervals were abnormal. Both the duration of their heartbeats and the time required for their hearts’ electrical systems to recharge to prepare for the next heartbeat were negatively affected. Those who drank the energy drinks also had consistently higher blood pressure readings for two hours after consuming the drinks.
Energy drinks rob the body’s nutrition reserves, setting the stage for disease and injury.
The most surefire way to provide the body with true energy is to fuel the gut with enzyme-rich, alkaline-forming foods. Expert nutritionists recommend having a diet that is 70-80 percent alkaline-forming, which includes many fruits and most green leafy vegetables. When broken down and utilized, these foods leave behind an alkaline ash that contains important nutrients to provide real cellular energy – calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and/or iron.
On the other hand, acid-forming foods should be consumed sparingly. Once these foods are assimilated in the gut, they leave behind acidic waste that must be neutralized. Acid forming foods and beverages such as sodas, sports drinks, and meats leave behind inorganic materials such as chloride, phosphorous, iodine, or sulfur.
In order for these materials to be neutralized, important nutrients must be leached from the reserves in the body. After drinking too many sodas or sports drinks, one is more apt to feel inflammation in the joints, elbows, and knees. In essence, these acid-forming drinks rob the body from the inside, leaving a person more susceptible to disease and injury.
Some of the best alkaline forming foods include broccoli, carrots, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale, radishes, onions, lemons, limes, cucumbers, spinach, avocados, green tea, sweet potatoes, blueberries, papayas, grapes, kiwi, peas, etc.
Some of the worst foods that rob the body of essential nutrition, and which are most acid-forming on the pH scale are indeed … sodas and energy drinks.