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Energy drinks intensify heart contractions

Red Bull CansEnergy drinks stocked on supermarket shelves across the globe impact the heart’s regular contractions, researchers have cautioned1.

A team from the University of Bonn in Germany tracked the heartbeats of 18 healthy men and women prior to and post consuming a typical energy drink containing a mixture of caffeine and taurine. One hour after drinking the beverage, the participants’ cardiac MRI results demonstrated increased strain in the left ventricle of the heart, the chamber responsible for pumping blood around the body.

Researcher James Dörner, of the cardiovascular imaging section at Bonn University, warned that ‘the amount of caffeine is up to three times higher than in other caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola’.

Dörner continued, ‘there are many side effects known to be associated with a high intake of caffeine, including rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death’2.

The British Soft Drinks Association already cites that these drinks are not suitable for children, and last month, Morrisons became the first UK retailer to prohibit the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children under 16 years old3. The supermarket is trialling the ban in stores in Glasgow, Dorset, Leeds, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Suffolk with a view to rolling it out further.

Little is currently known about the long-term effects for adult energy drink users.

Those who seek protection for their future wellbeing may turn to private health insurance. With private health insurance, appointments are often arranged quickly and advanced treatments could be obtained.


1 www.ibtimes.com ‘Energy Drinks Alter ‘Function Of The Heart,’ Caffeine And Taurine May Increase Heart Contraction Rates’, 2nd December 2013 (http://www.ibtimes.com/energy-drinks-alter-function-heart-caffeine-taurine-may-increase-heart-contraction-rates-1491352)

2 www.bbc.co.uk ‘Caffeine energy drinks ‘intensify heart contractions’’, 2nd December 2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25156509)

3 www.bbc.co.uk ‘Supermarket energy drink ban for under 16s’, 22nd November 2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/25052241)

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