Norepinephrine is a “fight or flight” chemical that increases blood pressure and the heart’s ability to contract and it modulates heart rate and breathing in response to perceived stress.
The research participants consisted of 25 healthy young adults with no known cardiovascular risk factors. The adults drank one 16-ounce can of a commercially available energy drink or a control (placebo) drink in random order on two separate days. Researchers measured participants’ blood pressure and blood levels of norepinephrine before and 30 minutes after drink consumption
The placebo drink, selected to match the nutritional constituents of the energy drink, was similar in taste, texture, and color but lacked caffeine and other stimulants of the energy drink (240 mg of caffeine, 2,000 mg of taurine, and extracts of guarana seed, ginseng root, and milk thistle)
Norepinephrine levels increased more than twice as much when compared to those who drank the control drink and blood pressure increased.
Another study by the same scientist, published by the Mayo clinic, has again raised substantial concern with regard to the consumption of high energy drinks and their ability to drastically increase blood pressure. Energy drink consumption is particularly wide spread in teens and young adults.
The research participants consisted of 25 healthy young adults aged between 19-40, who were provided with either a placebo or an energy drink. Blood pressure and heart rate were recorded before and 30 minutes after energy drink/placebo drink consumption, and were also compared between caffeine-naïve participants (those consuming less than 160 mg of caffeine per day, the amount frequently found in a cup of coffee) and regular caffeine users (those consuming more than 160 mg of caffeine per day).
The research findings revealed a marked rise in blood pressure after consuming the energy drink as compared to the placebo. The impact was dramatic on the young adults who do not regularly consume much caffeine. The blood pressure in these adults more than doubled after consuming the energy drink vs. placebo.
“We know that energy drink consumption is widespread and rising among young people. Concerns about the health safety of energy drinks have been raised. We and others have previously shown that energy drinks increase blood pressure,” said lead author Anna Svatikova, M.D., Ph.D., cardiovascular diseases fellow at the Mayo Clinic. “Now we are seeing that for those not used to caffeine, the concern may be even greater. Consumers should use caution when using energy drinks because they may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, even among young people.”
1.Anna Svatikova, Naima Covassin, Kiran R. Somers, Krishen V. Somers, Filip Soucek, Tomas Kara, Jan Bukartyk. A Randomized Trial of Cardiovascular Responses to Energy Drink Consumption in Healthy Adults. JAMA, 2015; 1 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.13744