March 12, 2016 — Drinking just two energy drinks per day can trigger abnormal heart rhythm and increase blood pressure, according to a study presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Phoenix, Arizona.
Researchers enrolled 27 healthy volunteers between 18-40 years old and had them drink two cans of an energy drink, an equivalent drink containing panax ginseng (an ingredient in Monster Energy), or a placebo. They were instructed to drink the beverage once a day, every six days, for three weeks.
Researchers measured heart rhythm and blood pressure before the drinks were consumed and four times during the 6 hours afterward.
Volunteers who drank energy drinks had longer QT intervals, which is a measure of the time it takes for the heart to recover between beats. Prolongation of this interval is a sign of abnormal heart rhythm. The subjects also had slightly higher blood pressure for two hours after consuming the drinks.
According to lead investigator Sachin A Shah, an associate professor of pharmacy at Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences:
“Our findings suggest certain energy drinks may increase the risk of having an abnormal heart rhythm when consumed in high volumes. While we wait for more data, some consumers should exercise caution and not blindly follow the buzz.”
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