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Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function

November 05, 2018

DALLAS, Nov. 5, 2018 -- Young, healthy adults experienced notably diminished blood vessel function soon after consuming one energy drink, according to preliminary research from a small study to be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

Energy drink consumption has been associated with many health problems, including conditions associated with the heart, nerves and stomach. Some believe cardiovascular side effects from energy drinks might be related to the drinks' effects on endothelial, or blood vessel, function.

John Higgins, M.D., M.B.A., of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston and colleagues studied 44 non-smoking, healthy medical students in their 20s by testing their endothelial function before each of the students drank a 24-ounce energy drink. Researchers repeated endothelial function testing 90 minutes later.

One and a half hours after consuming the energy drink, researchers checked the young adults' artery flow-mediated dilation - an ultrasound measurement that indicates overall blood vessel health. They found vessel dilation was on average 5.1 percent in diameter before the energy drink and fell to 2.8 percent diameter after, suggesting acute impairment in vascular function.

Higgins and colleagues believe that the negative effect may be related to the combination of ingredients in the energy drink, such as caffeine, taurine, sugar and other herbals on the endothelium (lining of the blood vessels).

"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," authors noted.
-end-
Note: Scientific presentation is 1 p.m. CT, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018.

John P. Higgins, M.D., M.B.A., at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston, TX

Additional Resources: Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/aha-financial-information.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

American Heart Association

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