When many of us look back to the time that we spent in college, we typically can stop and think about all the times that we grabbed an energy drink as a quick pick me up. Most of us were not very far away from the Red Bull and we either had a can or perhaps even a six pack with us as we went throughout our day. It was the way that we got through and got everything done, but most of us didn’t realize the dangers.
Admittedly, most of us knew that it probably wasn’t the best idea that we ever had in our lives to continue to pound down one energy drink after another. Even if we weren’t majoring in nutrition, we still knew that the sugar and caffeine was a dangerous cocktail, at least.
The problem has become more and more evident with new studies revealing additional problems associated with energy drinks.
There are already well documented studies associating Red Bull or Monster to problems with the stomach, nerves and heart. Now a University of Texas research team is sharing its findings that show the mechanism associated with energy drinks.
According to that study, only one can of a popular energy drink could narrow your blood vessels in only 90 minutes. In doing so, the blood flow is restricted to vital organs and can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
The researchers looked at 44 students from the McGovern medical school. That school is part of the University of Texas and all of the students used for the study were non-smokers, in their 20s and classified as ‘healthy’. Researchers were looking for the type of effect that energy drinks would have on the layer of cells along the surface of the veins and arteries, known as the endothelium.
The endothelium function was tested in the subjects before drinking a single 24 ounce energy drink. A second test was taken 90 minutes after the energy drink was consumed. The research showed that the internal diameter of the blood vessels was cut down by approximately 50% in only 90 minutes on average! Why did this reduction happen?
It is suspected that the ingredients in the majority of energy drinks, including caffeine, sugar and taurine could have an impact. As an example, high sugar levels has already been used in previous studies to show that vasoconstriction occurs. Because the blood vessels are narrowed, there is less blood reaching the vital organs.
“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,” says Dr John Higgins, a professor of medicine at the McGovern School where this experiment was carried out.
This study produced some significant findings and it will be included along with other studies from April 2017 and February 2018. The findings will be discussed at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago.