Want higher blood pressure? Try an energy drink

A new study finds that these popular beverages may cause an erratic heartbeat and other health problems. It's the latest blow to the industry.

By Aimee Picchi Mar 22, 2013 2:25PM

Image: Blood pressure ( Photodisc/SuperStock)When consumers pop open an energy drink, they're probably expecting a jolt of get-up-and-go, not higher blood pressure and an erratic heartbeat. 

But a new study presented at the American Heart Association's meeting in New Orleans found that the energy drinks can, over time, lead to an irregular heartbeat and even death, reports Bloomberg News

It's the latest bad news for makers of energy drinks such as Monster Beverage (MNST) and Red Bull, which have come under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration. As my colleague Jason Notte reported in January, a survey of hospitals found that emergency room visits tied to energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011. 

With the latest study, its lead author says people, especially those with existing heart conditions, should be cautious when drinking the beverages. 

"Everything is good in moderation. Drink them within the limits that have been provided and be vigilant of what else you’re consuming with it," Sachin Shah, the lead study author and an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., told Bloomberg. 

It's not clear if the high caffeine content or another ingredient is to blame, and the heart changes don't seem to be lasting, the story notes. 

A past president of the American Heart Association issued a more stringent warning, saying that patients without heart problems or a family history of heart disease should consider staying away from energy drinks. 

"These energy drinks should be considered like we consider a medication,” said Gordon Tomaselli, a past AHA president and a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, according the the article. “They have a series of pharmacologically active ingredients, natural or not. They need to be treated with that level of respect."

More on moneyNOW

Mar 25, 2013 12:48PM
yeah...just what we all need, higher blood pressure and headaches.  Who drinks that crap anyway?
Mar 26, 2013 5:32PM

Why not consider all natural drinks to get a boost? For example, Solixir's Awaken, is for gentle energy. It contains all natural stimulants and only a small amount (30 mg) of caffeine. The cumulative effect of caffeine on a daily basis can easily put someone over the recommended  400 mg marker. Unlike many energy drinks on the market, every can of is made with effective all natural ingredients, botanicals and contains no added sugar. Visit www.solixir.com for more info. 

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