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New Research Questions if Caffeine Energy Drinks Are Bad for the Heart

For those who work the graveyard shift or are stressing about finals, caffeine-infused energy drinks are frequently their only way to make it through the night when they are exhausted. But research has shown that drinking too many energy drinks such as Rockstar, Red Bull, or Burn can be dangerous for your heart. A case study that was published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine recently has shown that energy drinks can be harmful to your cardiovascular health.

“Our research is adding to the literature that describes a close association between concentrated caffeinated beverages and adverse heart effects,” stated the researchers in the abstract of the study.

The study focused their research on the case of a twenty-eight year old man who was suffering severe obesity. He was rushed to the emergency room due to vomiting blood after drinking energy drinks. During the examination, the doctors found that there was nothing wrong with the man except for a very high heart rate of one hundred and thirty beats per minute (the average resting heart rate is between sixty and one hundred beats per minute).

The patient in question ended up having a type of heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation that can cause serious issues if it is not taken care of. More importantly, though, was that the patient informed the emergency room doctor that he consumed two Monster energy drinks every day. This means that he was drinking around 320 milligrams of concentrated caffeine every day along with several beers.

The researchers noted that a regular cup of coffee actually contains more coffee than an energy drink by between 25 to 120 milligrams. The question became, what is it about energy drinks that make them able to alter the heart rhythm and increase the blood pressure while coffee has a reputation for being good for you. The researchers agreed that it may have something to do with the other ingredients that are in energy drinks, such as taurine. These ingredients could play a role in harming the body, as could the tendency of many users to combine energy drinks with alcoholic beverages.

This is not the first time that energy drinks have been linked to heart problems; last year, a twenty-eight-year-old woman had a heart attack after she spent $160 a day on energy drinks.

The current case study and research that was conducted in the past are more suggestive instead of conclusive when it comes to heart problems and energy drinks; however, the researchers are urging the public to consider which types of caffeine they want to drink.

“As the popularity of energy drinks continues to rise around the world, clinicians should really be aware of the dangerous potential of the drinks. They should consider screening for these types of products when they have patients who are presenting symptoms of an arrhythmia that is unexplained and to make sure that they explain the dangers that energy drinks may present,” the researchers concluded at the end of their study. They suggest that those who have a family history of heart issues steer clear of energy drinks.

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