GUZZLING just one energy drink is enough to cause heart problems – with the effects kicking in after just 90 minutes, experts have warned.
Scientists found that drinking Red Bull and Monster could cause your blood vessels to narrow, which increases the risk of blockages and cause heart attacks and strokes.
Alamy Just one can of energy drink could be enough to cause heart problems, experts have warned
The findings echo past studies, which have warned young people to steer clear of the drinks.
Scientists led by Dr John Higgins at the University of Texas in Houston said: “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.”
Dr Higgins’s team believe the combination of ingredients in the energy drink is what is potentially damaging drinkers’ blood vessels.They singled out caffeine, taurine, sugar and other herbal ingredients – warning they damage the lining of arteries and veins.Dangerous levels
Energy drinks typically contain 80mg of caffeine per 100ml – roughly the same as three cans of Coke or a cup of instant coffee, the Food Standards Agency states.
But most also contain high levels of sugar, and are often sold in 500ml cans.
Experiments showed just one and a half hours after drinking an energy drink, a person’s blood vessels had narrowed.
Ultrasound measurements revealed before guzzling the drink, a person’s vessel dilation was 5.1 per cent in diameter.
That shrank to just 2.8 per cent afterwards, “suggesting acute impairment in vascular function”, the scientists warned.
All the volunteers taking part in the study were in their 20s, were non-smokers and had no previous health problems.
It’s not the first time energy drinks have been linked to health problems.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU’RE HAVING A HEART ATTACKA HEART attack – or myocardial infarction – occurs when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked.
The heart muscle is then robbed of vital oxygenated blood which, if left untreated, can cause the heart muscle to begin to die, but what are the symptoms?
Heart attack symptoms can be difficult to spot for sure, because they can vary from person to person.
The most common signs include:
chest pain, tightness, heaviness, pain or a burning feeling in your chest
pain in the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach
for some people the pain and tightness will be severe, while for others it will just feel uncomfortable
becoming short of breath
feeling nauseous or vomiting
Past studies have linked them to heart conditions, as well as problems with the nerves and stomach.
Last year, a Canadian study found energy drinks could trigger nasty side effects like heart problems and seizures in half of kids.
It led to calls for a ban on sales of the drinks to young people and children.Professor David Hammond said: “The number of health effects observed in our study suggests that more should be done to restrict consumption among children and youth.”
Campaigners in the UK have been calling on the Government to ban the sale of energy drinks to kids under the age of 16.
MORE ON HEART PROBLEMS
And many supermarkets and high street stores have taken matters into their own hands.
Waitrose led the way, in Janaury, banning the sale of the drinks to under 16s, after teachers said they fuel disruption in class.
Asda, Aldi, Tesco, Morrisons, Co-Op and WH Smith have also implemented the ban to protect youngsters.
Gavin Partington, director of the British Soft Drinks Association said: “Energy drinks and their ingredients have been extensively studied and confirmed safe by government safety authorities worldwide and nothing in this research counters that.”
These new, early findings, will be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions this week.
Will there be an energy drink ban in the UK and how old do you need to be to buy Red Bull and Monster?
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