Energy drinks raise blood pressure in caffeine naive
Individuals who do not regularly consume caffeine experience a significant rise in resting blood pressure after consuming energy drinks, according to researchers from the Mayo Clinic.
Researchers recorded blood pressure and heart rate before giving either a can of a commercially available energy drink or a placebo drink to 25 healthy adults between the ages of 19 and 40. Heart rate and blood pressure were recorded again 30 minutes after drink consumption and compared between the caffeine naive -- those who do not regularly consume caffeine -- and regular caffeine users.
The participants who consumed the energy drink experienced a marked rise in blood pressure, with the most dramatic effect in the caffeine naive. The researchers found that the overall blood pressure increase was more than doubled in caffeine naive adults after consuming the energy drink versus the placebo.
There was no change in blood pressure levels after consumption of the placebo drink.
"We know that energy drink consumption is widespread and rising among young people. Concerns about the health safety of energy drinks have been raised. We and others have previously shown that energy drinks increase blood pressure," said lead author Anna Svatikova, M.D., Ph.D., cardiovascular diseases fellow at the Mayo Clinic.
"Now we are seeing that for those not used to caffeine, the concern may be even greater. Consumers should use caution when using energy drinks because they may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, even among young people."
The findings were presented March 14 at the American College of Cardiology's 14th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.
An October 2012 study by Consumer Reports magazine found that energy drinks do not always have the caffeine content listed on the can. When the caffeine content is listed, it is often inaccurate.
Also in 2012, the FDA announced that it was looking into claims that 5-Hour Energy was linked to 13 deaths over a four-year period.