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 that cause heart attacks and strokes.
The findings echo past studies, which have warned young people to steer clear of the drinks.
“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,” scientists led by Dr. John Higgins at the University of Texas in Houston said.
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.
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 percent in diameter. That shrank to just 2.8 percent afterward, “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.
And it’s not the first time energy drinks have been linked to health problems.
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 the kids studied.
It led to calls for a ban on sales of the drinks to young people and children.
“The number of health effects observed in our study suggests that more should be done to restrict consumption among children and youth,” Professor David Hammond said.
Campaigners in the UK have been calling on the government to ban the sale of energy drinks to kids under the age of 16.
In the United States, however, energy drink consumption has increased substantially over the past decade among adolescents, young adults, and middle-aged adults, according to a new study appearing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
These new findings will be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions this week.