Consuming less than half a liter of energy drink is enough to increase cardiovascular risk, according to a publication in the leading scientific journal JAMA
Energy drinks, particularly popular with teenagers, have long been a source of suspicion among scientists. However, although rich in caffeine (but no more so than coffee), there is little objective evidence indicating any particular danger linked to their specific composition.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (Minnesota) hypothesized that in addition to an effect on blood pressure, these drinks could also cause stress and affect cardiovascular health.
Caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng
They therefore conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 25 healthy young adults.
Each participant drank, on two different days apart, the equivalent of 480 ml of energy drink (providing 240 mg of caffeine) or the same quantity of a drink similar in taste, texture and color, but without caffeine and other stimulants such as taurine, guarana and ginseng.
The investigators also performed various tests to assess physical and mental stress.
A stressful effect and an increase
The results show that in addition to the increase in blood pressure, which is higher with the energy drink (+6% for systolic pressure versus +3% for the placebo), taking the energy drink is accompanied by an increase noradrenaline secretion by 74%, compared to 31% after the placebo.Noradrenaline is a hormone produced by the body in the event of stress.
Indicators of physical and mental stress, however, did not differ by type of drink. The authors conclude that the observed changes predispose to an increased cardiovascular risk.
Svatikova A. et al., A Randomized Trial of Cardiovascular Responses to Energy Drink Consumption in Healthy Adults