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One energy drink is all it takes to hurt your blood vessels

You just love your energy drink. Pop a can, gulp it down and it keeps you going. At least that’s what the TV ads tell…

You just love your energy drink. Pop a can, gulp it down and it keeps you going. At least that’s what the TV ads tell you, and it is a lifestyle to crave.

But new research suggests just one energy drink may hurt the function of your blood vessels—that’s all that plumbing of artery, veins and capillaries that channel blood around your entire body.

Preliminary research from a study to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions found young, healthy adults experienced notably diminished blood vessel function.

It is not the first time that consuming energy drinks has been linked to some health problems, including conditions associated with the heart, nerves and stomach.

Some believe the side effects from energy drinks that affect the heart and blood vessels may be related to the drinks’ effect on blood vessel function.

John Higgins, M.D., of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston and colleagues studied 44 non-smoking, healthy medical students in their 20s by testing their blood vessel function before each of the students drank a 70cl energy drink—the volume equivalent of nearly two bottles of coke.

Researchers repeated blood vessel function testing 90 minutes later.

One and a half hours after consuming the energy drink, researchers checked the young adults’ artery flow-mediated dilation – an ultrasound measurement that indicates overall blood vessel health.

They found vessel dilation was on average 5.1 percent in diameter before the energy drink and fell to 2.8 percent diameter after, suggesting acute impairment in vascular function.

Higgins and colleagues believe that the negative effect may be related to the combination of ingredients in the energy drink, such as caffeine, taurin, sugar and other herbals on the endothelium (lining of the blood vessels).

“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,” authors noted.

But the energy drinks industry in Nigeria is not letting up. It has grown in volume terms, a growth only limited due to increasing saturation, with many brands fighting for share according to a Euromonitor International report.


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