Possible Link Between Energy Drinks and Heart Attacks
A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine investigated the possible link between the consumption of energy drinks and heart attacks. I found this article interesting as we often hear of “that young marathoner just dropped dead doing the New York marathon….”
When we consider how many endurance athletes consume energy drinks to provide them with the stamina required to compete, it is certainly plausible that the findings of the study provide clues as to the correlation between energy drinks and sudden cardiac deaths and heart attacks.
The controlled trial examined whether energy drink consumption altered platelet and endothelial (the inner lining of blood vessels) function. Fifty healthy volunteers (34 male/16 female average age 22) participated in the study. Platelet aggregation (this makes your red blood cells stick together) and endothelial function were tested prior to and an hour following the intake of a 250ml sugar-free energy drink.
Compared with baseline values, there was a significant increase in platelet aggregation following energy drink consumption with no change found in the control group. Additionally, endothelial function decreased following energy drink consumption. The authors also noted a significant increase in the mean arterial blood pressure following energy drink consumption vs. control. Since heart attacks are associated with both platelet and endothelial dysfunction, the authors concluded that energy drink consumption acutely increases the risk of sudden cardiac death and myocardial infarcts.