Knocking Back Even One Energy Drink Can Make Young Adults More Susceptible to Heart Disease

Put down the Red Bull, kids.

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There’s a blog post paper due tomorrow, you haven’t started on it until 11 p.m., and maybe a little pick-me-up is what you need to power through the night and get your work done… It’s a common scenario from middle schools all the way to college classrooms. Procrastination gets the better of us, and we need an extra boost to get the creative juices flowing. Or maybe there’s a long night of partying ahead, and an energy drink is just what the doctor ordered.

Except it’s the exact opposite of what the doctor ordered (which is probably sleep, sleep, and more sleep). It’s not really a shocker that health officials aren’t fans of energy drinks, considering there’s research done on the effects that these gasoline-hued caffeine bombs have on young folks just about every year.

However, what is surprising is that a new study shows that having just one energy drink can have a seriously adverse effect on healthy young adults.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic worked with a group of 25 young adults without any adverse health conditions and no known cardiovascular issues. Each participant was randomly given either an energy drink or a placebo drink on two separate days.

Participants were then monitored for the effects the 16-ounce cans of liquid pep had on their bodies. Each person’s blood pressure and norepinephrine (a kind of stress hormone that provokes a person’s fight or flight response) were checked 30 minutes before and after their consumption of the energy drink or placebo.

Unsurprisingly, young adults’ blood pressure went up after drinking the energy drink. However, their norepinephrine levels spiked after consuming a can of energy drink, rising almost 74 percent (as opposed to a 30 percent rise after drinking the placebo).

The participant pool was relatively small with only 25 people, but the results are pretty damning. Norepinephrine controls heart contractions, heart rate, and breathing rates, in addition to increasing blood pressure. The amount of stress put on young adults’ hearts in this trial suggest that adverse cardiovascular events are much more likely to arise after consuming energy drinks — even if the individual guzzling down Red Bull or Monster is ostensibly healthy.

So maybe put down that guanine-caffeine-sugar-filled can of horror, and definitely don’t down two of ‘em in a row next time you need to rally your energy levels. You may end up breaking your heart, literally.

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