(NaturalHealth365) To increase energy levels, most people reach for a cup of coffee or tea. However, in recent years, energy drinks have been the pick-me-up of choice, especially among younger people.
But, here’s the warning: Researchers from the University of Texas at Houston have found that these high-caffeine, high-sugar beverages have a negative impact on heart health.
Within just 90 minutes of having one of these drinks, blood vessels can constricts dramatically – by as much as half in some cases. This reduces blood supply and nutrients to the body’s organs and inhibits their function.
How energy drinks put a squeeze on our blood circulation
Keep in mind: blood flow constriction to the heart increases the risk of both heart attacks and a stroke. And, that’s exactly what happens when you drink these beverages.
In addition, their high sugar content raises blood glucose levels – which can cause (or make worse) metabolic disorders like diabetes and prediabetes.
For the study, the researchers examined 44 college students from the McGovern Medical School at UT Health. All participants were non-smokers, in their 20s and generally ‘healthy.’
Since the subject were young, they all had strong endothelium – which is the layer lining the inner walls of blood vessels. And, remember, endothelium integrity is crucial to heart health.
Now, for the shocking results: the effect of energy drinks on otherwise normal endothelium was measured using ultrasound both before and after consuming a 24 oz. energy drink.
Ninety minutes after consuming the drink, endothelial function was tested for vessel diameter and arterial blood flow.
How perfectly good blood vessels get damaged by just ONE drink
After just 90 minutes, artery inner diameter was reduced by half – from 5.1 percent to around 2.8 percent on average. The researchers believe this effect is due to the high levels of caffeine, sugar and taurine as well as many stimulating herbal ingredients.
As agitating as too much caffeine can be, the researchers believe it’s the high sugar content of these drinks that is the biggest culprit of severe blood vessel constriction. A drink like Red Bull contains 37 grams of sugar – equivalent to over NINE TEASPOONS.
However, caffeine is a factor as well, causing a rapid release of adrenaline in the body. Each 250 ml drink contains around 80mg of caffeine, which is two and a half times what a can of soda contains.
This hormone adrenaline raises both heart rate and blood pressure.
Editor’s note: This article should be considered a ‘red alert’ for young athletes, in particular. Don’t combine your high-intensity training with these drinks. The result could be a deadly heart attack.
The University of Texas at Houston study is the first research of its kind showing how and why energy drinks can cause harm. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health estimates that around one third of teenagers age 12 to 17 consume these high-caffeine sugary drinks regularly.
Find natural alternatives to energy drinks
Finding natural, low-sugar ways to boost energy is always better for long-term health results. If you’re a parent of a teenager reaching for one of these beverages: warn them about the heart attack risk, restrict their consumption and encourage healthier options.
For example, green tea, coconut water and fresh vegetable-fruit juices have (natural) energizing properties, and they are much healthier than high-sugar, caffeine infused options. Once you get started, you’ll never look back.
Don’t forget: good health is one of our greatest asset. We should do everything possible to protect it.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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