Energy drinks can affect heart muscles, new study from Texas A&M finds

Researchers urge FDA to review unregulated beverages

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BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A new study by Texas A&M researchers has found that some energy drinks can have adverse effects on the muscle cells of the heart.

The study, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, found that consumption of some energy drinks was linked to improper beating of the heart, cardiomyopathy, increased blood pressure and other heart conditions.

“Because the consumption of these beverages is not regulated and they are widely accessible over the counter to all age groups, the potential for adverse health effects of these products is a subject of concern and needed research,” said Dr. Ivan Rusyn, a professor in the Veterinary Integrative Biosciences Department at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Indeed, the consumption of energy drinks has been associated with a wide range of adverse health effects in humans, many of them are concerning the effects on the heart.”

Researchers evaluated 17 over-the-counter brands and were able to infer which ingredients may be contributing more to the adverse effects. They determined that theophylline, adenine and azelate were substances which can have negative effects on the heart, but said more research is warranted.

“This study shows that some of the tested energy drinks may have effects on human cardiomyocytes, and these data corroborate other studies in humans,” Rusyn said in a press release from the university. “Therefore, we hope that the consumers will carefully weigh the performance-enhancing benefits of these beverages versus the emerging data that suggests that they may have real adverse effects.

“We also hope that the Food and Drug Administration takes a closer look at whether these beverages may need to be carefully reviewed with respect to possible labeling of their adverse health effects, and whether certain age groups and susceptible sub-populations should be advised against consumption of these beverages.”

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Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.