Your Energy Drink Could Be Linked With Cardiac Arrest, Here's Why?

Energy drinks, often used to boost energy and alertness, may pose serious health risks if consumed excessively. A Mayo Clinic study found that they can trigger life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, particularly in individuals with underlying genetic heart conditions, leading to sudden cardiac arrest.

Energy drinks can be a lifesaver when you’re working on something and want to keep your energy levels high enough to meet the required pace. Whether working out in the gym or pulling an all-nighter to meet a deadline, energy drinks are a go-to solution to stay energized and awake. However, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic in the US suggests that your “lifesaver” can be life-threatening if not consumed in moderation.

A recent study published in Heart Rhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, Cardiac Electrophysiology Society, and the Pediatric & Congenital Electrophysiology Society, conducted by Katherine M. and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic, discovered that energy drinks can induce life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias in individuals with underlying genetic heart conditions. These drinks can significantly impact heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac contractility, and cardiac repolarization, creating a proarrhythmic state and potentially triggering sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Researchers analyzed the medical records of 144 patients who had survived cardiac arrest after receiving emergency treatment. Their findings revealed that seven patients, aged 20 to 42, had consumed an energy drink before their life-threatening incident. Of these seven, six required electrical shock treatment, and one needed manual resuscitation.

The highly stimulating and unregulated ingredients in energy drinks highlight another issue related to food labeling. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had previously asked companies to desist from labeling drinks as “energy drinks” after finding large-scale irregularities in the ingredients used to manufacture these products.

What do these energy drinks contain that can potentially result in health hazards?

According to FSSAI, caffeine, guarana, glucuronolactone, taurine, ginseng, inositol, carnitine, and B vitamins are the main ingredients that act as stimulants in energy drinks. Energy drinks contain caffeine ranging from 80 mg to 300 mg per serving, while there are about 100 mg of caffeine in a standard cup of coffee. Such a high amount of caffeine can enhance mental performance, but too much of anything is never a good thing. Another study by the Mayo Clinic says that up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults, but consuming more than two cans of energy drink can exceed that limit.

Taurine, in certain amounts, is a safe ingredient in energy drinks. The National Center for Biotechnology Information in the US states that guarana, taurine, and L-carnitine can increase alertness, attention, and energy, as well as blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Unregulated consumption of energy drinks could result in headaches, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, frequent urination or inability to control urination, a fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors.

Other researchers have also found that high consumption of energy drinks increases blood glucose, provides a short burst of energy followed by a drop, which can affect mood, and may also increase hunger, leading to overeating.

While energy drinks can provide a temporary boost in energy and alertness, their potential health risks, especially when consumed in excess, cannot be overlooked. It is crucial to consume these beverages in moderation and be aware of their ingredients to avoid adverse health effects.


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