Some popular energy drinks may put consumers at risk of serious heart issues, according to a new study from Texas A&M University. The study involved 17 popular and readily available energy drink brands, as well as the use of lab-grown cardiomyocyte (human heart) cells. When the cells were exposed to the drinks, some were found to beat faster and experience other unwanted changes.
Energy drinks are popular beverages; they’re consumed as a way to get a boost of energy for that all-night study session or work project. These drinks aren’t just caffeinated, however, and also include a number of other compounds, the variety of which varies based on brand.
The latest study found that human heart cells exposed to energy drinks experienced, in some cases, changes like increased beat rate and more. The effects, when translated to a living person, could lead to serious heart conditions — and this isn’t the first study to find the problematic link.
Past research has found an association between certain energy drinks and potential heart problems, including cardiomyopathy risk, irregular heartbeat, hypertension, and more. The researchers behind this latest study looked at a wider variety of energy drink brands, however, and went the extra step to identify which compounds in the problematic drinks may trigger the heart changes.
Three particular compounds may have negative effects on the heart: azelate, theophylline, and adenine. More research is needed, however, to understand the possible impact of the ingredients and whether certain groups of people are at greater risk of negative effects than others.