A new research found that energy drinks packed with caffeine can change the way the heart beats.
The research team from the University of Bonn in Germany imaged the hearts of 17 people an hour after they had an energy drink.
The study showed contractions were more forceful after the drink.
The team told the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America that children and people with some health conditions should avoid the drinks.
Researcher Dr. Jonas Dorner said: “Until now, we haven’t known exactly what effect these energy drinks have on the function of the heart.
“The amount of caffeine is up to three times higher than in other caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola.
A new research found that energy drinks packed with caffeine can change the way the heart beats
“There are many side effects known to be associated with a high intake of caffeine, including rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death.”
The researchers gave the participants a drink containing 32 mg per 100 ml of caffeine and 400 mg per 100 ml of another chemical, taurine.
They showed the chamber of the heart that pumps blood around the body, the left ventricle, was contracting harder an hour after the energy drink was taken than at the start of the study.
Dr. Jonas Dorner added: “We’ve shown that energy drink consumption has a short-term impact on cardiac contractility.
“We don’t know exactly how or if this greater contractility of the heart impacts daily activities or athletic performance.”
The impact on people with heart disease is also unknown.
However, the research team advises that children and people with an irregular heartbeat should avoid the drinks.
PepsiCo Inc. has launched new drink KickStart that has Mountain Dew flavor but is made with 5% juice and Vitamins B and C, along with an extra jolt of caffeine.
PepsiCo is hoping to boost sales by reaching Mountain Dew fans at a new time of day: morning.
The company said it doesn’t consider KickStart to be an energy drink, noting that it still has far less caffeine than drinks like Monster and Red Bull and none of the mysterious ingredients that have raised concerns among lawmakers and consumer advocates.
But KickStart, which comes in flavors such as “energizing orange citrus” and “energizing fruit punch”, could nevertheless give the company a side-door into the fast-growing energy drink market without getting tangled in any of its controversies.
The drink comes in the same 16-ounce cans as popular energy drinks made by Monster Beverage Corp., which also offers options with juice content. And the TV ad features young men skateboarding, reminiscent of the marketing themes used by energy drink makers.
Simon Lowden, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo’s Americas beverages, says the idea for KickStart came about after the company learned through consumer research that Mountain Dew fans were looking for an alternative to traditional morning drinks such as coffee, tea and juice.
“They didn’t really see anything that fit their needs,” he said.
PepsiCo has launched KickStart that has Mountain Dew flavor but is made with 5 percent juice and Vitamins B and C, along with an extra jolt of caffeine
Simon Lowden said KickStart was developed independently from a Taco Bell breakfast drink introduced last year that combines Mountain Dew and orange juice. PepsiCo says KickStart, which is carbonated, is also not a soda because its 5 percent juice content qualifies it to be considered a “juice drink” under guidelines set by the FDA. A spokeswoman for the FDA said the agency doesn’t have definitions for what qualifies as a soda or an energy drink.
With the growth of energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull expected to slow, KickStart could also signal the emergence of a new category that plays off the promise of energy and other health benefits, said John Sicher, publisher of the trade journal Beverage Digest.
In a nod to the growing concerns about sugary drinks, for example, KickStart also uses artificial sweeteners to reduce its caloric content to about half that of regular soda; a can has 80 calories.
“It’s a very interesting experiment capturing a number of attributes,” John Sicher said, likening it to Starbucks’ Refreshers drinks, which promise ‘natural energy’ from green coffee extract.
The promise of “energy” has been a big seller in the beverage industry in recent years, with the energy drink market increasing 17% in 2011 even as broader soft drink consumption has continued to decline, according to Beverage Digest.
PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Co. have largely watched that growth from the sidelines, however, with players such as Monster Beverage and Red Bull dominating the market.
But the surging popularity of energy drinks has also led to sharper scrutiny. This summer, New York’s attorney general launched an investigation into the marketing prices of energy drink makers including Monster and PepsiCo, which also makes Amp. Lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups have also called on the FDA to investigate the safety of the high levels of caffeine in energy drinks for younger people.
Although KickStart may look like an energy drink, it has far less caffeine, at 92 milligrams for a 16-ounce can. A comparable amount of regular Mountain Dew would have 72 milligrams of caffeine while a can of PepsiCo’s Amp energy drink has 142 milligrams, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
By comparison, a 16-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee has 330 milligrams of caffeine.
Thirteen deaths have been linked to the consumption of Focus 5-Hour energy drinks according to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just weeks after an eerily similar report involving caffeinated drinks and death.
With the fatalities the energy “shot” has been additionally linked to heart attacks, convulsions and in one case a spontaneous abortion according to 90 filings with the FDA released to the New York Times this week.
The reports covering the last three years come just weeks after popular brand Monster Energy was similarly linked by the FDA to five deaths including of a 14-year-old Maryland girl.
Focus 5-hour energy, who voluntarily submitted their incident reports to the FDA complying with a 2008 regulation, has noted no deaths proven to be caused by the two-ounce “shot”.
The FDA’s director of dietary supplement programs said on Wednesday that the agency is looking into the death reports, including the direct link to each possible victim.
Describing its product as a “compact-sized energy shot intended for busy adults” and “not an energy drink, nor marketed as a beverage”, according to a company statement objected by the Times, they estimate the “shot” to contain “about as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee”.
The product does not list its exact caffeine content though Consumer Reports has figured it being around 215 milligrams – twice as much as an average cup of coffee.
Thirteen deaths have been linked to the consumption of Focus 5-Hour energy drinks according to a report by the FDA
Monster Energy, which sells its product in 24-ounce cans, in comparison contains 240 milligrams of caffeine.
When 14-year-old Anais Fournier from Hagerstown, Maryland consumed two cans of the energy drink, back-to-back, an autopsy found the teen died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity, impeding her heart’s ability to pump blood.
Worries have arisen on the quick swallow of two or more 5-hour Energy shots with each being merely two-ounces.
“We recommend on product labels and the 5-hour ENERGY website that individuals consume no more than two bottles of 5-hour ENERGY shots per day, spaced several hours apart,” Living Essentials spokeswoman Elaine Lutz, the products’ distributor, said in the release to the Times.