Energy Drinks and Heart Function

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Story Updated: Dec 3, 2013

Energy drinks are big business. Consumers of all ages are now buying these beverages. despite some concerns over potential adverse side effects. From 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency department visits related to energy drinks nearly doubled. With that, researchers in Germany wanted to know how these caffeine-loaded drinks impact heart function.

18 healthy volunteers in their late 20's agreed to drink an energy drink with caffeine and taurine in the ingredients. They had cardiac MRIs before and one hour after consumption.

All had significantly increased heart contraction rates in the left ventricle one hour later.

The lead researcher says the amount of caffeine in these drinks can be up to three times higher than in beverages like coffee or soda. And while this small study shows a significant short-term impact on the heart from energy drinks, more research is needed to look at their effect long term.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the information you need to protect your health.