Energy drinks may increase heart attack and stroke risk

August 15, 2008 in Heart Health, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Energy drinks may increase heart attack and stroke risk

Just one can of the popular caffeinated energy drink Red Bull can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, even in young people, say Australian heart disease researchers.

In this new report, 30 young adults had measures of heart health taken one hour before consuming one can (250 ml) of sugar-free Red Bull.  One hour after drinking Red Bull, the measures were repeated and compared.

One hour after drinking the popular beverage, measures of platelet aggregation (the "stickiness" or ability of blood to clot) increased to resemble the blood of a person with heart disease, says the lead researcher from the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

One can (250 ml) of Red Bull contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, about the amount in one cup (250 ml) of regular brewed coffee. It's thought that caffeine may contribute to the changes seen in these young people's blood.

If combined with stress or high blood pressure, this study's author warns that drinking Red Bull could increase the risk of blood clots that cause heart attacks or strokes.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, high blood pressure affects one in five Canadians - often without their knowledge.

If you have high blood pressure or any other heart disease risk factors, please consider consulting a registered dietitian for recommendations about energy drinks and other foods that impact your heart health.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.