New Study Reveals What A Single Energy Drink Does To Your Body

Energy drinks are loaded with stimulants and, more often than not, sugar as well. That shouldnt come as a shock; its in the name. So surprise surprise, chugging these things is probably not great for your body. But with headlines suggesting just one can of the stuff could raise your heart disease risk, some Red Bull connoisseurs may already be panicking about their poor tickers.

The results of this latest study are not quite so sinister. What it actually revealed was that drinking a 480-milliliter (16-ounce) canof one particular brand of energy drink could lead to increased blood pressure and a rise in stress hormone levels in healthy adults. These short-term changes could predispose an individual to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

The investigation, conducted by Mayo Clinic scientists, involved just a small number of participants: 25 adults with an average age of 29, 14 of whom were men. Their mean body mass index was in the middle of the healthy range (25), none of them were smokers, and as far as they were aware they were not afflicted with any diseases.

The experimental setup was pretty simple.Participants were given a commercially available energy drink (Rockstar) and a placebo beverage to consume within five minutes. This took place on two separate days, the order of which was random, but no further than two weeks apart. The placebo was virtually indistinguishable in terms of taste, color and texture, but it didnt have any of the stimulants found in high amounts in Rockstar, and other energy drinks, like caffeine and taurine.

Image credit: Keith Homan/Shutterstock

Before each study day, participants were told to fast and abstain from both booze and caffeine. Both before each test and 30 minutes afterward a variety of measurements were taken, including caffeine and sugar levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. They also looked at norepinephrine (noradrenaline) in the blood, a stress hormone known to increase heart rate, blood pressureand the release of sugar from stores to prepare you to fight or flee a situation.

As described in JAMA, unsurprisingly, caffeine levels shot up after drinking Rockstar, but not the placebo. While heart rate and blood pressure were within the normal range and similar at the start of both the placebo and energy drink days, average blood pressure increased after consuming the latter, although heart rate remained unchanged in both conditions. Additionally, norepinephrine levelsrose after consuming Rockstar, and it is the combination of these two effects that the scientists state may predispose to increased heart disease risk.

Weve known for a while that caffeine can raise blood pressure, and considering these beverages often contain upwards of 200 milligrams of the stuff, that finding isnt particularly surprising. And weve already noted obvious limitations of the study: a small sample and using only one energy drink. Furthermore, as pointed out by Tracy Parker, Heart Health Dietician at the British Heart Foundation, the study failed to identify what precisely was responsible for the observed increase in norepinephrine and blood pressure.

“It is hard to pinpoint whether it is the caffeine, other stimulants or a combination of ingredients in energy drinks that cause this effect and whether this would lead to any heart problems,” Parker told IFLScience. “However, more research is needed into the effects of energy drinks on the body.”

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Health effects of coffee: Where do we stand?

(CNN)It’s one of the age-old medical flip-flops: First coffee’s good for you, then it’s not, then it is — you get the picture.

Today, the verdict is thumbs up, with study after study extolling the merits of three to five cups of black coffee a day in reducing risk for everything from melanoma to heart disease, multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, computer-related back pain and more.
To stay completely healthy with your coffee consumption, you’ll want to avoid packing it with calorie laden creams, sugars and flavors. And be aware that a cup of coffee in these studies is only 8 ounces; the standard “grande” cup at the coffee shop is double that at 16 ounces.
    And how you brew it has health consequences. Unlike filter coffee makers, the French press, Turkish coffee or the boiled coffee popular in Scandinavian countries fail to catch a compound called cafestol in the oily part of coffee that can increase your bad cholesterol or LDL.
    Finally, people with sleep issues or uncontrolled diabetes should check with a doctor before adding caffeine to their diets, as should pregnant women, as there is some concern about caffeine’s effect on fetal growth and miscarriage. And some of the latest research seems to say that our genes may be responsible for how we react to coffee, explaining why some of us need several cups to get a boost while others get the jitters on only one.
    But as you know, the news on coffee has not always been positive. And the argument over the merits of your daily cup of joe dates back centuries. Let’s take a look at the timeline.
    1500’s headline: Coffee leads to illegal sex
    Legend has it that coffee was discovered by Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd, after he caught his suddenly frisky goats eating glossy green leaves and red berries and then tried it for himself. But it was the Arabs who first started coffeehouses, and that’s where coffee got its first black mark.
    Patrons of coffeehouses were said to be more likely to gamble and engage in “criminally unorthodox sexual situations,” according to author Ralph Hattox. By 1511 the mayor of Mecca shut them down. He cited medical and religious reasons, saying coffee was an intoxicant and thus prohibited by Islamic law, even though scholars like Mark Pendergrast believe it was more likely a reaction to the unpopular comments about his leadership. The ban didn’t last long, says Pendergrast, adding that coffee became so important in Turkey that “a lack of sufficient coffee provided grounds for a woman to seek a divorce.”
    1600’s headline: Coffee cures alcoholism but causes impotence
    As the popularity of coffee grew and spread across the continent, the medical community began to extol its benefits. It was especially popular in England as a cure for alcoholism, one of the biggest medical problems of the time; after all, water wasn’t always safe to drink, so most men, women and even children drank the hard stuff.
    Local ads such as this one in 1652 by coffee shop owner Pasqua Rose popularized coffee’s healthy status, claiming coffee could aid digestion, prevent and cure gout and scurvy, help coughs, headaches and stomachaches, even prevent miscarriages.
    But in London, women were concerned that their men were becoming impotent, and in 1674 The Women’s Petition Against Coffee asked for the closing of all coffeehouses, saying in part: “We find of late a very sensible Decay of that true Old English Vigour. … Never did Men wear greater Breeches, or carry less in them…”
    1700’s headline: Coffee helps you work longer
    By 1730, tea had replaced coffee in London as the daily drink of choice. That preference continued in the colonies until 1773, when the famous Boston Tea Party made it unpatriotic to drink tea. Coffeehouses popped up everywhere, and the marvelous stimulant qualities of the brew were said to contribute to the ability of the colonists to work longer hours.
    1800’s headline: Coffee will make you go blind. Have a cup of hot wheat-bran drink instead
    In the mid-1800s America was at war with itself and one side effect is that coffee supplies ran short. Enter toasted grain-based beverage substitutes such as Kellogg’s “Caramel Coffee” and C.W. Post’s “Postum” (still manufactured). They advertised with anti-coffee tirades to boost sales. C.W. Post’s ads were especially vicious, says Pendergrast, claiming coffee was as bad as morphine, cocaine, nicotine or strychnine and could cause blindness.
    1916 headline: Coffee stunts your growth
    While inventions and improvements in coffee pots, filters and processing advanced at a quick pace throughout the 1900s, so did medical concerns and negative public beliefs about the benefits of coffee.
    Good Housekeeping magazine wrote about how coffee stunts growth. And concerns continued to grow about coffee’s impact on common aliments of the era, such as nervousness, heart palpitations, indigestion and insomnia.
    1927 headline: Coffee will give you bad grades, kids
    In Science Magazine, on September 2, 1927, 80,000 elementary and junior high kids were asked about their coffee drinking habits. Researchers found the “startling” fact that most of them drank more than a cup of coffee a day, which was then compared to scholarship with mostly negative results.
    1970’s and ’80’s headline: Coffee is as serious as a heart attack
    A 1973 study in the New England Journal of Medicine of more than 12,000 patients found drinking one to five cups of coffee a day increased risk of heart attacks by 60% while drinking six or more cups a day doubled that risk to 120%.
    Another New England Journal of Medicine study, in 1978, found a short-term rise in blood pressure after three cups of coffee. Authors called for further research into caffeine and hypertension.
    A 38-year study by the Johns Hopkins Medical School of more than a 1,000 medical students found in 1985 that those who drank five or more cups of coffee a day were 2.8 times as likely to develop heart problems compared to those who don’t consume coffee. But the study only asked questions every five years, and didn’t isolate smoking behavior or many other negative behaviors that tend to go along with coffee, such as doughnuts. Or “Doooonuts,” if you’re Homer Simpson.
    Millennium headline: Coffee goes meta
    Now begins the era of the meta-analysis, where researchers look at hundreds of studies and apply scientific principles to find those that do the best job of randomizing and controlling for compounding factors, such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and many other lifestyles issues. That means that a specific study, which may or may not meet certain standards, can’t “tip the balance” one way or another. We take a look at some of the years. The results for coffee? Mostly good.
    2001 headline: Coffee increases risk of urinary tract cancer
    But first, a negative: A 2001 study found a 20% increase in the risk of urinary tract cancer risk for coffee drinkers, but not tea drinkers. That finding was repeated in a 2015 meta-analysis. So, if this is a risk factor in your family history, you might want to switch to tea.
    2007 headline: Coffee decreases risk of liver cancer
    Some of these data analyses found preventive benefits for cancer from drinking coffee, such as this one, which showed drinking two cups of black coffee a day could reduce the risk of liver cancer by 43%. Those findings were replicated in 2013 in two other studies.
    2010 headline: Coffee and lung disease go together like coffee and smoking
    A meta-analysis found a correlation between coffee consumption and lung disease, but the study found it impossible to completely eliminate the confounding effects of smoking.
    2011 headline: Coffee reduces risk of stroke and prostate cancer
    A meta-analysis of 11 studies on the link between stroke risk and coffee consumption between 1966 and 2011, with nearly a half a million participants, found no negative connection. In fact, there was a small benefit in moderate consumption, which is considered to be three to five cups of black coffee a day. Another meta-analysis of studies between 2001 and 2011 found four or more cups a day had a preventive effect on the risk of stroke.
    As for prostate cancer, this 2011 study followed nearly 59,000 men from 1986 to 2006 and found drinking coffee to be highly associated with lower risk for the lethal form of the disease.
    2012 headline: Coffee lowers risk of heart failure
    More meta-analysis of studies on heart failure found four cups a day provided the lowest risk for heart failure, and you had to drink a whopping 10 cups a day to get a bad association.
    2013 headline: Coffee lowers risk of heart disease and helps you live longer
    For general heart disease a meta-analysis of 36 studies with more than 1.2 million participants found moderate coffee drinking seemed to be associated with a low risk for heart disease; plus, there wasn’t a higher risk among those who drank more than five cups a day.
    How about coffee’s effects on your overall risk of death? One analysis of 20 studies, and another that included 17 studies, both of which included more than a million people, found drinking coffee reduced your total mortality risk slightly.
    2015 headline: Coffee is practically a health food
    As a sign of the times, the U.S. Department of Agriculture now agrees that “coffee can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle,” especially if you stay within three to five cups a day (a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine), and avoid fattening cream and sugar. You can read their analysis of the latest data on everything from diabetes to chronic disease here.
    2017 headline: Yes, coffee still leads to a longer life
    The largest study to date on coffee and mortality surveyed 520,000 people in 10 European countries and found that regularly drinking coffee could significantly lower the risk of death.
    Another study with a focus on non-white populations had similar findings. That study surveyed 185,000 African-Americans, Native Americans, Hawaiians, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites. The varying lifestyles and dietary habits of the people observed in both studies led the authors to believe that coffee’s impact on longevity doesn’t have to do with how its prepared or how people drink it — it has to do with the beverage’s biological effect on the body.
    But stay tuned. There’s sure to be another meta-study, and another opinion. We’ll keep you updated.

    Read more:

    ‘Heart health: A beginner’s guide to cardiovascular disease’ – free online course on

    Sign up now at . 'Heart health: A beginner's guide to cardiovascular disease' is a free online course by the University of Reading available on

    Your heart beats around 100,000 times a day, pumping blood around your body to deliver oxygen and nutrients while taking away waste products. When your heart is unhealthy it can’t perform this vital task so effectively. This can cause significant health problems – cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK and around the world an estimated 17 million people die of cardiovascular disease each year. Heart disease is something that touches many lives, but can be difficult to understand. This four-week course aims to improve your knowledge of how the heart works, the effects of heart disease and what you can do to avoid it.

    Throughout the four weeks of this course we’ll explore the anatomy of the heart, explaining how the circulatory system works and what it does. We’ll then introduce some of the most common cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart failure. We’ll help you to understand their effects on the body, why they happen and what can be done to prevent them. In the final week we’ll examine the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and what can be done to keep your heart healthy.

    Each week you’ll have the opportunity to get hands on and do a practical activity, helping you to apply the knowledge you’ll gain on the course to better understand your own heart.

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    Gut Bacteria, Cholesterol & Heart Disease w/ Dr. Mark Houston

    Access the show notes:

    5:01 Advanced Lipid Testing: In the U.S., we tend to think that if we get lipids/fats under control, no one will have heart attacks. Measuring only blood cholesterol ignores other important risk factors. The methodologies that measures lipids are not done with advanced testing. Doctors perform the obsolete total quantity testing for HDL, LDL, cholesterol, and triglycerides; but particle size, particle number and, in some cases, the functionality of HDL, with reverse cholesterol transport.

    6:35 Big LDLs and Small LDLs. It makes a difference: Heart disease and heart attack risk is driven by the number of LDL particles and the size of LDL particles. If LDL particles are small and in great number, they slip through the lining of the vascular system and cause inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune dysfunction. It creates a plaque formation with ruptures and causes a heart attack. Think of the lining of the vascular system as the net on a tennis court. A tennis ball won’t go through the net, but a golf ball will. The tennis ball is a large LDL and a golf ball is a small LDL. A lot of golf balls going through the net, begins the inflammatory process. Generally, the tennis ball, larger LDL is not a problem.

    8:10 HDL is the Cleanup Crew: If you have a lot of golf balls on the wrong side of the net, you might be able to fill your wheelbarrow with them in one trip. If you only have a bucket, you might have to make multiple trips to pick up the golf balls. If your wheelbarrow has a flat tire or broken handle, you still won’t be able to remove very many golf balls. You want your HDLs to be big and you want them to function well. You want a lot of wheelbarrows and you want them operating optimally.

    9:22 What Causes Dysfunctional HDL? It is most often caused by inflammation from any cause, but it could be from things like rheumatoid arthritis or chronic infection. Heavy metals could be the cause. Dysfunctional HDL can also be caused by poor micronutrient intake or poor macronutrient intake. When HDL is damaged, there is no oxidative defense, there is poor reverse cholesterol transport and there are none of the other activities that HDL does to prevent atherosclerosis. Basic lipid testing does not differentiate between adequately functioning HDL and poorly functioning HDL. Advanced lipid testing shows the various conditions and activities of HDL.

    10:53 What Happens When Small LDL’s Get into Our Cardiovascular System? Small LDLs are more likely to be modified. Glucose can cause oxidation, inflammation, glycation, or acetylation of HDL. It is common in people who are diabetic or have insulin resistance, obesity, or metabolic syndrome. Small LDLs stick in the subendothelial layer and you cannot get them out. A type of white cell, called macrophages, moves into the layer below the endothelium because they love to eat small LDLs. They have no appetite control. They eat small LDLs until they burst. The mess literally ruptures into the subendothelial layer and even into the lumen, causing the area to clot, eventually creating a myocardial infarction/heart attack.

    12:36 How Can We Stop the Golf Balls? There are 38 different mechanisms that you can use to interrupt the process of heart disease. Exercise and nutraceuticals are the keys. There is lycopene, from tomatoes and grapefruit, lipoic acid, N-acetylcysteine, resveratrol, berberine, red yeast rice, niacin, omega 3 fatty acids from cold water fish and many more. The Mediterranean diet with lots of extra virgin olive oil helps too. It is important to stay on a low carbohydrate diet.

    15:06 Causes of Endothelial Dysfunction: Dr. Houston can list over 400 causes for ED. The top 5 that are typically talked about are blood pressure, lipid, diabetes, obesity and smoking. They cause insult to the endothelial lining, causing endothelial dysfunction. Dysfunction is related to inflammation, oxidative stress, immune dysfunction within the arteries, clotting and abnormal growth factors that make the arteries stiff and enlarges the heart, causing heart failure as well as heart attacks.

    24:02 Poor Gut Health and Heart Disease: Gastrointestinal problems are directly linked to cardiovascular problems. You must clean up the diet and repair the gut to reduce metabolic endotoxemia after eating. This is actually low grade sepsis, producing a huge inflammatory response, oxidative stress, and immune dysfunction in the gut that is transported into the vascular system.

    Women and the dangers of heart disease

    Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of nearly 500,000 women each year

    What you should know:
    •Women are at a higher risk than men
    •Symptoms are often confused with heartburn
    •Preventable if treated early

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    The following are products sold by CVS/pharmacy that may be of interest to you:
    Coromega Healthy Heart Packets, Juicy Orange Flavor $21.99

    Hi, I'm Kenisha Carr and I'm a CVS pharmacist. Cardiovascular disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 500,000 women each year. That is more than the number of women who die from all types of cancer combined.
    There are many reasons why women are at a higher risk for fatal heart disease than men, such as gender differences, lack of knowledge of the symptoms, and less preventive screening in comparison to men. Although men on average develop heart disease 10 years earlier than women, more women now die of it, primarily because heart disease is most prevalent in the latter decades of life. On average, women live longer than men, thus women ultimately live long enough to succumb to the disease. Women's hearts are also smaller, beat faster, and have finer and more fragile arteries. Also, women experience less severe symptoms than the obvious crushing chest pain men experience during a heart attack. Preceding or during an attack, women may complain of chronic fatigue, indigestion, pain in the back or jaw, and heart palpitations, which can be confused as symptoms for heartburn or mental stress and lead to a delay in medical treatment. Early menopause plays a role in the higher risk. It deprives the body of estrogen's heart-protective benefits. Also, high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are all causes that can be shared by either gender; there is evidence that they can cause worse consequences for women.
    Cardiovascular disease is preventable if it's detected early. However, symptoms are often not noticed, and two-thirds of women who die of a heart attack have no prior symptoms, compared to only half of men. Studies show that doctors are less likely to screen women for their risk of heart disease than men, routinely overlook or discount their symptoms, and treat female patients less aggressively than males.
    If you have any questions, talk to your doctor or CVS pharmacist. We're here to help.

    Source: CVS Caremark Health Resources

    The Synergy Co-Op High Blood Pressure We've redone this video using Camtasia to improve both audio and visual production. We think it has made a huge improvement. Please let us know what you think.

    The number one risk factor for a stroke or heart attack is high blood pressure. Most people rely on medications to help manage their high blood pressure. This typically results in side effects. Yet there is an organ in your body that actually regulates your blood pressure. It lines all of your cardiovascular system and is called the Endothelium. By learning how to properly nourish and support this organ to achieve therapeutic increase in Nitric Oxide production you can naturally help your body regain control over your cardiovascular system to bring your blood pressure back into a normal range. And, do it without side effects. This health webinar will teach you how!

    If you have any questions about this information then please call me at 1-800-966-3012 or email me at

    Dan Hammer

    Testimonials (High Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, & Diabetes)

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    Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) Lowers Stroke Risk in People with High Blood Pressure A Study Finds

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    Study link:

    Vitamin B9, aka folic acid or folate, has many health benefits. It is most well-known for prevention of birth defects as a prenatal vitamin, protecting the brain and spinal cord. It may also help with Heart disease (coronary artery disease, heart attack), stroke, Dementia, cognitive function, Alzheimer’s disease, Age related Hearing loss, and Depression. Regarding cancer it has been linked with benefits to colon, breast, cervical, pancreatic and stomach cancer as well as ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia).It may help with Amenorrhea, Anemia, Bipolar disorder, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Diabetes, Down syndrome, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Gout, High blood pressure (hypertension), Glucose intolerance, Kidney disease, and Multiple sclerosis. Additional potential benefits (requiring more research) include phenytoin-induced gingival hyperplasia, prevention of pregnancy complications, blood clots, Vitilgo, Fragile X, Diarrhea, Gray hair, Mouth ulcers, Peptic ulcer, Poor growth.

    Common sources include greens ( spinach, dark leafy greens, asparagus), Turnip, beets, and mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, Lima beans, soybeans, kidney beans, white beans, mung beans, Beef liver, Brewer's yeast, Root vegetables, Whole grains, Wheat germ, Bulgur wheat, Salmon, Orange juice, Avocado, and Milk and All grain and cereal products in the U.S. are fortified with folic acid.

    Heart Disease –

    Blockage can occur inside blood vessels, and what the repercussions are. As the cardiovascular system is revealed, Dr. Peter Fail, a cardiologist, shows an angiogram revealing blockage in the artery. If a blockage occurs in the arteries supplying the heart with the brain, the results are heart attack or stroke. This may also lead to increased blood pressure. The cardiologist, Dr. Karol Watson, further explains that this increase in blood pressure can damage every organ it hits. Dr. Mehmet Oz, a heart surgeon, notes that a high percentage of Americans die as a result of heart disease.

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    How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet

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    DESCRIPTION: The first-line treatment for hypertension is lifestyle modification, which often includes the DASH diet. What is it and how can it be improved?

    This is the companion video to How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet ( ).

    The DASH diet is one of the best studied, and consistently ranks as US News & World Report’s #1 diet. It’s one of the few diets that medical students are taught about in medical school. I was so fascinated to learn of its origins as a compromise between practicality and efficacy.

    I’ve talk about the patronizing attitude many doctors have that patients can’t handle the truth in:
    • How to Prevent a Stroke ( )
    • Convergence of Evidence ( )
    • Halving Heart Attack Risk ( )

    What would hearing the truth from your physician sound like? See Fully Consensual Heart Disease Treatment ( ) and The Actual Benefit of Diet vs. Drugs ( ).

    For more on what plants can do for high blood pressure see:
    • Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension ( )
    • Flax Seeds for Hypertension ( )
    • Drugs and the Demise of the Rice Diet ( )

    Have a question for Dr. Greger about this video? Leave it in the comment section at and he'll try to answer it!

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