Rockstar energy drinks increase levels of stress hormones and blood pressure, according to new research.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, suggests that energy drinks exacerbate many health problems already potentially caused by diabetes, especially heart problems.
How the study was conducted
The researchers examined data from 25 participants, all of whom were over the age of 18 and had no history of cardiovascular problems. They were split into two groups: the first was given a 473ml can of Rockstar, and the second was given a placebo, which contained no caffeine or other stimulants.
The participants’ blood pressure and stress hormone levels were measured before they had the drinks, and 30 minutes afterwards. In the group that drank the energy drink, blood pressure increased by 6.4 per cent. The stress hormone noradrenaline increased by 74 per cent, compared to 31 per cent in the group that drank the placebo.
Limitations
However, the study is very small. It is difficult to draw significant conclusions from the data of 25 participants. Svatikova explained that much larger studies are needed to examine the long-term effects of energy drink consumption on heart health.
“The worry is that if these responses are seen in healthy young people, perhaps the effects of energy drinks may be more pronounced in people who already have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat,” Dr Anna Svatikova, cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, told HealthDay News.
The findings are published in the journal JAMA.
Diabetes and the heart
Diabetes can have a significant effect on the heart. Raised blood pressure affects eight out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes, and three out of ten people with type 1 diabetes. Heart disease is the most common cause of death among people with diabetes. People with diabetes are encouraged to follow a healthy diet and take part in plenty of exercise to reduce cholesterol and heart disease risk.

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