Consuming caffeinated energy drinks can significantly increase systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP), reports a new study published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.
In the past decade, hospitalizations associated with energy drink consumption have been on the rise, however the magnitude of the hemodynamic changes associated with these drinks remains unknown. In this study, researchers performed a literature search of three medical databases through December 31, 2015 to find clinical trials that assessed the effects of energy drinks on BP and heart rate (HR); 15 studies were included in the meta-analysis. For the primary endpoint of change in systolic BP, 340 individuals were included in the analysis; for the secondary outcomes of change in diastolic BP and HR, 322 and 340 individuals were included, respectively.
Overall, compared to baseline, energy drink consumption was associated with significant increases in both systolic BP (4.44 mmHg [95% CI = 2.71–6.17; Cochrane Q P= 0.001]) and diastolic BP (2.73 mmHg [95% CI = 1.52–3.95; Cochrane Q P= 0.050]); HR changed by 0.80 beats per minute although this was considered nonsignificant (95% CI = −1.26–2.87; Cochrane Q P< 0.111). The greatest systolic BP changes were seen with drinks that had over 200mg of caffeine (6.44 mmHg, 95% CI = 4.62–8.27).
The caffeine component likely accounts for most of the hemodynamic changes seen in this study, as those who consumed less than 200mg of caffeine had less of an increase in systolic BP, however other ingredients may also play a part. Guarana, which is often listed as an ingredient in energy drinks and has a potent caffeine concentration, may add to the effects of caffeine, while both taurine or Panax ginseng have been found to counteract the effects of caffeine and truncate BP elevations.
While the level of BP change may not seem alarming to healthy individuals, for those with hypertension the degree of change is clinically significant. The authors close by saying “future studies should assess the safety of long-term use of energy drinks, impact of individual components of energy drinks, combination of energy drinks with alcohol, and a dose effect and also include larger samples.”
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