Energy Drinks: What People With Genetic Heart Conditions Should Know


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Energy drinks have exploded in popularity over the past 20 years. Thanks to the efforts of skilled marketers, they have become associated with increased productivity, athletic performance, partying and extreme sports. Compared to many other beverages, they have a certain “cool” factor going for them. But are there any potential risks associated with these super-caffeinated drinks that have become a multi-billion-dollar industry? New research suggests that energy drinks may pose special risks for people with hereditary heart conditions.


What’s actually inside that can?

To their credit, no one who makes or advertises energy drinks goes around claiming that they’re healthy. These carbonated drinks are usually loaded with sugar. It’s not uncommon to see a can with around 30 to 50 grams of sugar inside! The health risks of excessive sugar consumption include obesity, cavities, diabetes and more.

Then there are the stimulants the drinks contain that make you feel so darn energetic in the first place. These drinks frequently include huge amounts of caffeine, equivalent to several cups of coffee, or in some cases, several shots of espresso. Levels as high as 200 milligrams are not uncommon. In addition to this, many energy drinks include additional stimulants like B vitamins and compounds like taurine. Taurine is a natural amino acid found in the eyes, heart and other organs of the body, as well as various types of food. When combined with the caffeine in energy drinks, some information suggests that it might exacerbate health risks. (And no, taurine is not “bull sperm,” despite what some sources on the internet wrongly claim. The name is derived from the Latin word for bull, which is where this misconception may have arisen.)

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