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Big Surprise: New Study Says Energy Drinks May Be Bad for Your Heart

We all know someone who drinks so many energy drinks that you'd imagine the noxious stuff has supplanted their actual blood. Hopefully, it's not you. Maybe it is.

Well, according to research presented at the American Heart Association last week, energy drinks may have negative effects on the heart. We know: shocking.

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Researchers at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, examined data from seven previously published observational and interventional studies to analyze how energy drinks affect heart health. The studies included information on healthy patients ages 18 to 45.

Turns out energy drinks are not good for your heart. The data found that energy drinks may increase blood pressure and disturb the heart's natural rhythm. After combing over the studies, researchers discovered that individuals who consumed energy drinks saw a 3.5 point increase in systolic blood pressure. Furthermore, the chances of developing an abnormal heart rhythm hiked among those who consumed energy drinks.

In the investigation, researchers explored data on the QT interval -- the length of time between each heart beat, according to an EKG -- in 93 individuals who consumed one to three energy drinks. When a QT interval is extended, it can cause serious irregular heartbeats or sudden cardiac death.

The researchers found that the individuals who consumed the energy drinks had a QT interval 10 milliseconds longer than those who had not. According to lead author and assistant professor at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, Sachin A. Shah, Pharm.D., "Doctors are generally concerned if patients experience an additional 30 milliseconds in their QT interval from baseline."

Doctors asset that anytime the QT intervals are extended, it could put your heart at risk.

Furthermore, in a pool of 132 participants, the average increase in systolic blood pressure went up by 3.5 points. Researchers are concerned by the increase. "The correlation between energy drinks and increased systolic blood pressure is convincing and concerning, and more studies are needed to assess the impact on the heart rhythm," Shah said. "Patients with high blood pressures or long QT syndrome should use caution and judgment before consuming an energy drink."

Due to their high caffeine content, energy drinks could have an even larger systolic blood pressure increase on individuals who do not normally consume much caffeine.

Look, we're not opposed to consuming items that are not good for your heart: booze, burgers, chicken and waffles, more booze, coffee. But if you're going to damage your health, it might as well taste good. When was the last time you heard someone say they drink Monster because they like the way it tastes? Buyers, beware. Just sayin'.

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Sara Ventiera

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