Energy Drinks: How Your Body Reacts

By Kate Hassett

Energy Drinks: How Your Body Reacts
What exactly happens to your body when you consume an energy drink?

It is no secret that energy drinks, regardless of their brand, size or calorie levels, aren’t exactly healthy. But a new study has shown that by even consuming one of these drinks a day, the effects on our body can be quite destructive.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinical Research Unit gathered data from young, healthy men and women by asking them to consume just one, 250ml can, of Rockstar – the popular energy drink. Afterwards, the participants’ heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels were all measured. As you can imagine the results were less than ideal.

The study showed a more than a significant increase in the stress hormone norepinephrine – the same hormone that controls your fight or flight response. The ‘significant’ increase showed a 75% spike just thirty minutes after consuming the drink. Participants also noticed a rise in blood pressure of approximately 6.6 points.

Short term these responses are worrying,  but long-term, the effects could have significant physical implications for your health. According to the study, these long-term changes “may predispose [people] to increased cardiovascular risk.”

In order to correctly identify the impact of energy drinks on the average person, researches also tested a placebo on the same participants to see if it would have a similar effect. The same amount of calories and sugar were present in the placebo offering, but the beverage’s effect on stress levels and blood pressure was less than half of what occurred with the actual energy drink.

Whilst researchers said their results needed to be extended to look at the long term impact of energy drinks, their initial study points to stimulants as the likely cause for health issues. Additives such as taurine, guarana, ginseng and milk thistle extract – as well as caffeine, pose a significant threat when consumed in a large amount (which could mean as little as 2 cans).

Still can’t live without caffeine? Try some of these natural energy boosters to cut down on your intake, you’ll be surprised about how effective they can be.


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