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Two energy drinks a day may send a doctor your way

Two energy drinks a day may send a doctor your way - Featured Image

Many Australians turn to energy drinks to reduce fatigue, increase wakefulness, and improve concentration and performance, but a study has found that drinking more than two energy drinks a day can cause adverse heart reactions, including a fast heartbeat, heart palpitations, and chest pain.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide surveyed patients aged 13 to 40 years who attended an emergency department in South Australia with heart palpitations, and found 70 per cent had consumed some version of an energy drink.

Dr Scott Willoughby, co-author of the study, said that the study was able to find a direct link between energy drink consumption and hospital admissions for adverse heart reactions.

“Of the patients surveyed, 36 per cent had consumed at least one energy drink in the 24 hours prior to presenting at the hospital, and 70 per cent had consumed some sort of energy drink in their lifetime,” Dr Willoughby said.

“Those patients who were heavy consumers of energy drinks were found to have significantly higher frequency of heart palpitations than those who consumed less than one a day.

“And importantly, fast heartbeat, heart palpitations, and chest pain was seen in energy drink consumers who were healthy and had no risk factors for heart disease.”

AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, told the Herald Sun that people did not realise the serious health repercussions of energy drinks, some of which have the same amount of caffeine as 10 or 20 cups of coffee.

“Poisoning is not too strong a word to use for the effects of these drinks on some people,” Dr Parnis said.

“I have seen teenagers present in emergency with heart rates of 200 beats per minute or who are so stimulated that their behaviour is extremely distressing to their parents and the people around them.

“At the bare minimum, energy drinks should come with warning labels.

“I think that preventing sales of these drinks to people under 18 is something that we need to look at very closely.”

The study was published in International Journal of Cardiology.

Kirsty Waterford