Energy drinks are among the most common dietary supplements in America, but new research may make you want to break the habit of relying on Red Bull and Monster to stay awake at work. Energy drinks are filled with high levels of caffeine, sugar, taurine, and other stimulating substances to keep employees up, but researchers in Houston found that a single energy drink can worsen our cardiovascular health.
How energy drinks can hurt us
For research to be presented at the American Heart Association, John Higgins of McGovern Medical School in Houston and colleagues got 44 healthy students to drink a 24-ounce energy drink and found that just one drink hurt their cardiovascular system. After participants consumed the energy drink, their blood vessels’ dilation decreased to 2.8% in diameter 90 minutes later, suggesting that the blood flow within their arteries had gotten worse.
The American Beverage Association maintains that energy drinks are safe for consumption by government authorities. But some employers are warning their employees from abusing them. The U.S. military warned troops from drinking them, saying energy drinks could do “some serious harm to your body” following a report that found soldiers who drank them were more likely to fall asleep on the job.
When you are guzzling energy drinks, you risk overdosing yourself with caffeine, which is known to make our bodies and minds go haywire. Drinking doses of caffeine equal to or above 200 milligrams is known to cause anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, muscle twitching, restlessness, and chronic daily headaches, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Health Sciences.
One way to get more energy without risking your arteries? Sleep, the great healer of restless, weary souls. That energy boost is free.