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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 53 (7), 1561-71

Cardio- And Cerebrovascular Responses to the Energy Drink Red Bull in Young Adults: A Randomized Cross-Over Study

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Randomized Controlled Trial

Cardio- And Cerebrovascular Responses to the Energy Drink Red Bull in Young Adults: A Randomized Cross-Over Study

Erik K Grasser et al. Eur J Nutr.

Abstract

Purpose: Energy drinks are beverages containing vasoactive metabolites, usually a combination of caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone and sugars. There are concerns about the safety of energy drinks with some countries banning their sales. We determined the acute effects of a popular energy drink, Red Bull, on cardiovascular and hemodynamic variables, cerebrovascular parameters and microvascular endothelial function.

Methods: Twenty-five young non-obese and healthy subjects attended two experimental sessions on separate days according to a randomized crossover study design. During each session, primary measurements included beat-to-beat blood pressure measurements, impedance cardiography and transcranial Doppler measurements for at least 20 min baseline and for 2 h following the ingestion of either 355 mL of the energy drink or 355 mL of tap water; the endothelial function test was performed before and two hours after either drink.

Results: Unlike the water control load, Red Bull consumption led to increases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.005), associated with increased heart rate and cardiac output (p < 0.05), with no significant changes in total peripheral resistance and without diminished endothelial response to acetylcholine; consequently, double product (reflecting myocardial load) was increased (p < 0.005). Red Bull consumption also led to increases in cerebrovascular resistance and breathing frequency (p < 0.005), as well as to decreases in cerebral blood flow velocity (p < 0.005) and end-tidal carbon dioxide (p < 0.005).

Conclusion: Our results show an overall negative hemodynamic profile in response to ingestion of the energy drink Red Bull, in particular an elevated blood pressure and double product and a lower cerebral blood flow velocity.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Left panel Time course of changes in systolic blood pressure (SBP) (a), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (b), heart rate (HR) (c) and double product (DP) (d) before and after ingestion of Red Bull (open circle) and water (solid rhombus). Right panel Average changes over 120 min post-drink, equivalent to area under the curve. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01 and ***p < 0.005, statistically significant differences over time from baseline values (left and right panel). p < 0.005, statistically significant differences between responses to the drinks (right panel). Time 0 indicates resumption of the recordings after the 4-min drink period
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Left panel Time course of changes in mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) (a), cardiac output (CO) (b) and total peripheral resistance (TPR) (c), following the ingestion of Red Bull (open circle) or water control (solid rhombus). Right panel Average changes over 120 min post-drink, equivalent to area under the curve. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01 and ***p < 0.005, statistically significant differences over time from baseline values. p < 0.005, # p < 0.05 statistically significant differences between responses to the drinks (right panel). Time 0 indicates resumption of the recordings after the 4-min drink period
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Microvascular measurements before and 2 h after the drink. ACh (a) (acetylcholine) and SNP (b) (sodium nitroprusside). Baseline refers to the average of the last two applications either of ACh or SNP 20 min prior either drink. Post-drink refers to the average of the last two applications either of ACh or SNP 2 h after either drink * p < 0.05, statistically significant difference between post-drink conditions. AU arbitrary units
Fig. 4
Fig. 4
Left panel Time course of changes in cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) (a), cerebrovascular resistance (CVRI) (b), breathing frequency (BF) (c) and end-tidal carbon dioxide (etCO2) (d) following ingestion of Red Bull (open circle) and water (solid rhombus). Right panel Average changes over 120 min post-drink, equivalent to area under the curve. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01 and ***p < 0.005, statistically significant differences over time from baseline values. P < 0.005, statistically significant differences between responses to the drinks (right panel). Time 0 indicates resumption of the recordings after the 4-min drink period

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