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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2015 Jan 15;115(2):183-9.
doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.10.017. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Effects in Response to Red Bull Consumption Combined With Mental Stress

Randomized Controlled Trial

Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Effects in Response to Red Bull Consumption Combined With Mental Stress

Erik Konrad Grasser et al. Am J Cardiol. .


The sale of energy drinks is often accompanied by a comprehensive and intense marketing with claims of benefits during periods of mental stress. As it has been shown that Red Bull negatively impacts human hemodynamics at rest, we investigated the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular consequences when Red Bull is combined with mental stress. In a randomized cross-over study, 20 young healthy humans ingested either 355 ml of a can Red Bull or water and underwent 80 minutes after the respective drink a mental arithmetic test for 5 minutes. Continuous cardiovascular and cerebrovascular recordings were performed for 20 minutes before and up to 90 minutes after drink ingestion. Measurements included beat-to-beat blood pressure (BP), heart rate, stroke volume, and cerebral blood flow velocity. Red Bull increased systolic BP (+7 mm Hg), diastolic BP (+4 mm Hg), and heart rate (+7 beats/min), whereas water drinking had no significant effects. Cerebral blood flow velocity decreased more in response to Red Bull than to water (-9 vs -3 cm/s, p <0.005). Additional mental stress further increased both systolic BP and diastolic BP (+3 mm Hg, p <0.05) and heart rate (+13 beats/min, p <0.005) in response to Red Bull; similar increases were also observed after water ingestion. In combination, Red Bull and mental stress increased systolic BP by about 10 mm Hg, diastolic BP by 7 mm Hg, and heart rate by 20 beats/min and decreased cerebral blood flow velocity by -7 cm/s. In conclusion, the combination of Red Bull and mental stress impose a cumulative cardiovascular load and reduces cerebral blood flow even under a mental challenge.

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