Aim: To investigate whether consumption of an energy drink will acutely impair endothelial function in young healthy adults.
Methods: Energy drinks are being consumed more and more worldwide, and have been associated with some deaths in adolescents and young adults, especially when consumed while exercising. After fasting and not smoking for at least 8 h prior, eleven medical students (9 males) received an electrocardiogram, blood pressure and pulse check, and underwent baseline testing (BL) of endothelial function using the technique of endothelium-dependent flow mediated dilatation (FMD) with high-resolution ultrasound (according to recommended guidelines of the University of Wisconsin Atherosclerosis Imaging Research Program Core Laboratory). The subjects then drank an energy beverage (EB), a 24-oz can of Monster Energy, and the above was repeated at 90 min after consumption. The relative FMD (%) was calculated as the ratio between the average post-cuff release and the baseline diameter. Each image was checked for quality control, and each artery diameter was measured from the media to media points by two experts, 3 measurements at the QRS complex, repeated on 3 separate beats, and then all were averaged.
Results: Subjects characteristics averages (given with standard deviations) include: Age 24.5 ± 1.5 years, sex 9 male and 2 female, weight 71.0 ± 9.1 kg, height 176.4 ± 6.0 cm, BMI 22.8 ± 2.7 kg/m2. The hemodynamics were as follows, BL vs EB group respectively (mean ± SD): Heart rate 65.2 ± 11.3 vs 68.2 ± 11.8 beats per minute, systolic blood pressure 114.0 ± 10.4 mmHg vs 114.1 ± 10.4 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure 68.8 ± 9.3 mmHg vs 70.6 ± 7.1 mmHg; all were not significantly different. However after drinking the EB, a significantly attenuated peak FMD response was measured (mean ± SD): BL group 5.9% ± 4.6% vs EB group 1.9% ± 2.1%; P = 0.03). Given the increased consumption of energy beverages associated with exercise in young adults, more research is needed.
Conclusion: Energy beverage consumption has a negative impact on arterial endothelial function in young healthy adults.
Keywords: Blood pressure; Endothelial function; Energy drinks; Exercise; Flow mediated dilatation.