Energy Drinks have been found to cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel and detrimentally affect the contraction of the heart. According to an ongoing study reported at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the popular drinks consumed by millions not only increase contractility of the heart, but they may cause long-term health risks.
At the annual Chicago meeting Jonas Dorner MD from the University of Bonn’s cardiovascular imaging section, who is working on the study, said that until now, no-one had worked out the exact effects of energy drinks on heart functioning.
Citing concerns over possible adverse side effects of energy drinks on heart function, especially in adolescents and young adults, Dorner said there was “little or no regulation” of the US market.
A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth–specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth.
3 Times Higher Caffeine
Noting that caffeine levels in energy drinks are up to three times higher than in other caffeinated drinks including coffee or cola, Dorner said known side-effects included a rapid heart rate, palpitations, a rise in blood pressure “and in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death”.
Manufactured by the chemical industry, synthetic caffeine is big business in many drinks that contain the drug.
NATURAL CAFFEINE: Natural, real caffeine comes from various plant species. Caffeine content within these plants will vary throughout the year depending on weather, soil conditions, time of year harvested, etc. So caffeine content is impossible and impractical to determine for labelling on products like coffee or tea. They have constantly changing amounts. Naturally caffeinated products will not have caffeine as an ingredient or measurement on the label.
SYNTHETIC CAFFEINE: The first sign the caffeine in your drink is synthetic is it is listed on the label & has an exact measurement. This is the cheapest & most common added caffeine source. The processes & compounds may vary between chemical companies, but they are all disturbing.
FORTIFIED CAFFEINE: Still usually synthetic, caffeine can be obtained from the coffee decaffeination industry, although it is substantially pricier & rarely used. This will also note caffeine on the label with a measurement. Caffeine supplies from this industry use methylene chloride, formaldehyde or ethyl acetone for its removal. There is no such thing as removing the caffeine with just water.
Significantly Higher Peak Strain
Dorner and colleagues used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the effect of energy drink consumption on heart function in 18 healthy volunteers — 15 men and three women with an average age of 27.5 years.
Each subject was given one cardiac MRI before consuming an energy drink containing taurine (400mg/100ml) and caffeine (32mg/100ml), and another one hour after consumption.
The second MRI scan showed significantly higher peak strain and peak systolic strain rates (measures of ‘contractility’ or level of heart contraction) in the heart’s left ventricle.
This receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the aorta, which then distributes it throughout the rest of the body.
Toxic Preservatives and Sweeteners
All energy drinks including Nos, Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, Full Throttle and several others all contain many of the following toxic ingredients.
Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature’s Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 11 to 27 percent of ingested sucralose is absorbed by the human body (FDA 1998). Research published by the manufacturer of sucralose (Roberts 2000) shows that when 8 healthy male adults were given sucralose (in 1 mg/kg amounts), between 10.4% and 30.6% of the sucralose was absorbed. In addition, 1.6% to 12.2% of the sucralose accumulates in the body.
Aspartame is a multi-potential carcinogen, even consumed daily at 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. That is a lower quantity than the maximum recommended by the FDA (50 mg/kg of body weight) and the European Union (40 mg/kg).
It increases the incidence of malignant tumours in rats. In the females, it increases leukaemia and lymphomas, as well as cancerous cells in the pelvis and urethra. In the males, it especially increases the incidence of malignant tumours in peripheral nerves.
Acesulfame-K(Potassium) represents one of the food additives used for sweetening aliments and drinks. It is approved by the FDA, but there are several potential problems correlated with consumption of this food additive. Even though there are many studies that attest its safety, acesulfame potassium is still suspected of causing benign thyroid tumours. In rats, the development of such tumours took only 3 months, a period in which the concentration of this additive in the consumed food was between 1 and 5 percent. This is a very short period of time, so the substance is believed to have significant carcinogenic properties. Methylene chloride, a solvent used in the manufacture of acesulfame potassium, is the substance that may give the food additive its potential carcinogenic characteristics.
Benzoate damages an important area of DNA in the “power station” of cells known as the mitochondria. This chemical has the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether. It is an artificial colour and considered a carcinogenic poison used to make foods and other products more visually appealing or appetizing.
There are dozens of different phosphate-containing food additives used in hundreds of processed foods. Studies show that even among healthy adults, people with higher phosphate levels have higher mortality rates. Phosphates cause a more rapid progression of the specific ailments such as chronic kidney disease. Phosphate additives have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and they’re linked to accelerated ageing and interfering with the way your body activates vitamin D.
Results recently presented at the 2013 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting showed that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) also cause behavioural reactions similar to those produced by drugs of abuse such as cocaine.
Increased consumption of HFCS also result in depletion of chromium in the body, which is important is helping glucose pass from the bloodstream into the cells.
According to two recent U.S. studies, almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labelled ingredient.
Food and chemical toxicology reports have labelled potassium sorbate as a carcinogen, showing positive mutation results in the cells of mammals. Other studies have shown broad systemic and toxic effects on non-reproductive organs in animals. No long-term studies have ever been initiated on either animals or humans, so there is simply not enough evidence to theorize what could happen after years of ingesting this preservative. However, based on short-term carcinogenic and toxic effects, is it worth the risk to find out?
Long-Term Health Risks ‘Unknown’
Dorner said further studies are needed to understand how higher heart contractility affects daily activities or athletic performance and to discover how long the effect of the drink lasts.
Dorner said that the long-term heart health risks linked to energy drinks are unknown, but advises that children and people with known cardiac arrhythmias, and says new studies are needed to assess the risk posed by energy drinks in tandem with alcohol.
Heart Foundations are refusing to comment on the unpublished research or whether greater heart contractility is necessarily a bad thing.
The RSNA represents 53,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists and publishes two peer-reviewed journals, Radiology and Radio Graphics.