Monster Beverage Calls Heart Study 'Alarmist and Misleading'

Beverage maker responds to RSNA paper on energy drinks and heart function

Published in CSP Daily News

Jonas Dorner

Jonas Dorner

CORONA, Calif. -- Calling the findings "alarmist and misleading," Monster Beverage Corp. has released a statement in response to a paper presented at the Chicago-based Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting that claims energy drinks alter heart function.

The paper, "Caffeine & Taurine Containing Energy Drink Improves Systolic Left-ventricular Contractility in Healthy Volunteers Assessed by Strain Analysis Using Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Tagging," said that healthy adults who consumed energy drinks high in caffeine and taurine had significantly increased heart contraction rates one hour later.

"Until now, we haven't known exactly what effect these energy drinks have on the function of the heart," said radiology resident Jonas Dörner, M.D., of the cardiovascular imaging section at the University of Bonn, Germany, which is led by the study's principal investigator, Daniel K. Thomas, M.D. "There are concerns about the products' potential adverse side effects on heart function, especially in adolescents and young adults, but there is little or no regulation of energy drink sales."

A 2013 report from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration stated that in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency department visits related to energy drink consumption nearly doubled, increasing from 10,068 to 20,783. Most of the cases were identified among patients aged 18 to 25, followed by those aged 26 to 39.

"Usually energy drinks contain taurine and caffeine as their main pharmacological ingredients," Dörner said. "The amount of caffeine is up to three times higher than in other caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola. There are many side effects known to be associated with a high intake of caffeine, including rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death."

For the study, which is ongoing, Dörner and colleagues used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the effect of energy drink consumption on heart function in 18 healthy volunteers, including 15 men and three women with a mean age of 27.5 years. Each of the volunteers underwent cardiac MRI before and one hour after consuming an energy drink containing taurine (400 mg/100 ml) and caffeine (32 mg/100 ml).

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energy drinks