For centuries on end, people have consumed one source of caffeine after the other. For the most part, coffee was the main culprit. You will find that in many households, people start their day with a fresh brew of coffee. This love led to the opening of many coffee shops, and over time, the introduction of energy drinks.
This added consumption was not without its effects. People began to wonder if this added intake could affect their blood pressure. Many reports on the adverse effects of caffeine point to its impact on blood pressure. And this can be worrying to people who often take energy drinks.
So, do energy drinks raise blood pressure? Energy drinks have short-term effects on blood pressure for infrequent caffeine consumers. Habitual drinkers will not notice much of a change. Over time, people’s systems acclimate to caffeine presence such that it no longer affects them.
One energy drink can provide you with up to 80 mg of caffeine. What would happen to an avid energy drink taker if this intake were to hurt their blood pressure? If these are questions that have previously crossed your mind, we will tackle them in this article.
Higher or lower blood pressure from energy drinks?
Many people claim that caffeine can affect your blood pressure. For this reason, your doctor may advise that you avoid it before getting your blood pressure checked. This way, they assume that the tests will be accurate. But is there any truth to this? Is there a relationship between the two? Well, other studies state that its intake would have an inverse effect on blood pressure. That instead of raising it, the substance would work in lowering the blood pressure.
With all this confusion, scientists from the US and Switzerland decided to perform a test. With this, they could tell if there was any truth to the previous studies. And in doing so, they could put people’s minds to rest. They involved fifteen volunteers in their research, six of whom were avid consumers of the same.
Of these subjects, all were healthy, with no previous blood pressure issues. Also, their parents were free of such issues, as this would predispose them to spikes in their pressure levels. During the tests, the scientists administered caffeine in various quantities to the subjects.
Some of it was oral in the form of a triple espresso and decaffeinated drinks. Some of it was in intravenous form, including a salt solution. They studied the subjects all this time, taking in any changes in their heart rates, blood pressure, and nervous system.
How did the quantities affect the subjects? Well, the first test involved a triple espresso. If you have ever had this, you know how powerful it can be, much like energy drinks. Those who were regular consumers did not show much change in their blood pressures. However, those who were not habitual consumers experienced some changes. They had increases of about 13 mm Hg and 7 mm Hg on their systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively.
The next test was an injection, thus delivering the stimulant fast and hard to the patients. Following this, habitual consumers did not show much change in their blood pressures. Those who were new to such quantities experienced an increase of 6mm Hg on average in their systolic pressure.
All this while, they used coffee as the test drink. Now, here is the thing with this. With coffee or any other caffeinated drink, there is more to the brew than meets the eye. There are several ingredients in play, each of which can affect the blood pressure. However, with caffeine being the main ingredient, the blame falls on it. In energy drinks, there are more ingredients other than caffeine. These include milk thistle, B vitamins, and taurine. But in this case, we will focus on the effects of caffeine as it is a known culprit.
So what happens when you take the stimulant out of the equation? Well, the scientists used a decaffeinated drink to drive their point home. While caffeine levels in the blood were not impacted, blood pressures in non-drinkers still rise. In fact, they rose by up to 12 mm Hg, which was quite similar to the results seen when testing with high-level coffee brews. That is quite interesting, don’t you think so?
Sensitivity to caffeine in energy drinks
Caffeine does affect blood pressure, only that it is more evident in people who are new to it. Young adults, teens, and children are more sensitive to this ingredient. Over time, people’s systems acclimate to its presence such that it no longer affects them.
So why did pressure increase when the stimulant was no longer in the picture? Well, it comes down to the presence of other ingredients. You see, with your energy drink, not only this is present. And while the effects of different components may be minimal, they play a significant role in impacting blood pressure. But someone who often takes an energy drink will not experience such a change. Their body has already acclimated to the use of the other ingredients.
Does it matter?
Should you care about the effects of this stimulant and other ingredients on your blood pressure? The answer is yes. Your blood pressure is an indication of how likely you are to suffer a stroke or a heart attack. That means that you should be wary of anything that could impact the health of your heart.
Based on several studies conducted in the past, the stimulant will not raise blood pressure in people who often consume it. However, there have been reports with people claiming that its intake could cause heart disease. If you research on the effects of energy drinks, you are likely to come across cardiac arrest as an adverse impact. How true is this?
Scientists studied men between the ages of 40 and 75, including more than 45,000 people in their study. When doing this, they recorded the heart rates and blood pressure levels of these men. The study comprised both habitual and infrequent caffeine takers. Some would take regular coffee, which has levels similar to most standard energy drinks. Others would take decaf.
Results from the study showed that there was no direct link between heavy consumption and heart disease. If anything, those taking decaf were more at risk of heart disease, if the test results were anything to go by. According to the scientists, the more one took caffeine, the less their chances were of developing heart disease.
If you have had one too many energy drinks in the past, you are familiar with the fast heart pounding that follows. It can be annoying and even scary to some people. The good news is that there is hardly any risk that comes from these palpitations. The same also holds for patients with previous heart problems.
Should you take more energy drinks?
With the benefits outlined in the studies above, you may feel inclined to take more drinks. But before loading up on this stimulant, you should consider some things. For one, not only caffeine is present in the energy drinks. That means that other components in the drink could hurt your health.
Also, while this stimulant may not impact your blood pressure, it affects other body parts. It also affects how you behave. Some people feel more productive after one energy drink and cannot imagine going a day without it. Others suffer the short end of the stick and experience anxiety, tremors, sleeplessness, and other adverse effects.
You have probably heard of people who develop a dependence on energy drinks to the point of addiction. That is another possibility when it comes to these drinks. It can get to the point where a slight increase or decrease in caffeine leads to migraines and other such problems.
The above examples are just but a scratch of the surface when it comes to the effects of energy drinks. The takeaway is that you can drink as much as you want. However, when it becomes a bother or an addiction, you should think of another way out.
But as far as your blood pressure is concerned, you should not have a cause to worry. The jury is still out on this, though, and you should be careful with your consumption. Maybe the spikes in blood pressure are due to thinking a lot about your health. Stay safe!