Energy Drinks: Are They Bad For Your Heart?   

Energy Drinks: Are They Bad For Your Heart?

Close-up of a hand holding a can of energy drink.
Clinical Contributors to this story:
Aristotelis Vlahos, M.D.
David Hodges, M.D.
Robert Schanzer, M.D.

Beneath the flavored bubbles of your favorite energy drink, you may be wondering, are energy drinks bad for your heart?

Energy drinks have become increasingly popular over the years because they promise energy boosts and focus, but does one have to sacrifice their heart health to reap the benefits? Our experts explain how energy drinks affect your heart and what’s safe to consume.

What’s in an energy drink?

When it comes to energy drinks, it is crucial to understand the ingredients that you are consuming.

Some common ingredients include:

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Taurine
  • B-vitamins

How do energy drinks affect your heart?

“Some energy drinks contain a dangerous combination of excessive sugar and stimulants that can lead to strains on your heart,” says Robert Schanzer, M.D., cardiologist at JFK University Medical Center

Adds David Hodges, M.D., cardiologist at Hackensack University Medical Center: “For people with pre-existing conditions, these drinks can be especially problematic.”

Drinking energy drinks can cause the following:

  1. Increased heart rate and blood pressure: The high amount of caffeine in energy drinks acts as a stimulant, interfering with specific neurons in the brain intended for alertness, which releases a hormone that stimulates increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  2. Impact on blood vessels: Consumption of stimulants can also constrict blood vessels, which leads to reduced blood flow to the heart and other organs. This puts additional stress on the heart, forcing it to work harder.
  3. Arrhythmias: With the increase in blood pressure and heart rate, energy drinks may also increase one’s risk of arrhythmias, which are irregular heartbeats that disturb the normal flow of the heart.

What to Know About Drinking Caffeinated Drinks

“We’re all on the run, and when you need a quick pick-me-up, an energy drink may seem like the best option; however, there are other alternatives you can take if you’re concerned about how they can affect your health,” Dr. Hodges says.

“Just remember, energy drinks don’t cause heart disease, but they can exacerbate issues if you have a pre-existing heart condition, so just be cautious,” adds Aristotelis Vlahos, M.D., cardiologist at Bayshore Medical Center.

Moderation is key. When energy drinks are consumed in moderation, you can obtain the benefits while minimizing your risks. Set limits for yourself, such as only one energy drink every other day.

Read labels. If you want to take control of your health, read labels to look for extra additives, added sugar, and calorie content.

Hydrate with water. Many of the ingredients in energy drinks have dehydrating effects; therefore, it is vital to balance these ingredients by hydrating yourself with water.

Opt for coffee or tea. If you’re looking for a drink with a boost, try a coffee or tea. Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which can be beneficial for your health.

Next Steps & Resources: 

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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