Red Bull Gives Your Blood Pressure Wings

People who have high blood pressure might want to avoid energy drinks, because a new study suggests that they might interfere directly with blood pressure or hamper the effectiveness of medications. The drinks, which have high levels of caffeine and taurine (“an amino acid found in protein-rich foods like meat and fish that can affect heart function and blood pressure”), raise blood pressure and heart rates in healthy individuals, but not to dangerous levels. However, for people who have cardiovascular disease or are taking heart rate or blood pressure medication, the increase could be “significant.”

The study doesn’t point the finger directly at caffeine and taurine—they’re just saying the drinks in their entirety seem likely to raise blood pressure. And the American Beverage Association Industry disagrees with the whole concept, releasing the following statement in response:

While the amount of caffeine in energy drinks or coffee may cause a slight and temporary increase in blood pressure, it would have no greater effect than walking up a flight of steps.

The researchers didn’t reveal which energy drink they used in the study, but they pointed out that all of the drinks use pretty much the same basic ingredients. “By giving the brand, it would dilute the message that all of these drinks need to be looked at.” We just picked Red Bull because that’s the one slogan we actually know.

“Energy drinks jolt blood pressure, study finds” [Reuters]
(Photo: Red Bull and Getty)