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)


Edit Your Comment

  1. JAYEONE says:

    argh, they be stealing mah Rockstar!

    (the caffeine of 5 Cokes in one can o’Rockstar, yeah!)

  2. Hawk07 says:

    what do you think happens when you take a stimulant?

  3. humphrmi says:

    I take Atenelol and have things pretty much under control. Intuitively, I somehow knew I should avoid these drinks. It’d be nice if the government made companies tell you how much caffeine are in drinks.

  4. Bladefist says:

    no suprise here

  5. Snakeophelia says:

    I have rock-bottom blood pressure, which is probably why I down as much coffee and Enviga and Diet Red Bull as I can in a given day. I have to be careful – at one point I was drinking four RB’s a day, which is just ridiculous. And still I feel sluggish!

  6. Peorgeum says:

    This just give me all the more reason to stay away from soda and energy drinks.

    I’ve been “clean” for 3 years now.

  7. Bladefist says:

    @peorgeum: Clean is 100% right. Between soda/energy drinks and the typical clean meaning, alcohol, I say alcohol is less worse for you. I have 0 scientic fact behind that opinion.

  8. BensAngel says:

    @bladefist: +1

  9. RottNDude says:

    Presenting the Caffeine Database:

  10. randomizer9 says:

    @humphrmi: I’m not sure if bottlers (or whatever they’re called now) are doing this because of any requirement, but I have noticed caffeine content now being listed on sodas. Energy Fiend also has this information.

  11. BigNutty says:

    Another study that says nothing new that any person with a brain would already know. I didn’t see who conducted the study in the article but I sure hope my tax dollars didn’t pay for it.

  12. little_dragon says:

    as anybody who has high blood pressure (like me for example) will be able to tell you:

    anything that’s even remotely fun will increase your blood pressure. learn to live with it.

  13. Guess Red Bull really does give you wings.

  14. …a new study suggests that they might interfere directly with blood pressure or hamper the effectiveness of medications.

    I think the “or” makes that statement misleading. To me it sounds like they found evidence that these drinks interfere with the medication independent of the fact that it raises your blood pressure. I read the article expecting them to say that something in these drinks stopped a chemical from doing what it needed to do but all they found was that the drink increased the blood pressure of healthy adults.

    The “or” should be “and therefore” or it should be “and possibly”.

  15. Electroqueen says:

    @Papa Midnight:
    Or Red Bull really does give you a tail…
    Man, I did not like Red Bull the first time I tasted it… My teacher called it “bull urine.” and I agreed.
    Then again I think Dr. Pepper tastes like cough syrup…

  16. IrisMR says:

    You know, common sense already dictates that you should not touch that thing if your heart isn’t top notch.

  17. bbbici says:

    Red Bull is delicious, but its effects are highly overrated.

  18. Project Thanatos says:

    This is news? It’s common sense.

  19. themanishere says:

    taurine is the same chemical found in cat-food. It’s what makes them so cute, yet so twitchy!

  20. wesrubix says:

    These kinds of studies really tick me off. It’s like saying “decongestants may make your BP go up” REALLY? I had no idea? Because I thought they were magic beans that just unclogged my nose. NO they are vasoconstrictors. Ugh. Caffine? stimulant. the amphetamine family stuff in energy drinks? Vaso? Hmmmmmmm. Why can’t they study something more useful?