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Effects of Energy Drinks on Economy and Cardiovascular Measures

Peveler, Willard W.; Sanders, Gabe J.; Marczinski, Cecile A.; Holmer, Brady

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - p 882–887
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001553
Original Research

Abstract: Peveler, WW, Sanders, GJ, Marczinski, CA, and Holmer, B. Effects of energy drinks on economy and cardiovascular measures. J Strength Cond Res 31(4): 882–887, 2017—The use of energy drinks among athletes has risen greatly. Caffeine and taurine are the 2 primary performance enhancing ingredients found in energy drinks. The number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks doubled over the past 5 years. Reviews of the health complications have highlighted adverse cardiovascular events. The literature reveals that caffeine is known to moderately increase blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of 3 different energy drinks on cardiovascular and performance measures. Fifteen recreational runners completed 5 trials. The first trial consisted of a graded exercise protocol. The 4 remaining trials consisted of 15-minute economy trials at a treadmill speed consistent with 70% of subject's V[Combining Dot Above]O2max. An hour before subjects ingested 1 of the 3 energy drinks or a placebo. HR, BP, V[Combining Dot Above]O2, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded during the 15-minute trial. Mean values for dependent measures were compared using repeated-measures analysis of variance. Fifteen-minute systolic BP readings were significantly lower in the placebo trials (156.93 ± 15.50) in relation to the 3 energy drink trials (163.87 ± 13.30, 166.47 ± 13.71, and 165.00 ± 15.23). There were no significant differences in diastolic BP and HR. There were no significant differences found in V[Combining Dot Above]O2 or RPE measures. Ingestion of energy drinks demonstrated no change in V[Combining Dot Above]O2 or RPE during the economy trials. The findings show no performance benefits under the conditions of this study. However, there does appear to be a significant increase in systolic BP.

Department of Kinesiology and Health, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky

Address correspondence to Dr. Willard W. Peveler,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.