According to the North Devon Journal (11/19/15), Charlotte Aston was 18 when she was diagnosed with an abnormally fast heartbeat. Prior to that she worked as a children’s entertainer and regularly drank one energy drink per day. She says her doctors went through her entire medical history before concluding that the energy drinks must have caused her heart problems - at one point her heart rate was as high as 247 beats per minute and required trips to the hospital every two weeks.
As a result, she had to avoid any situation that would put stress on her heart, which meant she had to quit her job and couldn’t go to school. Aston has made it her goal now to share her story as a way of warning children about the risks of energy drinks.
A study recently published in JAMA (11/17/15) suggests there is a link between the consumption of energy drinks and short-term cardiac responses. The study involved 25 volunteers who were told to consume an energy drink and a placebo and then had their blood pressure and other biological indicators checked. All volunteers were age 18 or older, did not smoke and were not taking medications.
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Energy drinks may also contain ingredients that are banned by some professional sports leagues. According to the Tampa Bay Times 11/22/15), Kwon Alexander, who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, faces a four-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. But Alexander says he believes the positive test came from an ingredient in an energy drink he consumed.
Recently, the maker of Monster Energy drinks settled multiple lawsuits for undisclosed amounts. The company has maintained its drinks are safe for consumption. Because energy drinks are classified as a dietary food supplement, they are not as heavily regulated as food products. Critics, however, argue the drinks can be dangerous and should be subject to more strict regulation.