"So-called 'energy drinks' are popular in dance clubs and during physical exercise, with people sometimes consuming a number of drinks one after the other. This situation can lead to a number of adverse conditions including angina, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and even sudden death," said Professor Milou-Daniel Drici from France who presented the study at European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
"Around 96 percent of these drinks contain caffeine, with a typical 0.25 litre can holding two espressos worth of caffeine. Caffeine is one of the most potent agonists of the ryanodine receptors and leads to a massive release of calcium within cardiac cells," said Drici.

"This can cause arrhythmias, but also has effects on the heart's abilities to contract and to use oxygen. In addition, 52 percent of drinks contain taurine, 33 percent have glucuronolactone and two-thirds contain vitamins," he added.
The study analyzed adverse events reported to the ANSES, the French agency for food safety, between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2012.
The researchers found that consumption of the 103 energy drinks in France increased by 30 percent between 2009 and 2011 up to over 30 million litres. The leading brand made up 40 percent of energy drinks consumed.
During the two year period 257 cases were reported to the agency, of which 212 provided sufficient information for food and drug safety evaluation.
The experts found that 95 of the reported adverse events had cardiovascular symptoms, 74 psychiatric, and 57 neurological, sometimes overlapping.
Cardiac arrests and sudden or unexplained deaths occurred at least in eight cases, while 46 people had heart rhythm disorders, 13 had angina and three had hypertension, researchers said.
"We found that 'caffeine syndrome' was the most common problem, occurring in 60 people. It is characterized by a fast heart rate (called tachycardia), tremor, anxiety and headache. Rare but severe adverse events were also associated with these drinks, such as sudden or unexplained death, arrhythmia and heart attack (myocardial infarction). Our literature search confirmed that these conditions can be related to consumption of energy drinks," Drici said.

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