Perhaps you’ve been a long-time fan of energy drinks but you’re somewhat concerned about their effect on heart health. If you have any medical conditions or are on medication, there’s a high possibility that you’ll have to completely cut out energy drinks from your life.
But what if I told you that the caffeine in energy drinks isn’t so bad? What if I told you that moderate amounts of caffeine could protect your heart instead?
Several studies have reported that low to moderate doses of caffeine in a day won’t have a negative impact on your heart and could even be beneficial to your health.
If you’re keen to know how energy drinks affect your heart or how the caffeine in energy drinks can help your heart, you’re in the right place…
Table of Contents
What do energy drinks contain?
Energy drinks usually contain similar ingredients like caffeine, B vitamins, and sugar that could affect your heart.
Most energy drinks are chock-full with caffeine. After all, caffeine is the main ingredient that reduces fatigue and gives us a good jolt of energy to go on our day without feeling tired.
Besides, caffeine is also great for boosting your physical performance and improving your brain function, which explains why many athletes like to drink a can of energy drink before they play, train or compete.
Energy drinks contain different amounts of caffeine, varying from one brand to another. Even though most people can enjoy a certain degree of caffeine without any after-effects, if you have a sensitivity to caffeine you’ll probably experience a few adverse effects.
That said, too much caffeine can also cause negative effects like headaches, heart palpitations and dizziness.
If you’re wondering if this means you can’t consume any energy drink at all if you have heart-related problems or are sensitive to caffeine, I’ll get to that in a minute.
Guarana is a Brazilian plant that naturally contains caffeine in its seeds. It’s often included as one of the ingredients in some energy drinks.
However, typically the caffeine from guarana isn’t added to the total caffeine count, so you’ll have to watch out for that. You could end up ingesting more caffeine than you might like.
1g of guarana is similar to 40mg of caffeine, which is more than a cup of coffee.
That’s a lot of caffeine.
So, pay attention to the labels on your energy drinks before purchasing them to check if they contain any guarana.
Sugar is included in many energy drinks to amplify their energy-boosting effects and taste. However, nowadays sugar-free alternatives are available almost everywhere.
A moderate amount of sugar is alright, but consuming an excessive amount might backfire afterward, as it could lead to a sugar-crash and leave you feeling sluggish.
Can you get a heart attack from energy drinks?
Whether or not energy drinks can cause heart problems depends on you as an individual. I’d advise limiting your energy drink intake to no more than one per day and consult your physician for further guidance.
Energy drinks have been linked to increases in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as causing disturbances to heart activity.
In 2019, a 26-year-old healthy man from Texas nearly died from a heart attack caused by energy drinks. However, this mostly stemmed from the fact that he consumed energy drinks excessively every day, drinking around 8 – 10 cans in a day.
That’s more than 400mg of caffeine per day!
A 2016 study reported that energy drinks could raise blood pressure and increase heart rate, which could lead to the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Another study showed that energy drinks could affect the heart rate in even young adults.
Energy drinks when consumed in excessive quantities can be harmful and should therefore be consumed wisely.
If you have any underlying health issues, you should control your consumption of energy drinks. It may be hard to abstain from beverages that you like, but in the end, it’s up to you to care for your own wellbeing.
Can energy drinks harm your heart?
Generally, energy drinks aren’t harmful to your heart, unless you have them in excessive quantities. Since energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine and sometimes sugar, drinking too many energy drinks could lead to caffeine overdose and sugar crash.
If you experience side effects after having any energy drink, it’s most likely because your body is responding to the caffeine. This could probably indicate that you may be sensitive or allergic to caffeine or other ingredients in energy drinks.
With that said, energy drinks aren’t beverages you should be consuming too frequently. Plain water is always the best drink for your health.
To stay safe, just follow the FDA’s daily caffeine intake recommendation (no more than 400mg per day) and you’ll spare yourself any undesirable effects.
Remember to take into account caffeine from other sources which can add up to your total caffeine intake without you realizing it.
Is it ok to drink energy drinks if I have high blood pressure?
If you have high blood pressure, it’s best to first discuss whether it’s safe to consume energy drinks with your doctor. Although it varies for different people, it’s generally okay to drink energy drinks in moderate amounts.
Limiting your energy drink intake and exercising caution should keep you safe from any dangerous adverse effects.
Caffeine has been known to temporarily raise blood pressure. Though, other research suggests that moderate consumption of caffeine is unlikely to have a long-term significant effect on your blood pressure or heart.
If you have high blood pressure or any heart-related diseases, I suggest that you go for energy drinks that have minimal amounts of caffeine and sugar.
I’ve also covered the best energy drinks for high blood pressure, which you can read here.
Can caffeine affect your heart?
Caffeine can affect your heart if taken in excessive amounts. For most people, a moderate amount of caffeine doesn’t result in any concerning side effects.
But it becomes a different story if you go overboard with your daily caffeine intake.
According to the FDA, 400mg of caffeine daily should be the limit for healthy adults. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any underlying medical conditions, you should first discuss with your doctor if you can take caffeine and if you need to limit your caffeine intake.
For most people, consuming less than 400mg of caffeine per day usually doesn’t lead to any harmful side effects.
But when you consume more than that, it may cause symptoms like:
- Breathing troubles
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
In a few cases, some people might experience an increase in blood pressure, but this usually only lasts around about four hours.
Caffeine can also affect you considerably if you have caffeine sensitivity. Not to be confused with caffeine allergy, those who are sensitive to caffeine will experience negative effects even after consuming small amounts of it.
When you’re sensitive to caffeine, your body can’t metabolize caffeine the same way regular people do and your symptoms might last for a few hours.
Unlike coffee or tea, several brands of energy drinks can contain up to 300mg of caffeine per can.
Thus, if you want to avoid unfavorable effects, especially if you’re caffeine sensitive, check the ingredients label on the can before making your energy drink purchase.
Can caffeine be beneficial for my heart?
Caffeine can be beneficial to your heart if it’s consumed in moderate quantities. In contrast to many older studies, recent reports found that moderate amounts of caffeine could have neutral to beneficial effects on blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
A 2018 study found that caffeine could trigger a protein called p27 that may have benefits for the heart. When an optimum dose was given to elderly mice, their heart health improved and their cardiovascular system functioned like younger mice.
However, the benefits of caffeine on the heart is still being explored.
Overall, if you practice controlled daily intake of caffeine, your heart might benefit from the caffeine and experience no side effects at all.
However, even it’s alright to consume caffeine in moderate amounts, your body’s response to caffeine should be the deciding factor in how much caffeine you have per day.
How does sugar affect my heart?
Too much sugar can negatively affect your health and increase the risk of heart diseases. Even though sugar in energy drinks can help boost your energy levels, it won’t last long and will often leave you feeling tired and in a bad mood.
Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to obesity, inflammation, high blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which puts you at risk of heart diseases.
One 2014 study found that people who got 17% – 21% of their daily calories from sugar had a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases by 38% compared to those who consumed 8% of added sugar.
A high-sugar diet could also lead to health issues like:
- Tooth decay
- Weight gain/obesity
- High blood pressure
- Aging skin
To maintain the wellbeing of your heart and body, I’d suggest following the American Heart Association’s daily recommended sugar intake:
|Men||150 calories/ 36g|
|Women||100 calories/ 25g|
I’m not saying sugar is completely bad. Sugar can be beneficial as fuel to your body in certain amounts, but cutting sugar out completely from your diet won’t be detrimental to your health in any way.
This is why I’d recommend going for sugar-free energy drinks to control your sugar intake.
Is Red Bull bad for my heart?
Small to moderate amounts of Red Bull isn’t bad for your heart. But when you consume Red Bull excessively, you might experience adverse effects like jitters and increased heart rate.
Before you decide whether Red Bull is good for your heart or not, you’ll need to take a look at the main ingredients:
In my opinion, Red Bull contains a moderate amount of caffeine that shouldn’t give you too many heart troubles, though this of course depends on your tolerance.
That said, Red Bull does contain high levels of sugar and calories, which would expose you to health risks including heart diseases.
Stick to one to two cans of Red Bull per day to stay on the safe side and you should be fine.
If you’re still uncertain, do some research and check with your doctor before putting anything into your body.
If you want to learn more about Red Bull, I’ve covered absolutely everything you need to know in another article that you can find here.
What can I do to keep my heart healthy?
There are several ways to keep your heart healthy and protected from diseases:
- Get some exercise
- Have a healthy and balanced diet
- Eat healthy fats
- Practice good dental hygiene
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid sitting too long at one time
- Avoid smoking
Caring for your mental health also helps protect your heart. So, watch a funny video or gather with your family and friends and have a good laugh.
Best energy drinks for your heart
MatchaBar Hustle Unsweetened Energy Drink
From the name alone, you know that MatchaBar Hustle Unsweetened is entirely sugar-free, so you’re guaranteed to be free from experiencing sugar crashes later on. MatchaBar Hustle Unsweetened energy drink is also great for you if you’re a fan of matcha flavors.
However, MatchaBar Hustle Unsweetened does contain 120mg of caffeine that originates naturally from green tea. Depending on your tolerance, this amount of caffeine might be a little too much for you.
Personally, I prefer to have between 50 and 100mg of caffeine per serve. Any more than that and I often find it a little overwhelming.
Like MatchaBar Hustle Unsweetened, Bing contains 120mg of caffeine and 9g of sugars. Bing’s ingredients do include a certain percentage of fruit juices, though where it comes from isn’t specified.
If you like fruity flavors and have a higher tolerance for caffeine, you could go for Bing energy drink.
REIZE Energy Drink (10 out of 10)
REIZE is at the top of my list when it comes to energy drinks.
Compared to the above-mentioned energy drinks, REIZE contains a sensible 50mg of caffeine and is sugar-free.
REIZE also contains a smart blend of taurine, ginseng and B vitamins that will provide you with a great energy boost without any side effects or crash.
Although REIZE contains caffeine, the sensible caffeine amount has never caused any problems for my heart and I don’t expect it to.
The best part is that REIZE ships straight to your doorstep for only around $1 per drink, and that includes shipping. At that price, my heart is spared the stress of worry.
Amazing value for money.
Give REIZE a try and you might find that it’s a great pick-me-up that can also protect your heart.