Mayo Clinic: Single 16-ounce energy drink can increase blood pressure 'significantly'

New research presented by the Mayo Clinic on Monday found that drinking one 16-ounce energy drink can increase blood pressure and stress hormone responses "significantly."

“In previous research, we found that energy drink consumption increased blood pressure in healthy young adults,” Anna Svatikova, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiology fellow and the first author, said. “We now show that the increases in blood pressure are accompanied by increases in norepinephrine, a stress hormone chemical, and this could predispose an increased risk of cardiac events -- even in healthy people.”

The findings were announced at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2015, and also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study

Researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 25 healthy volunteers with an average age of 29. Each participant consumed a 16-ounce energy drink and a placebo drink within five minutes, in random order, on two separate days, with a maximum of two weeks apart.

The placebo drink was similar in taste, texture and color, but lacked caffeine and other stimulants of the energy drink, such as taurine, guarana and ginseng.


In addition to blood pressure increase in study volunteers, their norepinephrine levels increased by almost 74 percent after consuming the energy drink, compared with a 31 percent increase after the placebo drink, Dr. Svatikova said.  

Systolic blood pressure increased after the energy drink by 6 percent, compared to 3 percent with the placebo.

“These results suggest that people should be cautious when consuming energy drinks due to possible health risks,” Dr. Svatikova said. “Asking patients about energy drink consumption should become routine for physicians, particularly when interpreting vital signs in the acute setting.”