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      Long-term consumption of energy drinks induces biochemical and ultrastructural alterations in the heart muscle


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          Energy drinks (EDs) target young and active individuals and they are being marketed as enhancers of energy, concentration, and physical and cognitive performance. Their long-term consumption raises serious health concerns related to cardiovascular events. Here we investigate the effects of long-term Red Bull ® consumption and its combination with alcohol on certain biochemical parameters and the ultrastructure of the myocardium.


          Male Wistar rats were categorized into four groups and given different treatments via oral administration. The Control (C) group received tap water, the Red Bull (RB) group received 1.5 ml/100 g body weight of Red Bull, the ethanol group (E) received 0.486 mg/100 g body weight of ethanol, and the Red Bull and ethanol (RBE) received a combination of the two beverages for 30 days. In the last 6 days of the experiment, the animals were tested for their physical performance by conducting a weight-loaded forced swim test. Immediately after swimming exhaustion, the animals were sacrificed under anesthesia and samples of the heart muscle were harvested for ultrastructural and biochemical analyses.


          Our results showed a significant increase in the heart glucose and glycogen concentrations in the RB and RBE groups. Total cholesterol concentration significantly decreased in the RBE and RB groups. Total protein concentration and ALT and AST activities increased in all groups. The biochemical changes were accompanied by ultrastructural alterations.


          Based on these results, we recommend that athletes and active persons should avoid the long-term consumption of the Red Bull ED and, particularly, its combination with alcohol.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Determination of glycogen in small tissue samples.

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            C. Brillante, M. Cantilena, C. O. Pavese (edd.): I poemi epici rapsodici non omerici e la tradizione orale. Atti del convegno di Venezia 28–30 settembre 1977. Pp. xiv + 268. Padua: Antenore, 1981. Paper.

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              Energy beverages: content and safety.

              Exercise is making a resurgence in many countries, given its benefits for fitness as well as prevention of obesity. This trend has spawned many supplements that purport to aid performance, muscle growth, and recovery. Initially, sports drinks were developed to provide electrolyte and carbohydrate replacement. Subsequently, energy beverages (EBs) containing stimulants and additives have appeared in most gyms and grocery stores and are being used increasingly by "weekend warriors" and those seeking an edge in an endurance event. Long-term exposure to the various components of EBs may result in significant alterations in the cardiovascular system, and the safety of EBs has not been fully established. For this review, we searched the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from 1976 through May 2010, using the following keywords: energy beverage, energy drink, power drink, exercise, caffeine, red bull, bitter orange, glucose, ginseng, guarana, and taurine. Evidence regarding the effects of EBs is summarized, and practical recommendations are made to help in answering the patient who asks, "Is it safe for me to drink an energy beverage when I exercise?"

                Author and article information

                Anatol J Cardiol
                Anatol J Cardiol
                Anatolian Journal of Cardiology
                Kare Publishing (Turkey )
                May 2018
                : 19
                : 5
                : 326-333
                Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Babes-Bolyai University; Cluj-Napoca- Romania
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Camelia Lang, MD, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Babes-Bolyai University, 5-7 Clinicilor Street, Cluj-Napoca- Romania Phone: +40 264 595 739 ext. 117 E-mail: camelia.lang@ 123456ubbcluj.ro
                Copyright: © 2018 Turkish Society of Cardiology

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

                Original Investigation

                energy drinks, red bull, ethanol, heart muscle


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