Category Archives: Cardiovascular disease

Can milk proteins protect us from cardiovascular disease?

Milk-proteins-may-protect-against-cardiovascular-diseaseDrink your milk, it’s good for your bones and your teeth. How many times did you hear that when you were growing up? We’d bet it was pretty often. Then there were the tag lines … “Got Milk?”. “Milk, it does a body good.” Today we found out that milk proteins may do a body more good than previously thought.

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that results in browned foods like seared steaks and toasted bread. When proteins and sugars are mixed together and heated, new chemical compounds are formed. Some are responsible for new flavors and some, according to a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science®, may protect us against cardiovascular disease.

Researchers at the R&D Center, Seoul Dairy Cooperative, the College of Life Science & Biotechnology, Korea University, and the BK21 Plus Graduate Program, Department of Animal Science and Institute Agricultural Science & Technology, Chonbuk National University in South Korea, have determined that dietary compounds formed in milk-based products lowered serum total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and triglycerides in mice. These compounds also protected against acute pulmonary thromboembolism as well as aspirin, but without the possible bleeding consequences often observed in aspirin therapy.

Whey protein concentrate and sodium caseinate were heated with lactose to form whey-protein Maillard reaction products (wMRP). Lactic acid bacteria were then used to produce fermented MRPs (f-MRP). Sodium caseinate alone was also reacted to form Maillard-reacted sodium caseinate (cMRP) and further fermented to f-cMRP.

To determine antithrombotic effects, 60 mice were divided into four treatment groups of 15. Group 1 received phosphate buffered saline (PBS) (negative control), group 2 received aspirin (positive control), group 3 received wMRP, and group 4 received f-MRP in addition to a normal diet. Assessment of antioxidant activity and cholesterol reduction effect of fermented cMRP was done with another group of 60 mice fed various diets with and without f-cMRP.

“This is the first report describing the verification for the impacts of MRPs and their fermented product in cardiovascular risk using animal model,” explained lead investigator Younghoon Kim, PhD, of the Department of Animal Science, Chonbuk National University, Republic of Korea, “In addition, our findings represent a real advance in the area of milk proteins and indicate that f-cMRP and cMRP could be recommended for use as potential antioxidants and cardioprotective ingredients for various functional, pharmaceutical, and dairy applications.”

Matt Lucy, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Dairy Science, and Professor of Animal Science, University of Missouri, added, “We are beginning to understand that dairy products provide benefits to human health beyond the traditional nutrients. This study performed in laboratory animals demonstrates the potential for milk proteins found in naturally fermented foods to improve human cardiovascular health.”

FoodFacts.com likes the idea that we’re expanding our definitions of hearty healthy foods. Strong, healthy hearts are a great goal for everyone and understanding how our diets can help us achieve that goal is empowering for us all.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611144053.htm

Obesity and Inflammation … new insights into obesity-related metabolic conditions

1263-obese-woman-eating-enormous-burger_0Metabolic conditions caused by obesity are in the news consistently. Complications like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease can, in many instances, be linked with obesity. While we know the link exists, it’s been difficult to understand how these things are a direct result of excessive body fat. Understanding that obesity affects health negatively isn’t enough. Getting to the root of the problem is key to help doctors and individuals reverse the obesity crisis for generations to come.

Teams led by Nicolas Venteclef, Inserm Research Fellow (Cordeliers Research Centre, Inserm/Pierre and Marie Curie University Joint Research Unit 1138, Paris, France) and Irina Udalova (Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford, UK) in collaboration with several teams, have succeeded in elucidating part of the mechanisms involved in the development of these metabolic complications associated with obesity. Results of these studies are published online in the journal Nature Medicine.

Currently, over one and a half billion people worldwide suffer from overweight or obesity. We have known for about a decade that a chronic state of inflammation is present in obese patients. This state might play a fundamental role in the development of associated metabolic diseases. This inflammation results from abnormal activity of the immune system observed both systemically (bloodstream) and locally (in metabolic organs such as the liver, muscles, pancreas and especially the adipose tissue).

Following excessive weight gain, the adipose tissue develops in an abnormal manner in the intra-abdominal region (android obesity), and becomes an important source of pro-inflammatory mediators, the “chemical messengers” that activate inflammation, with harmful metabolic consequences. This phenomenon is particularly provoked by the accumulation of pro-inflammatory macrophages in this tissue. Paradoxically, some obese subjects do not develop metabolic alterations. Indeed, when adipose tissue expansion occurs in the more superficial deposits, such as the subcutaneous adipose tissue (gynoid obesity), the risk of developing metabolic complications is reduced.

In an earlier study (Dalmas et al. Diabetes 2014), the team led by Karine Clément (Guerre-Millo and coll., UMR_S 1166, Paris, France), in collaboration with Nicolas Venteclef, had observed the importance of inflammatory and prodiabetogenic cross-talk between macrophages and lymphocytes in the visceral adipose tissue of obese patients. By characterising these macrophages, they were able to identify transcription factor IRF5 (Interferon Regulatory Factor 5) as the orchestral conductor of macrophage activation in adipose tissue in obesity.

In order to demonstrate the importance of IRF5 in obesity and type 2 diabetes, the authors generated mice lacking this factor, and then subjected them to a high-fat diet that usually induces obesity and type 2 diabetes. Surprisingly, mice deficient in IRF5 did develop obesity, but without metabolic complications, in contrast to wild-type mice expressing IRF5. This beneficial adaptation by IRF5-deficient mice can be explained by preferential storage of fat in the subcutaneous (protective) and not the intra-abdominal (harmful) region. Decoding of molecular and cellular mechanisms made it possible to show a substantial reprogramming of inflammation in the visceral adipose tissue when IRF5 is absent, which helps to limit its expansion. Indeed, in the absence of IRF5, obesity induces an immune response characterised by the presence of anti-inflammatory macrophages and reduced immune response activation. This modification induces tissue remodelling that limits the expansion of intra-abdominal adipose tissue. This allows the redistribution of lipids in the intra-abdominal cavity to the subcutaneous deposits, a less harmful form of storage for the body.

Data obtained with mice were confirmed in overweight, obese or massively obese patients, by showing significant correlation between IRF5 expression in the visceral adipose tissue and metabolic dysfunctions associated with obesity.

This pioneering study suggests that the immune system (in this case the macrophages of the adipose tissue) directly influences the accumulation of fatty matter in the visceral region, a likely target in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. For the researchers, “It is therefore crucial to decipher the different aspects of inflammation in order to better understand the multifactorial diseases associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes.”

The approach implemented in this study encapsulates translational research, which is aimed at developing effective therapies for patients by establishing a fruitful dialogue between clinicians and researchers, in order to produce robust results that are supported by mouse models while being relevant to humans.

Obesity and inflammation appear to go hand in hand. Scientists are beginning to understand exactly how obesity affects the body which will eventually yield treatments, not simply for the metabolic difficulties that plague the obese population, but hopefully for the treatment of obesity as a disease. FoodFacts.com is hopeful that research like this will not only result in successful treatments, but also add to a different understanding of obesity as a health condition. By removing the stigma attached to obesity in society and creating an understanding of the disease of obesity, we’re more likely to move in the right direction for everyone.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150507114320.htm

Sugary beverages can boost your risk of cardiovascular disease in just two weeks

sugarydrinksNew York City wanted to ban them. The federal government wants to tax them. Sugar-sweetened beverages have been under fire for quite a while now. But consumers keep right on drinking them. Soda, flavored iced coffee, flavored iced tea, fruit punch … these, and others, contain tremendous amounts of added sugars. Sugary drinks are a major culprit in the overconsumption of sugar that has contributed so heavily to the obesity crisis.

Beverages sweetened with low, medium and high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup significantly increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease, even when consumed for just two weeks by young, healthy men and women, reports a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis.

The study is the first to demonstrate a direct, dose-dependent relationship between the amount of added sugar consumed in sweetened beverages and increases in specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The data reinforce evidence from an earlier epidemiological study showing that the risk of death from cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world — increases as the amount of added sugar consumed increases.

The results will be published in the June print edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“These findings clearly indicate that humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels,” said Kimber Stanhope, the study’s lead author and a research scientist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

The 85 participants, including men and women ranging in age from 18 to 40 years, were placed in four different groups. During 15 days of the study, they consumed beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup equivalent to 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent or 25 percent of their total daily calorie requirements.

The 0-percent control group was given a sugar-free beverage sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener.

At the beginning and end of the study, researchers used hourly blood draws to monitor the changes in the levels of lipoproteins, triglycerides and uric acid — all known to be indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.

These risk factors increased as the dose of high-fructose corn syrup increased. Even the participants who consumed the 10-percent dose exhibited increased circulating concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride compared with their concentrations at the beginning of the study.

The researchers also found that most of the increases in lipid/lipoprotein risk factors for cardiovascular disease were greater in men than in women and were independent of body weight gain.

Stanhope noted that the study findings underscore the need to extend the research using carefully controlled dietary intervention studies, aimed at determining what would be prudent levels for added sugar consumption.

We tend to think of the relationship between sugar consumption and health in terms of obesity and weight gain. While that’s certainly an issue, FoodFacts.com wants to point out that this study indicates that the harmful effects of added sugar can, in fact, be independent of weight gain. Too much sugar is bad for your heart, even if you aren’t experiencing challenges with weight. Slowly but surely, science is proving that even the person you know who can “eat and drink whatever they want and not gain weight” isn’t immune to the harmful effects of consuming added sugar. It’s not just about your weight. It’s about your health.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150422142515.htm

Watching your waistline takes on new meaning

heart-diseaseWhile we know that obesity elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease, we may not be aware of how a growing waistline effects health. Abdominal obesity — sometimes benignly referred to as belly fat or midriff bulge — might not appear to be a tremendous concern. Being overweight isn’t necessarily associated with obesity. But extra weight gathering in your midsection may not actually be harmless as some might think.

Sudden cardiac death, or SCD for short, occurs without warning, and is caused by a sudden unexpected loss of heart function, which rapidly reduces blood flow around the body, including to the brain. It is distinct from a heart attack, and kills around 300,000 people in the USA every year.

Obesity has long been associated with various unfavourable changes in cardiovascular health, including SCD. But researchers wanted to find out if a persistent midriff bulge may carry a greater risk of SCD than general obesity as the evidence suggests this body fat distribution may be more dangerous.

They therefore studied almost 15,000 middle aged men and women (45-64 years of age), all of whom were taking part in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

ARIC has been tracking the causes of artery narrowing in middle aged Americans since 1987.
All the participants (55% women; 26% African American) underwent a detailed health assessment in 1987-9, and then again in 1990-92, 1993-5, 1996-8, and 2011-13. This included measurements of weight, height, waist circumference, and the waist to hip ratio.

During the monitoring period, which averaged 12.5 years, 253 SCDs occurred. Those affected were in their mid-fifties, on average; one in three was female; and four out of 10 were of African American heritage.
Unsurprisingly, those who died suddenly tended to have a higher prevalence of known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

They also had a higher BMI (body mass index), larger waist circumference, and a larger waist to hip ratio–an indicator of central obesity–than those who did not sustain an SCD.

The risk of SCD was associated with general obesity, but only in non-smokers. And of the measures of obesity–BMI, waist circumference, and waist to hip ratio–waist to hip ratio was the most strongly associated with SCD risk after taking account of other influential factors.
Those with the highest waist to hip ratio had double the risk of SCD of those with a normal ratio.

And unlike BMI and waist circumference, the association between waist to hip ratio was independent of existing coronary heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure and other known risk factors.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, added to which the precise mechanisms for the association between SCD and central obesity are not known, say the researchers.

But fat around the midriff is thought to be more critical than fat stored elsewhere in the body, because of its influence on inflammation.

Even though this study is observational in nature, it certainly points to links between excess abdominal weight and heart health. FoodFacts.com wants us all to remain aware that even without the presence of technical obesity, carrying too much weight in your midsection may have detrimental health effects. Watch your waistline … not because a smaller waist measurement helps you look better, but because you’ll stay healthier longer without belly fat.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141210204626.htm

Exposure to arsenic at low to moderate levels linked to cardiovascular disease and death

FoodFacts.com knows that our community is aware of arsenic making its way into our food supply and even our water sources. It’s been an unpleasant and sometimes heavily argued idea that has sadly been proven over the last few years. This is such a clear example of why it is so important for all of us to remain aware of what we’re consuming and how it affects our health and well-being. Today we found information on how arsenic may be affecting the population. It’s significant knowledge that we all need to understand.

A new study from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Sciences shows that chronic exposure to low to moderate levels of inorganic arsenic is associated with increased incidence of fatal and not-fatal cardiovascular disease. Inorganic arsenic in water and food (particularly rice and grain) is a major global health problem.

Research has shown that high arsenic levels in drinking water increase the risk of peripheral artery disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, and carotid atherosclerosis. However, less is known about the cardiovascular effects of low to moderate arsenic levels, an issue that affects most populations around the world.

In the United States, people living in small rural communities in the Southwest, Midwest, and Northeast are disproportionately exposed to inorganic arsenic. Researchers analyzed urine samples for 3,575 American Indian men and women living in Arizona, Oklahoma, and North and South Dakota to evaluate the prospective association of chronic low to moderate arsenic exposure with incident cardiovascular disease over almost 20 years follow-up. They found that baseline urine arsenic concentrations were prospectively associated with cardiovascular disease mortality and incidence (1,184 developed fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease and 439 developed fatal cardiovascular disease).

The researchers conclude that low to moderate arsenic exposure is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease with no apparent threshold.

First it was arsenic in apple juice. Then we were told about arsenic in rice. And there can be arsenic in drinking water. FoodFacts.com will continue to keep abreast of this issue and report on any new findings. It’s important for us to remain informed and knowledgeable about our food. It’s also essential for us to understand the health implications of arsenic and other concerns so that we can manage and avoid the possible detrimental effects.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266526.php

Too much of a good thing? Antioxidants and the cardiovascular benefits of exercise.

FoodFacts.com has always included information in our blog posts about the benefits of the antioxidants found in natural, fresh fruits and vegetables. There have been so many good things to tell our community about the benefits of these compounds. The antioxidant resveratrol has made news in the last year for the possibility of its anti-aging properties. It’s found in red wine, red grapes, as well as peanuts, blueberries, cranberries, dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Resveratrol has been associated with the protection of the heart and circulatory system, lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as reducing the risk of certain cancers. All great news!

But now, new research at The University of Copenhagen surprisingly suggests that eating a diet rich in antioxidants may actually counteract many of the health benefits of exercise, including reduced blood pressure and cholesterol.

In contrast to earlier studies in animals in which resveratrol improved the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, this study in humans has provided surprising and strong evidence that in older men, resveratrol has the opposite effect.

While antioxidants like resveratrol have plenty of positive effects on our health, this information seems to point to the idea that some degree of oxidant stress might be necessary for the body to work correctly. So too much of this good thing might actually be detrimental to our health.

The study comes out of the University of Copenhagen. Researchers studied 27 healthy, physically inactive men who were about 65 years of age for 8 weeks. During the study period, all of the men performed high-intensity exercise training. Half of the group received 250 mg of resveratrol daily, while the other half received a placebo. The study was double-blinded so that neither the subjects nor the scientists knew which participant received the antioxidant or the placebo.

Researchers found that the exercise training undertaken by all the participants was very effective at improving their cardiovascular health. They did discover, however that resveratrol detracted from the positive effects of the training in areas including blood pressure and oxygen uptake, among others. Scientists were surprised to find that resveratrol in older men appeared to lessen the benefits of exercise on heart health. The results contract the findings from previous animal studies. The need for larger, more extensive studies on varied age groups was noted in order to confirm the results obtained. In addition, it was noted that the resveratrol supplementation provided in this study was greater than the amounts obtained through natural food sources.

FoodFacts.com looks forward to further research regarding the effects of antioxidants on our health. This is important information regarding how these compounds work in our bodies to promote our well-being. Perhaps the “too much of a good thing” concept for resveratrol and other antioxidant compounds is related to supplementation, as opposed to obtaining these compounds through natural food sources. A balanced diet, rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables can provide us with the nutrition our bodies need to remain healthy and strong throughout our lifetimes.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722071955.htm

Add walnuts to your healthy diet and you may reduce your risk of heart disease

How many interesting and flavorful ways can you find to add walnuts to your diet? FoodFacts.com can think of quite a few: add them to cold or hot cereals, top your salad with them, sprinkle them over pancakes, include them in muffin batter, saute them with your chicken … and we’re only just getting started! Nuts are a healthy snack and a healthy addition to your meals. Today we found new information that makes walnuts a top pick when deciding on your nuts of choice.

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition conducted by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, CT shows that walnuts may protect against heart disease. The study explored the health effects of daily walnut consumption by adults at risk for developing diabetes or heart disease.

These results backed up previous findings by the same team which found a significant improvement in blood vessel function among people with diabetes who consumed two ounces of walnuts daily for eight weeks. The researchers note that walnuts contain many healthy nutrients, including omega-3 fat. They are a satisfying snack, enabling us to feel full and stay full, thus helping us avoid other, less nutritious foods.

Participants in this new study were all overweight with an average age of 57 years. They all had at least one of a few different health conditions including high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol. Each of these conditions can increase the risk for diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Diabetes, in turn, can raise the risk for cardiovascular disease.

All participants were asked to continue their usual eating patterns for one eight-week interval. This was considered the control phase of the study. For the next eight weeks, participants again continued their regular diets, except for this phase they were instructed to consume two ounces of walnuts each day. They were also instructed to adjust for the extra calories from the walnuts – removing an equal number of calories from their regular diet so that their calorie intake would be consistent with the control phase.

Researchers found that after the second eight-week phase of the study, participants’ blood vessel function improved significantly in comparison to the control phase. Body weight and waist circumference remained consistent. In addition, participants experienced a reduction in systolic blood pressure – although that reduction was not statistically significant. The study results provide evidence that walnuts can play a role in protecting against heart disease in at-risk individuals.

How can you add two ounces of walnuts to your daily diet? FoodFacts.com has a few more ideas for you … use them in pesto sauce instead of pine nuts, sprinkle them on asparagus, add them to chicken salad, or brown rice or quinoa, sprinkle them on ice cream for a treat. We’re sure you can come up with even more great uses for walnuts and hope that you do. Two ounces a day for better heart health is certainly an easy adjustment to make … and a great way to add some flavor and crunch to our meals!

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/study-shows-walnuts-may-protect-against-heart-disease-212282491.html

The right nutritional beginning can be kind to your heart

Everyone in the FoodFacts.com community knows that we’ve always advocated for the healthiest possible start for our children. With childhood obesity on the rise, we understand that now more than ever it’s so important for parents and caregivers of small children to pay careful attention to the foods they consume. Today we found new information that speaks directly to the importance of healthy beginnings.

A new study in the TARGet Kids! practice-based research network in Toronto, Ontario has shown that eating behaviors in preschool children may be associated with risk for cardiovascular disease later in life.

The study of more than 1,000 preschool aged children (3 to 5 years old) looked at the link between eating habits and HDL cholesterol levels (a marker for later cardiovascular disease risk)Parents filled out questionnaires addressing eating behaviors – things like watching television while eating, dietary intake, parental concerns about activity levels and growth, screen time and vitamin usage. Researchers measured height and weight of the kids and their parents and took blood samples. They assigned a risk level based on the ethnicity of the parents because some groups are more prone to heart disease than others.

The results revealed a link between eating behaviors and cardiovascular risk. That association may lead to early intervention measures. The results support previous calls for interventions that are aimed at improving the dietary habits of preschool-aged children. Some of those interventions can include responsive feeding. This would be a child-directed method where parents provide healthy food choices and children use internal cues for hunger, taking advantage of those healthy food choices. The eating styles of many children are parent directed –. breakfast served at a specific time in the morning, a mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack and dinner. Children fed in this manner do not develop a natural response to internal hunger cues. In addition, children can respond to cues from the television, encouraging them to eat. Often these cues lead the child and determine for them the timing and amount of food they consume.

This interesting survey certainly reinforces the concept that good nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices begin quite early. The youngest among us deserve the most careful attention when it comes to their dietary choices. FoodFacts.com encourages our community to offer fresh, healthy foods to the children they love. Good habits are easy to form. Start them young on the path to a healthy life and watch them grow into strong, happy and product adults. http://blog.foodfacts.com/baby-section

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/262084.php

AMA now classifies obesity as a disease in the U.S.

FoodFacts.com listened intently, along with the rest of the country today, as we learned that the American Medical Association formally voted to classify obesity a disease requiring a range of medical interventions in the United States.

More than 35 percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of children and teenagers are now recognized as having the disease of obesity. While the move is certainly stirring up some controversy for a variety of reasons, the intent of the AMA seems to be directed at giving doctors a broader range of options for treatment. Without this status, doctors treating obesity must instead approach it as a lifestyle condition requiring modification. Because the AMA is committed to improving outcomes, and because obesity is so commonly linked to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, this new classification is something they feel will help to arm the medical community more effectively as they tackle the epidemic.

Obesity is technically defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Normal weight is defined by a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9. More than one in three adults in our country carries a BMI over 30.

As the FoodFacts.com community is aware, there are growing bodies of research that link serious disease to this all-too-common condition. Increased risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, liver disease, sleep apnea, breathing problems, osteoarthritis, infertility and multiple types of cancer including breast, pancreas, kidney, and colon, have all been associated with the expanding obesity problem.

It is also hoped that the new classification of obesity as a disease can also help more Americans realize that unhealthy food choices combined with lack of exercise is a real threat to their health. A recent survey showed that although 70% of the population understands that obesity is linked with heart disease and diabetes, only 7 percent realized that obesity is associated with cancer. Only another 5 percent knew that both asthma and sleep apnea could be helped with weight reduction.

Classifying obesity as an actual disease may also impact new laws and insurance practices. Lap-band procedures and gastric bypass surgeries aren’t always covered by insurers. The reclassification may help to change that. In addition, patients may become more comfortable with their doctor prescribing treatment for the disease of obesity. As an actual disease treatment may not be considered offensive or embarrassing, leaving the patient feeling poorly about unhealthy lifestyle choices.

While the new classification seems to be stirring up many emotions across the internet, FoodFacts.com can’t help but feel encouraged that this major move by the AMA can help doctors treat obesity before its effects set in. It could be especially beneficial in combating childhood obesity and giving the youngest in our population a better opportunity to live a life free from the multitude of problems linked with the epidemic. This may prove to be an incredibly valuable step towards eradicating a problem plaguing not only the United States, but the population of the rest of the word as well.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57590063/obesity-now-declared-disease-but-risk-for-chronic-illnesses-was-no-secret/

Energy drinks can cause increases in blood pressure and heart disturbances

In the recent past, FoodFacts.com has devoted blog posts to the growing concerns surrounding energy drinks and how they affect our health. There have been concerning reports linking energy drink consumption to deaths and hospitalizations. And those reports have been on the rise. We’ve been especially concerned about how they are marketed and how attractive they seem to teenagers and children.

A new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions shows that energy drinks can drastically increase blood pressure and disturb the heart’s natural rhythm. The researchers out of the University of the Pacific in Stockton the David Grant Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base in California used previous data published in several different studies. They were able to illustrate the effects energy drink consumption have on the cardiovascular system.

Energy drinks contain two ingredients that affect both blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. Those ingredients are caffeine and taurine. The researchers measured something called the QT interval, which is the amount of time in the heart’s electrical cycle that reveals the heart’s rhythm. Scientists measured the QT interval of 93 people after they had consumed one to three cans of energy drinks. For each can of energy drink consumed, the participants QT interval increased by 10 milliseconds. A prolonged QT interval can be associated with life-threatening arrhythmias.

It was noted that doctors are concerned when a patient experiences an addition 30 milliseconds in their QT interval. The association between energy drinks and a prolonged QT interval —especially considering the reports of cardiac death after their consumption certainly calls for further research and investigation.

The participants blood pressure reading also increased by an average of 3.5 points. This, along with the prolonged QT interval, is cause for caution before energy drink consumption. It’s important to note that children are at a higher risk for these problems than adults.

FoodFacts.com will continue to report research regarding energy drinks. Meanwhile, please approach energy drinks with caution for yourselves and your families. Help teenagers and children to be aware of the possible dangers linked to these beverages.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/258125.php