Is Your Energy Drink Bad for Your Heart? BONUS: Body Ecology Energy Drink Recipe

Energy drinks hit the market in 1997. Since then, their popularity has continued to soar, with new diet energy drinks and large 16-ounce energy drinks taking over the ballooning market—which are especially attractive to men and teens. (1)

Energy Drinks: A Threat to Health?

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the results of a nationwide survey. (2)

They found that:

  • Nearly one third of Americans consume energy drinks.
  • 21% of Americans do so on a regular, weekly basis.
  • Young adults (ages 18–24) are the biggest consumers of energy drinks.
Studies warn against the use of energy drinks, as they may provoke seizures in adults.

And because energy drink companies sponsor athletes, energy drinks are often used to enhance performance in sports.

But mounting evidence shows that energy drinks may not be good for health—especially when it comes to your heart.

Recently, researchers at McGill University Health Center found that many heart complications have been reported after the use of energy drinks. These complications include irregular heartbeat and even cardiac arrest. (3)


If you are among the one third of Americans that regularly consume energy drinks, it may be taking a toll on your health. Research has associated energy drink use with seizures, irregular heartbeat, and cardiac arrest.

Other studies warn against the use of energy drinks, as they may provoke seizures in adults. (4) A study published last year in May suggests that taurine—a compound found in many energy drinks—may be responsible. (5)

Researchers in Australia found a significant association between energy drinks and anxiety—but only in young men. (6)

Energy drinks are also pro-inflammatory.

In a study conducted by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, researchers found that cyclists had more markers for inflammation after consuming energy drinks. (7) This means that energy drinks can slow down recovery time after a workout or sports event.

What’s in Popular Energy Drinks?

Energy drinks claim to uplift your performance—strengthening both mental acuity and physical endurance.

This is largely because some of the key ingredients in energy drinks are caffeine, sugar, and taurine:

  • Caffeine—also found in coffee, black tea, and stimulating herbs like guarana—can indeed keep the mind focused while giving you a boost of physical energy. (8)(9) Research shows that at a high dose, caffeine is a toxin. (10) Worse, many people grow dependent on caffeine and experience signs of withdrawal, like headache or a drop in energy once they stop consuming caffeinated drinks. (11)

    The level of caffeine in one energy drink ranges from 50 mg to 505 mg. Unfortunately, the United States has some of the most lax requirements on content labeling and health warnings.

  • Sugar is another ingredient found in many energy drinks. The cells of the body burn sugar—or glucose—as fuel. The problem is that the amount of sugar in energy drinks is excessive. One small 8.4 ounce can of an energy drink may contain over 27 grams of sugar.

    Excessive sugar in the diet is not only linked to issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes, but research also shows a strong relationship between excessive sugar and learning disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (12) Consuming too much sugar too often can affect how our brain chemicals fire—specifically, dopamine. This can scatter our ability to focus and make us prone to emotional outbursts.

  • Taurine plays an important role in both the movement and the development of muscle. Beyond skeletal muscle—or the muscles that we see as we move the body—taurine also supports heart muscle. Taurine is an antioxidant and is widely regarded as “good” for us. But scientists still do not fully understand taurine’s role in the body, especially high doses of isolated, synthetic taurine.

    For example, recent research suggests that high doses of taurine may provoke seizures. (5) A significant number of papers published in 2014 tell us that taurine is also considered a brain chemical that excites specific networks in the brain. This may contribute to the link between taurine in energy drinks and adult-onset seizures. (13)(14)

Recipe for Body Ecology’s Energy Drink

Luckily, you can find ways to naturally support the body when you demand a little more from it.

Whether you are gearing up for a long road trip, staying up late to help your child with a school project, working double shifts, or adding a new workout routine to your day—we have the recipe for an energy drink that will give you all the physical and mental stamina you need.

Instead of caffeine and sugar, we use Rhodiola rosea. Research shows that Rhodiola helps the body adapt to stress, increasing mental prowess and physical strength. Those who take Rhodiola perform better on tests, are able to sleep better, show signs of improved mood, and have greater physical endurance. (15) You will find Rhodiola in Body Ecology’s Vitality SuperGreen.

Many energy drinks contain B vitamins—a group of water soluble vitamins that are critical to cell metabolism and the production of energy. Fermented Spirulina is a complete source of protein and contains B vitamins that are essential for energy production.

Finally, goat milk is naturally high in taurine—even higher than cow’s milk! (16)(17)

While heat does not affect the amount of taurine in goat milk, we suggest fermenting your dairy with a kefir starter. This is because dairy kefir contains valuable enzymes that your body needs to digest food and to cleanse. Dairy kefir is full of beneficial microbes that can soothe inflammation and help the body regulate stress—giving you the energy you need to press on!

Body Ecology’s Energy Drink Recipe

Place all ingredients into a blender and enjoy!

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Energy drinks have been popular since their introduction in 1997. Today, close to one third of Americans consume energy drinks. An energy drink from a local convenience store may seem innocent, but research has associated energy drinks with heart complications, seizures, and inflammation.

Popular energy drinks contain stimulating ingredients like caffeine, sugar, and taurine:

  • At a high dose, caffeine is a toxin; caffeine dependence may result in withdrawal-related energy crashes and headaches.
  • Energy drink sugar levels are excessive, to say the least; one small 8.4 ounce energy drink could contain more than 27 grams of sugar.
  • Taurine is an antioxidant that supports muscle development, although some studies have associated high doses of taurine with seizures.

Try a natural alternative to a potentially harmful energy drink with the Body Ecology Energy Drink Recipe:

Place all ingredients into a blender and enjoy!

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  1. Park, S., Onufrak, S., Blanck, H. M., & Sherry, B. (2013). Characteristics associated with consumption of sports and energy drinks among US adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113(1), 112-119.
  2. Goldfarb, M., Tellier, C., & Thanassoulis, G. (2014). Review of Published Cases of Adverse Cardiovascular Events After Ingestion of Energy Drinks. The American journal of cardiology, 113(1), 168-172.
  3. Iyadurai, S. J. P., & Chung, S. S. (2007). New-onset seizures in adults: possible association with consumption of popular energy drinks. Epilepsy & Behavior, 10(3), 504-508.
  4. Oja, S. S., & Saransaari, P. (2013). Taurine and epilepsy. Epilepsy research.
  5. Trapp, G. S., Allen, K., O’Sullivan, T. A., Robinson, M., Jacoby, P., & Oddy, W. H. (2013). Energy drink consumption is associated with anxiety in Australian young adult males. Depression and anxiety.
  6. Phillips, M. D., Rola, K. S., Christensen, K. V., Ross, J. W., & Mitchell, J. B. (2013). Pre-exercise energy drink consumption does not improve endurance cycling performance, but increases lactate, monocyte and IL-6 response. Journal of strength and conditioning research/National Strength & Conditioning Association.
  7. Duncan, M. J., Taylor, S., & Lyons, M. (2012). The Effect of Caffeine Ingestion on Field Hockey Skill Performance Following Physical Fatigue. Research in Sports Medicine, 20(1), 25-36.
  8. Rusted, J. (2010). Caffeine and cognitive performance: Effects on mood or mental processing?. Caffeine and Behavior: Current Views and Research Trends, 224.
  9. Reissig, C. J., Strain, E. C., & Griffiths, R. R. (2009). Caffeinated energy drinks—a growing problem. Drug and alcohol dependence, 99(1), 1-10.
  10. Budney, A. J., Brown, P. C., Griffiths, R. R., Hughes, J. R., & Juliano, L. M. (2013). Caffeine Withdrawal and Dependence: A Convenience Survey Among Addiction Professionals. Journal of Caffeine Research.
  11. Satel, S. (2006). Is caffeine addictive?-A review of the literature. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse, 32(4), 493-502.
  12. Johnson, R. J., Gold, M. S., Johnson, D. R., Ishimoto, T., Lanaspa, M. A., Zahniser, N. R., & Avena, N. M. (2011). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Is it Time to Reappraise the Role of Sugar Consumption?. Postgraduate medicine, 123(5), 39.
  13. Sava, B. A., Chen, R., Sun, H., Luhmann, H. J., & Kilb, W. (2014). Taurine activates GABAergic networks in the neocortex of immature mice. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 8, 26.
  14. Calabrò, R. S., Italiano, D., Gervasi, G., & Bramanti, P. (2012). Single tonic–clonic seizure after energy drink abuse. Epilepsy & Behavior, 23(3), 384-385.
  15. Frater, E. S. Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview.
  16. Manzi, P., & Pizzoferrato, L. (2013). Taurine in milk and yoghurt marketed in Italy. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 64(1), 112-116.
  17. Gupta, R. C. (2012, April). Taurine-Rich Goat Milk. In FIRST ASIA DAIRY GOAT CONFERENCE (Vol. 9, p. 139).
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