Speed Reads

health alert

Drinking too many energy drinks might alter your heart

Sure, Red Bull doesn't actually give you wings — but it might be doing something else to your body.

Researchers have found that caffeine and other ingredients common in many energy drinks can have adverse health effects, including sleep disruption, high blood pressure, and even cardiac arrest, CNN reports. And a study, published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that consuming too many energy drinks can actually change the electrical activity in your heart in potentially life-threatening ways.

While the American Beverage Association still maintains that energy drinks aren't more dangerous than other foods, health experts have long thought differently. Besides caffeine, many energy drinks include other stimulants — including "guarana, a plant that grows in the Amazon; taurine, an amino acid that's naturally found in meat and fish; and L-carnitine, a substance in our bodies that helps turn fat into energy," CNN explained — which may interact with each other, enhancing their potency to a dangerous level.

These interactions could be especially dangerous for children, pregnant women, or even people who just don't regularly consume caffeine, said John Higgins, a cardiologist at the University of Texas. With the study's new information, "people need to be aware of" the potential health risks associated with energy drinks, Higgins said. Read more at CNN.