• Cardiovascular

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Can energy drinks cause heart issues?

In recent years, there's been a big boost in the beverage industry when it comes to the sale of energy drinks. Classified as dietary supplements, most of these drinks contain stimulating ingredients, in addition to high amounts of caffeine, that aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic recently published a study looking into the risks of consuming energy drinks by people with genetic heart diseases.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (1:06) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

They are stocked in coolers around the country. Energy drinks are beverages designed to give you a boost. But can they hurt your heart?

"The healthy heart can handle these chemicals just fine — of course, in moderation. The fragile heart may not be able to," says Dr. Michael Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Ackerman led a study looking into the effects of energy drinks on the heart. He warns that while energy drinks may not directly cause cardiac arrest, consuming them, especially in large quantities, can be a "perfect storm" for people with genetic heart conditions.

"Maybe you've been sleep deprived, and now you're taking the energy drink. Then maybe that is going to be the 1-2-3 punch that puts that heart — where normally those chemicals wouldn't have annoyed it — to now where it finally trips up the heart into that potentially life-threatening arrhythmia," he says.

He says it's not a strong link but a call to be aware.

"It's a call to being alert and aware, and informing your health care provider if you are consuming these drinks," says Dr. Ackerman.