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Alcohol, energy drinks raise heart risks

London - Youngsters who mix alcohol with energy drinks risk heart palpitations and disturbed sleep, researchers warn.

A study found that the highly-caffeinated drinks used by millions to make them extra-alert on a night out raised the odds of a range of health problems.

The marketing of energy drinks causes as much concern among caffeine researchers and paediatricians as the ingredients in these beverages, which also include sugar and herbal extracts. Credit: sxc.hu

Revellers who used energy drinks as a mixer were six times as likely to suffer heart palpitations as those who drank their alcohol straight or with a normal soft drink.

They also had four times the odds of sleep difficulties and were more prone to tremors, irritability and so-called jolt and crash episodes – sudden, short-lived bursts of energy followed by exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to those produced by caffeine, one of the chief ingredients of energy drinks such as Red Bull.

One can of Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine, around the same as two cans of cola and slightly less than a mug of instant coffee.

Andrea Carr, of the University of Tasmania, said that to avoid side-effects, “consumers of energy drinks alone or combined with alcohol should be aware of the caffeine content of their drinks and any additional caffeine they may have consumed that will contribute to an exacerbation of these effects”.

Contrary to previous belief, the study of 403 men and women aged between 18 and 35, reported in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found energy drink fans were less likely to take risks when drinking.

A spokesman from the British Soft Drinks Association said: “People who choose to drink alcoholic drinks should consume them in moderation, whether they are mixed with energy drinks or not.” - Daily Mail

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