Energy drinks
A love for energy drinks can put your life at risk, new study shows.Flickr / Rupert Ganzer

A love for energy drinks can put your life at risk, new study shows.

A new study from France has linked consumption of energy drinks to heart problems like angina, irregular heartbeat and even sudden death.

Angina, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is a pain or discomfort in chest, arms, neck, jaw or back caused by insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

Professor Milou-Daniel Drici, who presented the research at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2014 in Barcelona on Sunday, held the high amount of caffeine present in energy drinks responsible for these adverse health effects.

"Around 96% of these drinks contain caffeine, with a typical 0.25 litre can holding 2 espressos worth of caffeine," Professor Drici, said in a news release. "Caffeine is one of the most potent agonists of the ryanodine receptors and leads to a massive release of calcium within cardiac cells. This can cause arrhythmias, but also has effects on the heart's abilities to contract and to use oxygen."

Data for the study came from ANSES, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, according to which the French consumed about 30 million litre of energy drinks in 2011 - about 30 percent more than what they used to drink in 2009.

From 2009 to 2011, the agency received about 257 adverse events associated with energy drinks. Researchers looked at 212 cases including reports of cardiac arrests and sudden death (8), heart rhythm disorders (46) and angina (13).

A close examination revealed that caffeine syndrome, a condition that leads to fast heart rate, anxiety and headache - played a huge role in this occurrence.

The findings back a 2012 study from Germany. In the study, even healthy adults experienced considerable increase in heart contraction rates, nearly one hour after consuming energy drinks.

Energy drinks are very popular among the young generation today. But countless studies in the past have linked the favourite drink to seizures, diabetes and behavioural disorders.

Apart from the high amounts of caffeine, energy drinks contain chemicals like taurine, guarana, L-carntiine, ginseng and yohimbe. Yohimbe, an extract derived from the African tree bark, is an ingredient banned by FDA and has reportedly caused the death of two teenagers in Allentown and a sophomore from University of Arizona, according to a 2009 report from The Temple News.

A report compiled by experts from Mayo Clinic in US warns against drinking energy drinks as the high-sugar drink can lead to weight gain; and the caffeine intake can cause insomnia, nervousness, irritability, increased blood sugar and rapid heartbeat.