Are Energy Drinks Heart Healthy? A Research Project

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Are Energy Drinks Heart Healthy? A Project of Academics

Primary investigator Sachin Shah, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy practice at Pacific's Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and his team have been performing energy drink related research for over 5 years. Dr. Shah and team are now looking to understand the effects of long term energy drink consumption on human health. Dr. Shah is also Regional Coordinator and Pharmacy Residency Director at Travis Air Force Base.


Energy Drinks are widely used:

  • 31% of 12- to 17-year-olds and 34% of 18- to 24-year-olds regularly consume energy drinks (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fact Sheets).
  • 51% of college students consumed more than one energy drink per month (Malinauskas BM, et al. Nutr J. 2007)

Safety Unknown:

  • 34 deaths as of 2014 (Center for Science in the Public Interest).
  • Emergency room (ER) visits, related to energy drinks, increased to over 20,000 events in 2011 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Drug Abuse Warning Network report).
  • Cardiovascular effects (including an abnormal heart rhythm and conduction abnormalities) were reported in 57 percent of cases, and neurologic effects (seizures, including status epilepticus) in 55 percent (American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System).


We have conducted several trials looking at the impact of energy drinks on blood pressure and heart rhythm. However, the impact of long-term energy drinks remains unknown. Depending on the funds generated from this campaign, we plan to investigate:

  1. The impact of chronic energy drink consumption on blood pressure OR
  2. The impact of energy drinks on heart rhythm OR
  3. A method to counteract the effects of high energy drinks consumption.

The project we perform depends on the funding level:

  • If we raise $40K – $50K – Impact of energy drinks on blood pressure (Proposal 1) - We plan to perform the largest clinical trial evaluating the effects of long-term energy drink consumption on central (pressure at heart) and peripheral (typically measured at doctor's office) blood pressure. This will be a randomized, blinded, controlled trial which is considered the gold-standard study design.
  • If we raise $20K – $40K – Impact of energy drinks on heart rhythm (Proposal 2) - We plan to perform a clinical trial evaluating the effects of long-term energy drink consumption on the heart rhythm. Subjects will consume a caffeinated beverage or a caffeinated energy drink for a period of 2 weeks. During the two weeks, heart rhythm will be assessed using a continuous ECG monitoring device.
  • If we raise $1K – $20K – Counteracting the effects of energy drinks (Proposal 3) - We plan to perform a proof-of-concept study evaluating the impact of a dietary supplement that may counteract the effects of high energy drink consumption.

Our Timeline: Depending on the funding level and project we pursue, we anticipate completion of the project in 1 to 2 years. Presentation/publication can take an additional 6-12 months. Data will be presented at a scientific conference and results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal so that others may benefit from the discoveries you have funded.

This is a projected plan only. You can be assured that your donation will be supporting energy drink related clinical research. However, it is important to note that the goals, design and specifics of our intended plans could change based on the exact funds raised, emergence of new scientific information, and practical study feasibility considerations. Projects may also be scaled down depending on the funding.


All donors will receive a tax-deductible receipt.

All donors over $5000 will also be acknowledged in the final study publication (manuscript) and will receive updates throughout the project.

All donors over $10,000 will also be invited to a private dinner meeting with the research team at the end of the trial (Stockton, CA).

More Information:

Disclaimer: We do not endorse any particular products or treatments.

Together We Can Make It Happen! Here's How:
Drinks/Supplies $24,000
Equipment $10,000
Patient Recruitment $14,000
Conference Presentation $2,000
$1,155 Raised
2% towards $50,000 Goal

Supported by 7 Donations:

  • Silhouette
    Anonymous '14
    Good luck!
  • Silhouette
  • Kate O.
    I Gave $500
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $100
    Your altruistic research is inspiring! - nn
  • Silhouette
    Anonymous '88
    I Gave $100
    Great study!
  • B & C S.
    I Gave $250
    Wish you all the best!
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $100
    Good luck! MS