Red Bull gives you wings. Rockstar? It gives you higher blood pressure. A new study out this week from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota asked a group of 25 young (median age of 29), healthy adults to consume 16 ounces of the energy drink that adorns the clothing and souped-up trucks of extreme sports athletes all over the world.
Half an hour after drinking, participants’ blood pressure rose an average of 6.4 percent compared to an increase of just 1 percent for those who drank a placebo. In addition to a rise in blood pressure, Rockstar drinkers also saw a dramatic 73 percent increase in their norepinephrine, often referred to as the stress hormone, which regulates our response to decision making in dangerous situations. An increase in norepinephrine primes our bodies for a physical response to situations—it puts us in “fight or flight” mode.
Researchers also gave their subjects different tasks to perform after drinking, like math problems or holding their hands in ice water for an extended period of time, though none of the activities had further effects on blood pressure or heart rate.
The researchers said that both the small sample size and small quantity of Rock Star consumed limited the conclusions they could draw and called for larger studies. That probably wouldn’t be too hard to facilitate. A quick trip to this year’s X Games should suffice.