Energy drinks are increasingly becoming popular among athletes, as they are believed to enhance performance by providing necessary electrolytes.

However, the temporary boost in performance comes with a range of side effects, such as insomnia, nervousness, and increased stimulation.

Now, a new study, published in Scientific Reports, has examined how different energy drinks affect the way muscles heal and grow, using cells from mice.

As part of the research, experts studied cells that were in the process of becoming muscle cells. They exposed these cells to eight different energy drinks from the brands Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, and Celsius after a four-day period without exposure. The researchers used different strengths of the energy drinks to see if they caused any harmful effects on the cells' growth and development into muscle cells.

The results showed that all the energy drinks tested made it harder for muscle fibers to form and affected important markers that were involved in muscle development.

When the energy drinks were diluted 1:50 in the differentiation medium, most of them did not cause cell death. However, at the 1:5 dilution, there was a significant effect, with 20-30% of the cells showing cytotoxicity. The only exception to this pattern was Red Bull Zero, as it did not display this drastic change in cytotoxicity with dilution, the study said.

The link between cytotoxicity (cell toxicity) and Celsius drinks is that the higher concentrations of caffeine in Celsius drinks led to increased cytotoxicity compared to other energy drinks. Caffeine, when present in higher amounts, has strong toxic effects on cells, which explains the higher cytotoxicity observed with Celsius drinks, the study found, as per

While most energy drinks did not cause the shrinking of muscle fibers at a certain dilution, Celsius Live Fit notably decreased the size of muscle fibers, the researchers found.

The outcomes implied that the tested energy drinks might be bad for muscles and make it more difficult for them to recover and repair themselves.

Energy drinks may also pose other health risks, especially to the cardiovascular and neurological systems. More research is needed for a better understanding and to support regulatory actions.

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Energy drinks have been linked to an increasing amount of cardiac cases, in which a patient drinks an excessive amount of caffeine then experiences a heart attack or arrhythmia. Pixabay, public domain