Prana watch: Not all caffeinated drinks are created equal

It’s been a while since coffee/caffeine-related news has passed through the Confluence Countdown’s transcom. But low and behold, some has churned out on our old dotmatrix printer, and it isn’t entirely favorable.

But, as with most science, you just have to parse it to your liking. We’ll get to that. First off, the bad news: Energy drinks are bad.

Shocking, I know. And, actually, it’s sort of their shocking-like effects that suggest why they are bad:

To get more detail on exactly how energy drinks caused medical problems, Dörner and his colleagues imaged the hearts of 15 men and three women with a 1.5-Tesla MRI scanner. Then the volunteers drank a beverage containing high amounts of caffeine and taurine and had their hearts scanned again.

One hour after consuming the experimental energy drink, the researchers found that radiologic measurements of heart strain were significantly higher than at baseline.

Specifically, the team measured the peak strain and peak systolic strain rate of the heart’s left ventricle, which is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood from the lungs to the aorta and then on to the rest of the body. Both showed changes that were too big to be due to chance. In addition, the team found a small change in peak diastolic strain rate, but it wasn’t large enough to be statistically significant. (In the language of blood pressure, the systolic measurement quantifies the pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle contracts and diastolic measurement quantifies pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle is relaxed between heartbeats.)

The researchers also looked for changes in heart rate and blood pressure before and after volunteers consumed the energy drink, but the readings in both cases were essentially the same, according to the study’s abstract.

That’s courtesy of the LA Times.

So let it not be said that we only publish good news on the caffeine front. But I promised some parsing, so here goes.

A significant difference in our minds — and, frankly, in the mind of our doctor — is whether you are getting your caffeine from a natural or artificial source. Our doctor, years ago, told me that if I had to have caffeine (and you know what the answer to that “if” question was), get it naturally. If you read the full Times piece, you’ll notice that energy drinks can have up to three times the caffeine of coffee (or, admittedly, soda). That doesn’t happen naturally.

I’m sure if one wanted to down a full gallon of coffee, one could replicate the results. But who would do something like that?

So… remember: Prana is natural. Keep your prana boosts natural, too.

Posted by Steve

So coffee or tea instead of coke or, yes, energy drinks.

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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