Red Bull – Effectiveness and Safety Concerns Revisited

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Red Bull energy drink safety concerns

We have all seen the commercials stating Red Bull gives you Wings, well it may not actually give you wings, but through our research, it can give you a boost of energy. You may get a boost of energy, but you need to pay attention to the health risks involved and ensure you pay attention to warning labels before consuming.

At this time, Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the United States and there are many people that cannot go a day without drinking at least one or more of these drinks. The strange thing is that those that drink Red Bull do not call it drinking it all but call it using. Could this be due to the fast energy boost you get along with the way the drink makes you feel?

Personal Experiences

Sarah, professional photographer and mother of three seven and under replaced her coffee habit with Red Bull. When I asked about her personal experiences with Red Bull her exact words were, “MMMMM, Red Bull”. She explained that she could drink a Red Bull and have the energy she needed for around two hours. She never had any problems or became jittery unless she drank more than four in a day. If she drank four or more she noticed being more nervous and did feel a crash after the drink wore off.

Ingredients

Caffeine

The main active ingredient in Red Bull is caffeine. Caffeine is the same stimulant found in tea and coffee. This stimulant increases concentration, metabolism, energy, and reaction time. The problem is that caffeine is addictive and does have withdrawal symptoms, which include irritability and headaches.

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid that regulates the levels of salt and water in our bodies. Along with this is works as an inhibitor neurotransmitter in our brain that can affect our memory and learning as well as being an antioxidant. Taurine is a necessary amino acid but the amount a person consumes should not be over 3,000 milligrams per day. No studies have been preformed on using more than the suggested amount. (1)

Glucuronolactone

This is a chemical that is found in our bodies naturally created during the metabolism of glucose (sugar) in the liver. Research on this chemical used in various energy drinks has been proven to counter the sleepiness of drivers. (2)

Vitamins

Our bodies use B vitamins to obtain or make energy from the foods we eat.

Other ingredients

There are two sugars found in Red Bull, which are glucose and sucrose along with other artificial flavorings. Along with the sugar and flavorings, Red Bull also contains sodium citrate, instol, artificial colors, and carbonated water.

Red Bull contains two types of sugar: glucose and sucrose. Sugar Free Red Bull substitutes aspartame and sucralose sweeteners for the glucose and sucrose.

Conclusion

To answer the question whether the claims on energy boost are true, a study in 2001 performed by the Psychology Department, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom over three studies and with thirty-six individuals, Red Bull improved aerobic endurance and anaerobic performance. Other improvements were seen in choice reaction time, memory, and concentration-showing alertness was increased. (3)

Safety concerns with consuming Red Bull may be something consumers should consider before drinking even one of these energy drinks. In August of 2008, a study was published from Australian medical researchers. During the study, the blood in only one hour of those drinking just one Red Bull became sticky. Scott Willoughby the lead researcher from the Cardiovascular Research Entre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital stated, “One hour after they drank Red Bull, (their blood systems) were no longer normal. They were abnormal like we would expect in a patient with cardiovascular disease.” The study used 30 young adults and tested the cardiovascular system one hour before and then again one hour after drinking one can of sugar free Red Bull. Willoughby went so far as to say, “If you have any predisposition to cardiovascular disease, I’d think twice about drinking it.” (4)

This stickiness can lead to blood clotting which can lead to heart attack or stroke. (5)

A few studies have been conducted that proved a few side effects. Increased heart rate is one of the most common but can lead to heart arrhythmias. In 2007, a study was done at Johns Hopkins University using 396 college students with 51% drinking at least one drink per week. In this group, 19% reported heart palpitations. Another study performed by Harvard University on the effects of taurine showed that Red Bull may dilate the blood vessels around the heart. This can cause too blood to flow into the heart which can increase cardiac stress. Steve Clarke the director of Virginia Tech’s College Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center stated that by combining alcohol with Red Bull due to the Red Bull is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant it can bring on cardiac issues. (5)

References

(1) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/taurine/AN01856

(2) http://www.raysahelian.com/glucuronolactone.html

(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11665810

(4) http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/08/15/us-australia-redbull-idUSSYD5846120080815

(5) http://www.livestrong.com/article/303847-sugar-free-red-bull-side-effects/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

1 COMMENT

  1. Leaving our beloved aged parents alone doesn’t sound good for me. I think it’s still better to have a caregiver to live with them. Even though we take safety measures for them to avoid accidents, we’ll never know what might happen any time since they are at the pace in life where they’re experiencing many illnesses already.