Red Bull

So I’ve found myself drinking a whole lotta this stuff recently so I decided to see exactly what I was drinking..the health benefits, risks, contents, comparisons, and anything else I really want to know about the stuff…here’s the lowdown on it.

Red Bull
Red Bull is the brand name of an energy drink that originated in Thailand and, in a version adapted to Austrian tastes, is now popular throughout the world. Sold by Red Bull GmbH as an energy drink to combat mental and physical fatigue, it contains, per 250 ml (8.3 U.S. fl. oz.) serving, about 21.5 g sucrose, 5.25 g of glucose, 50 mg of inositol, 1000 mg of taurine, 600 mg of glucuronolactone, vitamin B — 20 mg of Niacin, 5 mg of Vitamin B6, 5 mg of Pantothenic Acid and .005 mg of Vitamin B12 — and 80 mg of caffeine. The caffeine in one serving is similar to that found in an average cup of brewed coffee (typically 100 mg/250 ml cup, but 72 mg for a U.S. regular 6 fluid ounces cup of coffee) or twice as much as found in a can of Coke (40 mg/330 ml can). A sugar-free version has been available since the beginning of 2003. Sugar-free Red Bull is sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium, as opposed to sucrose and glucose. [1] The normal Red Bull has 27 grams of sugar per can [2]

For a list of amounts of caffeine found in common beverages, check out this link.

Taurine – What Is It?
One ingredient that I was largely unfamiliar with until Red Bull came out was Taurine. They advertise it on the front of the can as containing Taurine so this must be a special feature Red Bull has that other drinks don’t right? Wrong. It’s found in just about every energy drink out there. According to some animal studies, taurine produced an anxiolytic-like effect in mice and may act as a modulator or anti-anxiety agent in the central nervous system. In recent years, taurine has become a common ingredient in energy drinks. Taurine is often used in combination with bodybuilding supplements such as creatine and anabolic steroids, partly due to recent findings in mice that taurine alleviates muscle fatigue in strenuous workouts and raises exercise capacity. [3]

Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid. It is also a major constituent of bile and can be found in lower amounts in the tissues of many animals including humans. [3] Taurine is present in high concentrations throughout the brain and plays an important role both in neuroprotection and enhancement of neurotransmission. Taurine is also known to exert neuroprotectiveeffects against excitotoxic agents and oxidative stress, such as those released during an ischemic episode. There are two sources oftaurine in the brain: direct synthesis from neurons and transport across the Blood-Brain Barrier. The Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) is a membranous barrier surrounding blood vessels that lead to the brain and regulates the exchange of molecules between the blood and the brain. The BBB is highly permeable to non-polar compounds and lesspermeable to polar compounds. Such closely monitored regulation prevents harmfulsubstances from entering the brain and only permits the passage of substances necessary for the brain. Studies with rat brains indicate that sodium and chloride dependent taurine transporters exist in the BBB. The activity of these transporters is tightly regulated by transcription of the genes encoding them. This transcription seems to be dependent on the degree of cell damage, osmolality and taurine in the brain, suggesting that active expression of this gene is an acute response to neuronal crisis. [4] Ok. Enough with Taurine…it seems it is rather harmless and in fact may have an anti-anxiety effect.

Caffeine – What About It?
We all know what caffeine is at this point…It’s in just about every beverage out there with the exception of specific no-caffeine drinks like Caffeine-Free Diet Coke. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the beans, leaves, and fruit of over 60 plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the beans of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush, as well as from various foods and drinks containing products derived from the kola nut or from cacao. Other sources include yerba mate, guarana berries, and the Yaupon Holly. [5] For a hilarious example of what caffeine is capable of…just look at it’s effect on a spider as it constructs it’s web – [6]

Because caffeine is primarily an antagonist of the central nervous system’s receptors for the neurotransmitter adenosine, the bodies of individuals who regularly consume caffeine adapt to the continual presence of the drug by substantially increasing the number of adenosine receptors in the central nervous system. This increase in the number of the adenosine receptors makes the body much more sensitive to adenosine, with two primary consequences. First, the stimulatory effects of caffeine are substantially reduced, a phenomenon known as a tolerance adaptation. Second, because these adaptive responses to caffeine make individuals much more sensitive to adenosine, a reduction in caffeine intake will effectively increase the normal physiological effects of adenosine, resulting in unwelcome withdrawal symptoms in tolerant users. [5]

In the end…
In the end my opinion is that it’s no worse than any other soda or soft drink. I really enjoy the calming effect that I get from it (which after writing this I’m beginning to think it’s the taurine) as well as a little bit of extra alertness. I tend to drink alot less of the beverage if I drink Red Bull instead of Coke or Barq’s or something like that because the Red Bull comes in an 8.3 oz can as opposed to a 12 oz can. I imagine that’s less filler and sugar than found in a coke and therefor a little bit better for you. There may be more caffeine in a Red Bull than a Coke but there’s a whole lot less than Espresso and about the same amount that’s in a cup of coffee…and if you’re an athlete – don’t worry about the caffeine intake, there’s no way you could test positive with casual drinking of Red Bull.

Post a Comment