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Lawmakers asking questions about Energy Drinks

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WHAT IS IN

RED BULL
ANYWAY?
Wired Magazine
June 26, 2007

Meat Sugar,

Caffeine,

and Bile!

 

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Glucose


Like most

popular soft drinks,

Red Bull is largely

sugar water.

 

But don’t count on

its glucose to

“give you wings,”

as the ad says.

 

Multiple studies have

debunked the so-called

sugar high.

 

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Taurine


Also known as

2-aminoethanesulfonic

acid,

taurine was originally

isolated from

bull bile in 1827.

 

Now made synthetically,

it is the magical elixir

said to bring out the

kitesurfing extremophile

in any Web-surfing nerd.

 

Taurine’s actual effects,

while not as drastic

as the hype,

are pretty wide-ranging,

even from the amount

found in a single can.

 

Not only is it an inhibitory

neurotransmitter

(in some cases acting

as a mild sedative)

and an age-defying

antioxidant,

it even has the potential

to steady irregular

heartbeats.

 

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Glucuronolactone

Internet rumors claimed

this was a Vietnam-era

experimental drug that

causes brain tumors.

 

Luckily,

that’s not true.

 

But don’t crumple up

your tinfoil hat yet —

hardly anyone has

looked into exactly

what this stuff does.

 

So little research

has been done on

glucuronolactone

(and most of it

50 years ago)

that almost all information

about it is mere rumor.

 

Users generally believe

it fights fatigue and

increases well-being,

but that could turn

out to be bull,

too.

 
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Caffeine

Ah,

here are Red Bull’s

wings.

 

All the things this drink

is supposed to do

for you —

increase concentration

and reaction speed,

improve emotional state,

and boost metabolism —

are known effects of this

white powder,

a distant

cousin of cocaine.

 

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Niacin

(niacinamide)


Also known as

vitamin B-3,

niacin increases so-called

good cholesterol (HDL)

by preventing the formation

of triglycerides,

making it a terrific

cholesterol drug.

 

Unfortunately,

there isn’t enough niacin

here to have this benefit.

 

And it’s not even pure

enough to give you the

mild head rush dubbed

the “niacin flush.”

 

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Sodium citrate

Commonly used as a

preservative in soft drinks

and spreadable cheeses,

sodium citrate also helps

convert glucose into

lactic acid during exercise,

producing a measurable

effect on athletic

performance.

 

In at least one test,

it shaved an average

of 17 seconds off

a 5K run.

 

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Inositol

A carbohydrate found

in animal muscle

(sometimes called

“meat sugar”),

inositol is turning out

to be a wonder drug

that significantly

reduces depression,

panic attacks,

agoraphobia,

and obsessive- compulsive

disorder.

 

It might even be what

makes whole grains

effective cancer fighters.

 

Instead of being a bit

player in Red Bull

(you’d need to drink

as many as 360 cans

a day to get its benefits),

inositol probably deserves

a drink of its own.

 

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Red Bull
lifts stroke risk:
Australian study
 
 
 
By Rob Taylor
 
 
August 15, 2007
 

 

CANBERRA (Reuters) –

Just one can of the

popular stimulant energy

drink Red Bull can increase

the risk of heart attack

or stroke,

even in young people,

Australian medical

researchers say.

 

The caffeine-loaded beverage,

popular with university

students and adrenaline

sport fans to give them

“wings,”

caused the blood to

become sticky,

a pre-cursor to

cardiovascular problems

such as stroke.

 

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“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,”

 

Scott Willoughby,

lead researcher from the

Cardiovascular Research

Centre at the Royal

Adelaide Hospital,

told the Australian

newspaper.

 

Red Bull Australia

spokeswoman Linda Rychter

said the report would be

assessed by the company’s

head office in Austria.

 

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“The study does not

show effects which

would go beyond that

of drinking a cup of coffee.

 

Therefore, the reported

results were to be expected

and lie within the normal

physiological range,”

Rychter told Reuters.

 

Willoughby and his team

tested the cardiovascular

systems of 30 young adults

one hour before and one

hour after consuming one

250ml can of

sugar-free Red Bull.

 

The results showed

“normal people develop

symptoms normally associated

with cardiovascular disease”

after consuming the drink,

created in the 1980s by

Austrian entrepreneur

Dietrich Mateschitz based

on a similar

Thai energy drink.

 

Red Bull is banned in Norway,

Uruguay and Denmark

because of health risks

listed on its cans,

but the company last year

sold 3.5 billion cans in

143 countries.

 

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One can contains

80 mg of caffeine,

around the same as a

normal cup of

brewed coffee.

 

The Austria-based company,

whose marketing says

“Red Bull gives you wings,”

sponsors Formula 1 race

cars and extreme sport

events around the world,

but warns consumers

not to drink more than

two cans a day.

 

Rychter said Red Bull

could only have such

global sales because health

authorities across the world

had concluded the drink

was safe to consume.

 

But Willoughby said

Red Bull could be deadly

when combined with stress

or high blood pressure,

impairing proper blood

vessel function and possibly

lifting the risk

of blood clotting.

 

“If you have any

predisposition to

cardiovascular disease,

I’d think twice

about drinking it,”

he said.

 

 

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