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Red Bull: Drink at Your Own Health Risk

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by CHASHA FARMING, Oct 29, 2012.


    CHASHA FARMING Verified User

    Oct 29, 2012
    Joined: Jun 4, 2011
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    Whether it’s a large cup of coffee at breakfast, a soda at lunch or a mid-afternoon energy drink; regular endorphins don’t always suffice the weekday routine. Austin may be one of the healthiest cities in the nation, but it also has its fair share of caffeinated drinks, including the ever-popular Red Bull. Here are some reasons you should think twice the next time you feel you need wings.

    Here are some of the ingredients found in both Red Bull and Vodka, that could make for a nasty cocktail:
    1. Caffeine: Stimulates the central nervous system: heart rate increases, blood vessels expand and the brain receives more oxygen. This effect can last up to an hour.
    2. Glucuronolactone: Naturally found in the body, glucuronolactone increases feelings of well-being and has been clinically proven to reduce sleepiness.
    3. Taurine: Supports neurological development and is thought to have antioxidant properties. Found naturally in meat, fish, breast milk and 3,000 milligrams per day is safe.
    4. Alcohol: Water and purified ethanol, vodka can rise blood alcohol concentration to 20 minutes after having a drink. Alcohol exits via the kidneys, lungs and liver.

    Red Bull Breakdown
    110 calories
    40 g carbs
    39 g sugar
    0 g fat
    < 1 g protein

    Vodka Breakdown (per fluid ounce)
    65 calories
    9 g alcohol
    0 g carbs
    0 g protein


    After Red Bull’s caffeine amount was recently considered a contributing factor to three deaths, researchers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Adelaide University conducted a study, suggesting that sugar-free Red Bull can cause blood to become “sticky” and heighten the risk of clots.

    Thirty university students were each asked to drink one 250 milliliter can. Afterwards, their blood pressure and blood vessels were tested; each participant shockingly had a profile similar to someone with heart disease.

    Dr. Scott Willoughby, lead of the study, was alarmed at the results, and suggested older adults with heart disease symptoms should refrain from drinking energy drinks altogether.

    “After one can [of Red Bull] it seemed to turn the young individual into one with more the type of profile you would see with someone with cardiovascular disease,” he says. “People who already have existing cardiovascular disease may want to talk to their physician before they drink Red Bull in the future.”
    A similar survey at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found active adults drinking two cans a day also had a heart rate increase of 11 percent and a seven percent rise in blood pressure after one week. This study is even more shocking because even though healthy adults were tested in both studies, there are still a large number of people with existing heart conditions. Dr. Frank Zidar, director of cardiac catheterization labs at the Heart Hospital of Austin, believes that everyone, with or without heart problems, should be conscious of how these issues can originate. Especially considering how ubiquitous Red Bull has become.

    “Events like heart attack or stroke result from clogged arteries or abnormal flow,” he says. “Characteristics of Red Bull alter the blood flow, and that worries me.”

    Red Bull is known for the ingredient taurine, a sulfur-containing nonessential amino acid, used in treating epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and heart arrhythmias. It has also been implicated as a regulator of calcium in the brain, nervous system, visual pathways and activates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the thalamus. Taurine causes a sedative effect — however, it’s mixed into a caffeinated energy drink.

    “Taurine may actually play a role in the crash people often report after drinking these highly caffeinated beverages,” Dr. Zidar says. “It’s interesting that they couple a sedative with a stimulant.”

    The combination dehydrates and causes a constant need to go to the bathroom, called a diuretic effect. Energy drinks do not replenish and rehydrate like a sports drink, but have more of a downstream effect on the body.

    “You’re taking a cocktail of things that affect neurotransmitters,” Dr. Zidar says.
    The bottom line is [this has] a clear, physiological affect on the cardiovascular system.”

    Energy drinks, vitamin supplements and other “functional foods” aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This means that even though it says “dietary supplement” on the label, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what the customer is getting.

    Whether or not Red Bull is healthy, energizing or tranquilizing, it still remains the most popular energy drink on the market. Zidar thinks the study sanctions further investigation, particularly in a study applied to everyone — not just college students