Health Risks of Red Bull & Alcohol

So-called energy drinks are popular, but are they healthy mixers? Apparently not. What a shock. From ABC News:

    “You can hinder your respiration,” said Roger A. Clemens, of the University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy. “From a public health perspective, you should not mix stimulants with alcohol.”

According to Red Bull’s website, the product (which has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee) “supplies tired minds and exhausted bodies with vital substances that have been lost, while reducing harmful substances. It provides immediate energy and vitamins.” Oh! Vitamins! It must make binge drinking healthy!

“A Brazilian study found that college students didn’t perceive themselves to be as intoxicated as they really were. The study indicated that drinking alcohol and Red Bull together significantly reduces the perception of headache, weakness, dry mouth and impairment of motor coordination.” So, it works then? In all seriousness, binge drinking is bad for you energy drink or no. Just ask the chicks on “Girls Gone Wild.”—MEGHANN MARCO


Edit Your Comment

  1. forgeten says:

    who would of thought drinking two things that make you dehydrated together would be bad for you

  2. Jim C. says:

    So why haven’t we heard this about Irish coffee? The media would NEVER exaggerate something for a story. /sarcasm

  3. dohtem says:

    The funny thing is that we now have the energy drink/alcohol combo in one can. Sparks was one of the first I noticed, but there are others.

  4. forgeten says:

    i could not even think of what the hangover of Irish Coffee would be like. ugh.

  5. ChazB says:

    I can attest to the fact that binge drinking alcohol/energy drinks can be bad for you. I drank 14 Rev one night back when they first hit the bars in eastern Canada. I was having problems breathing and my heart rate was very high and erratic. I almost had to go to the hospital because my friends were so freaked out.

    I didn’t have a hangover and I was up all night and the next day though.

  6. infinitysnake says:

    What, they never heard of “Irish coffee?”

  7. Are there any scientific facts behind this story? I have heard about this dangerous mix for years and have yet to hear of any confirmed deaths or casualties from this combination of redbull and alcohol.

    Where did this story first emerge? I keep hearing that it is dangerous, yet I have never met anyone that has met someone whom has harmed themselves with this concoction.

    Although as a child I always thought coke and poprocks would make my stomach explode.

    No sarcasm intended towards the author of the story. I was just wondering.

  8. Hmm, I seem to have misplaced my sarcastic reply but after some research, I have corrected myself. I originally wondered aloud whether there have actually been confirmed deaths and bodily injury by drinking such a combination of fluids. Then I went on to speculate that as a child I was totally convinced that drinking coca cola and eating poprocks would cause my stomach to explode.

    This whole story just seems to keep passing itself around year after year. What kind of facts do we have backing this up? All I could come up with is the following.

    “While there have been no reports of Red Bull related deaths in the United States, the drink sent an IU-Bloomington student to the emergency room in January. Sophomore Theresa Sparrow, 19, passed out in a sorority house after drinking four shots of vodka and two cans of Red Bull.” – Coyote Press Online

    I see people drinking this concoction every night I goto the bar. So why havent I seen more deaths. Or even better, why havent I seen ANY deaths? So whats the danger?? Is it something unseen that only medical doctors could explain? Why havent any doctors published research on this matter? The only opinions I have found from doctors have been just that. Opinions. No studies, just speculation.

  9. punkrawka says:

    This is straight-up Mainstream Media scare story. Something most adults don’t understand, that’s associated with youth culture… therefore, let’s find a way to make it scary and dangerous. Fact is, Red Bull cocktails are just a more potent version of rum and coke or Irish Coffee. In excess, any drinking is bad, but the catalyst is just a catalyst. I _do_ believe that Red Bull drinks could make you think you were less impaired than you really were, or keep you from passing out, and therefore keep you drinking more heavily. But in each case that’s still the alcohol at work.

  10. CaptainRoin says:

    Man, I love my uppers and downers.

    But seriously, this is all crazy, next they’ll be saying WIFI is bad for you?

  11. The guy who did Rockstar energy drinks supposedly included vitamins specifically intended to target hangovers. I forget which one it was exactly though … :P

  12. formergr says:

    Seriously, this “news” item really is cyclical– it seems to be a local news favorite that pops up every couple of years, and each time they are shocked! about this dangerous “new” combination.

    I distinctly remember ringing in the new millenium with red bull and vodka…

  13. Mr. Gunn says:

    All the reports seem to be saying that mixing caffeine and alcohol may make you more likely to drink more than if you had the alcohol without caffeine.

    Which is good, because that’s kinda the whole point of doing it, right?

    I think Ric Romero has himself a cover story.

  14. kerry says:

    I sort of remember a story from a few years back saying that beverages containing artificial sweeteners made you absorb the alcohol more readily, and thus get a bit drunker. So all those girls drinking diet red bull martinis and diet rum and cokes are getting more hammered than those of us drinking full-calorie beverages.
    But, yeah, like everyone else said — if this was really so serious why hasn’t anyone had an expose on the dangers of Irish coffee?

  15. “if this was really so serious why hasn’t anyone had an expose on the dangers of Irish coffee?”

    Shot in the dark, but I’m guessing while people will down three or four or five Red Bull-and-Vodkas, most people only have ONE Irish coffee. Also, since Irish coffee is usually an after-dinner drink, a lot of people have it decaf so they’re not up all night.

    (But then, what about rum and Coke? Or does the mixer have to be super caffeinated?)

  16. kerry says:

    Maybe when you have Irish coffee it’s an after dinner drink. ;) I like mine for breakfast.

    As for rum and coke, I’m pretty sure you’re not getting quite as much caffeine as in a cup of coffee or a red bull.

  17. Slack says:

    Red Bull & Vodka – It’s the new Absinth.

  18. Just try drinking Red Bull and Vodka, while on Ecstasy.

    That’s one hell of a hangover.