What’s in that Red Bull Can?

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I'll drink whatever they're drinking!

Unfortunately -or, possibly, fortunately… for some- the uprising in popularity of energy drinks has occurred all too quickly. Since the introduction of Gatorade in 1965 (promoted as a ‘thirst quencher’ and ‘energy replenisher’), the door was blown open for a ton of different, yet essentially the same, energy drinks to wander into the mass marketplace. But it’s not the Energy Drink in and of itself we’re talking about here, oh no: we’re here to tell you what’s really going on behind those innocuous names and scientific-sounding ingredients that each and every one of these beverages seem to contain in spades. Seriously, grab a can of your precious Red Bull and let’s examine this list of containing contaminants that lurk within.

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See that stuff up there? Taurine? Arginine? Carnitine? What the hell is all that stuff? Oh sure, we all assume this crap is relatively harmless and presumably okay for us to ingest, I mean it is, after all, in a can of energy DRINK. Not, say for instance, on a tin of furniture stripper. But what are you really getting into when you knock back six or eight 12-ounce cans of this garbage? Let’s find out, before you start coating your innards with another half-gallon of deck sealant.

Guarana

guarana eyes

Would you like a crippling case of Prinzmetal’s Angina? Well, assuming you toss down a remarkably stupid portion of items featuring guarana, that’s what your dumb ass is gonna get. Yes, it’s true that Guarana -well known for its memory-retention and hyper-awareness properties- has been deemed safe by the FDA, further studies by people who like to do further studying have discovered that this little plant has been know to: “decrease platelet thromboxane formation from arachidonic acid by 78 percent below control values.” Yeah, see… it’s mind-numbing shit like that that’s ultimately going to land you in the morgue, buddy. Also, it can cause Prinzmetal’s Angina. And that just sounds painful.

Taurine

TaurineSo now we move on from the heart-harming dagger of angina, to the nastiness of psoriasis! Fortunately for all you energy juice guzzlers out there, it has been found that taurine does play a major roll in proper maintenance and functioning of skeletal muscles. So at least you’re not just completely ravaging the inner-workings of your body’s junk yard. However, and this should really come as no surprise, taurine is also a major player in the development, “maintenance, and possibly in the induction of, psoriasis.” And just in case you’re not familiar with the loveliness that is psoriasis, basically, it’s a bunch of red patches that bloom all over your unsuspecting self that are also called ‘psoriatic plaques’. Um, Hell no!

Arginine

ArginineWell this one actually sounds to be pretty good for you, considering it’s used in your energy beverages that plays an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of hormones and it is one of 20 natural amino acids. Awesome, we need this stuff, right? Well, according to this: they are a conditionally nonessential amino acid, meaning most of the time it can be manufactured by the human body, and does not need to be obtained directly through the diet. The biosynthetic pathway however does not produce sufficient arginine, and some must still be consumed through diet.” Sweet, sounds good. Easy there, buddy, it’s not all candy canes and rainbows. As it turns out, assuming you’ve had heart issues in the past, arginine will not help, in the least, in assisting your heart in its pumping abilities leading, possibly, to dying, being dead, and death. Three things that aren’t that much fun at all.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba extractWe’ve all heard of this little plant and its extremely versatile and useful nut extractions prominent in Asian cuisine. Oh yeah, they love their Kung Pow Ginkgo. Anyway, Ginkgo contains flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides), which sound really special and ultra-medicinal and especially like something found in Area 51. Anyway these additives I just mentioned apparently aid in preventing the onset and spread of specific types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, which we all know is a pretty shitty thing to acquire. Yet, there is, as always, a slightly more sinister side, especially if you happen to take a daily dose of Aspirin, or even Ibuprofen for your ‘Jerker’s Wrist’. According to certain tests, “Ginkgo may have undesirable effects, especially for individuals with blood circulation disorders and those taking anticoagulants such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or warfarin, although recent studies have found that ginkgo has little or no effect on the anticoagulant properties or pharmacodynamics of warfarin. Ginkgo should also not be used by people who are taking certain types of antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or by pregnant women, without first consulting a doctor.” So, basically, I wouldn’t be downing your meds with a tall glass of Monstar. Oh, and if you happen to have really nasty allergic reactions to poison ivy or, oddly, mangoes, stay the hell away from this stuff, lest you experience side effects similar to drinking a glass of drain cleaner. Yum.

Carnitine

l carnitine 16145 4 big Guess what this stuff does? No, but nice try. What it does do is aid in the transportation of fatty acids through your body plumbing to later be metabolized! I know, cool, right? Apparently since it’s regularly found in the bones of younger, healthier folks, it has also been pinned as assisting in fending off osteoporosis, and is often prescribed, since bones of the elderly stop creating as much cartinine. That sounds lovely! I’m heading to my local nursing home right now with a case of Red Bull! Oh, oh, but wait. As it turns out, the heaviest doses are found in (hold your ears vegetarians) RED MEAT. That’s right: “Those on a strict vegetarian or vegan diet may ingest as little as 1 mg/day.” Not so good. Just another reason to enjoy a huge meal of several Philly Cheese Steaks washed down with a bunch of Energy Drinks. Oh, and guess what? This stuff really isn’t that great in assisting with weight loss, either. Sorry, chunky.

Tyrosine

TyrosineSweet, another readily available Amino acid that helps your lazy, worthless hunk of humanity synthesize proteins. And yet, as prevalent as it is, it’s still essentially, well, non-essential. Even so, one of its secondary functions is to make sure that signals get transduced and sent on to their correct messengers. Wow, that’s a pretty cool job. Although it is found in many of your favorite Energy Beverages, each and all of which tout being ‘mood enhancers’ and ‘physical boosters’ of some kind, there’s this: Tyrosine does not seem to have any significant effect on mood, cognitive or physical performance in normal circumstances”. Woops. Oh well, I guess you can still drink that shit for the (urgh) TASTE.

Yohimbine

41RZWC2NBSL. SL500 AA280 PIbundle 2TopRight00 AA280 SH20 Check this out: “yohimbine is a psychoactive drug of the tryptamine chemical class with stimulant and aphrodisiac effects.” Awesome. I will find a way to huff this stuff. I understand it works with male impotence and that pesky E.D. everyone’s so talkative about, as well as the completely different ability to facilitate recall of traumatic memories. Possibly related to getting laughed at by a hooker. Fortunately, it looks as though bad juju can come of this kick-ass sounding alkaloid as well: “Yohimbine has significant side effects, such as anxiety reactions, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, overstimulation, insomnia and/or sleeplessness, panic attacks, hallucinations, headaches, dizziness, and skin flushing, seizures, and, ultimately, renal failure.” Boy, now it’s really debateable whether just not having a decent boner is worth all this. Yes. Yes it is.

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