The potent mix leads to more binge drinking and leads to risk behaviors, researchers found.
Red Bull claims that it “gives you wings,” but a new scientific study shows that Red Bull and Vodka apparently gives you boxing gloves.
A study of the effects of adding energy drinks and hard alcohol found that the potent mixture is more likely to lead to dangerous binge drinking, including an increase in violent behavior and fights. As Science Daily noted, researchers from the University of Portsmouth and the Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil used zebrafish to test the effects of combining alcohol with taurine, a main ingredient in energy drinks like Red Bull.
The study found that the mixture “seemed to increase the fear-reducing properties of alcohol” while also inhibiting social communication. Fish that were given taurine were more likely to engage in risky behaviors, like lingering in the parts of their habitat where they were more susceptible to predators. Though the study’s co-author said the full effects of mixing alcohol and energy drinks hasn’t been established, the initial findings showed that there was an increased risk of fighting, violence, and engaging in dangerous behaviors.
“Here, we found that the addition of taurine, an ingredient in many ‘energy’ drinks, appears to exacerbate risky choices in zebrafish, as well as reducing their social cohesion,” noted Matt Parker, one of the study’s co-authors and a senior lecturer in Behavioral Pharmacology and Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Portsmouth. “Taken together, these data appear to suggest that mixing alcohol and taurine might be a factor in increasing some of the negative effects of alcohol. People should be aware that drinking energy drinks in combination with alcohol may impair their judgement, and should do so with caution.”
While this study outlined the dangers of mixing Red Bull and Vodka (and other energy drink/alcohol concoctions), it is not the first to highlight the dangers of energy drinks. An earlier review of multiple existing studies in the journal Frontiers in Public Health found that energy drinks have a number of dangerous side effects associated, including a higher risk of diabetes, tooth decay, kidney damage, a number of mental health issues, and even greater instances of substance abuse.
Other past studies have also pointed to risky behaviors that can result from energy drinks. A study from University of Maryland researchers found that young adults who regularly consumed energy drinks were more likely to drink excessively, abuse prescription stimulants, or even start using cocaine, USA Today reported.
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