Red Bull Energy Drink Deaths?

I just returned from a bike trip down in Mexico Beach, Fla, and while I was down there, I went into a convenience store to get myself a Red Bull drink, and the clerk told me that they were taking the cans off the shelf because people were mixing the drink with Vodka and were dying from it.

Well, my jaw almost hit the floor! Has anyone heard anything about this and can you explain how the ingredients can combine to produce death?

I hasten to add that I myself have never tried this!

I tried a search on this, but the engine wouldn’t accept the word red as having too few letters in it.



Apparently it has happened more than once.

Well, I can confirm that people mix it with vodka. I do that all the time. It seams unlikely that it would lead to death, though. Snopes has an article about red bull and deaths, but it doesn’t completely match your account(no mention of vodka). Red bull is pretty much just sugar and caffiene, so I doubt that the effect of mixing it with alcohol would differ much from any other caffeinated drink.

The same story was reported here, as well.

It’s hugely popular over here, and sold mixed by many pubs and clubs in pitchers. The combination of alcohol and caffeine is ideal for clubbing, apparently (maybe I’ll learn one day and switch from beer).

Gosh, maybe Red Bull gives you wings and a halo.

To my surprise, the clerk’s story isn’t complete B.S; there were three deaths in Sweden last summer that were at least tenuously linked to ingestion of Red Bull. But emphasis on “tenuously”. The Red Bull, people, of course, deny any causality. And, as skeptics point out, a lot of Red Bull has gone down people’s throats, so it’s not unreasonable to think that some of those people were going to die anyway. Especially if they were drinking or exercising heavily.

My gut feeling is that similar reactions occur with whatever is in Red-Bull to that of Ephedra. Just a hunch, but they may find a bodily/chemistry connection.

No cite, but my friend from thailand says thai redbull is sometimes laced with drugs. furthermore I’ve seen thai redbull cans in the states. They’re not the tall skinny cans, but rather look like those half-sized 8 ounce coke cans(fat and stubby).

maybe it’s that specific kind of redbull?

FTR: here is the list of red bulls ingredients:

Ingredients: carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, sodium citrate, taurine, glucuronolactone, caffeine, inositol, niacin, D-pantothenol, pyridoxine(B-6) HCL, vitamin B12, artificial flavours, colors

so, basically, we’ve got water, sugars, caffiene, a bunch of B vitamins(and the similar acting inositol), flavor and colors, sodium citrate and taurine(amino acid).
nothing in their similar to ephedra except caffiene(about a cup of coffee worth), which isn’t all that similar anyway. Sodium citrate metabolizes to sodium bicarbonate and when used medically(in far higher doses than this) has no contraindications. That leaves Taurine. I’ve never heard of any dangers of mixing Taurine and Alcohol, and a search mainly brought up articles on using taurine to help alcohol withdrawal. My guess is still freak accident, especially since those three deaths are the only ones that ever seem to be mentioned.

Nothing in Red Bull is particularly dangerous; IMO, it has much less of a kick than coffee. Drinking heavily and consuming large amounts of caffeine would certainly dehydrate you, and in someone with existing medical conditions, this might well be bad. People’s belief that Red Bull is some sort of magical stimulant has more to do with marketing and image than reality. That said, if you have a medical condition that cautions against drinking coffee or otherwise consuming caffeine, you should obviously avoid Red Bull.

Ephedra is much riskier, because it has a far more potent effect on blood pressure and heart rate than caffeine. Exercising on ephedra, as people who take Stacker et all do, is particularly stupid.

Yeah, it is great. It does have more caffeine than coffee or maybe it’s just how much you drink but drink four or five red bulls mixed with vodka (we call them Raging Bulls) and it’s like I have had a whole pot of coffee and it sort of counter acts (at least partially) the depressant effects of the alcohol - sort of leaves you as a wide awake drunk. :wink:

Well, I personally believe that mixing any sort of drugs like that is just asking for trouble. The particulars would depend on the amount of caffeine and how it interacts with the alcohol.

Bless me father for I have sinned and lived a dangerous life. I like to mix it with sex too so I am probably a particularly dangerous femme fatale…spank me.:eek:

Is it possible that the problem here is plain old-fashioned alcohol poisoning? Too much vodka, with or without Red Bull, will kill you. Maybe people mixing the vodka drink more (since they don’t notice the depressent effect as quickly), or maybe the people dying from unadulterated vodka just aren’t getting as much press.

You’re not gonna drink that Irish coffee? Can I have it then?

Not trying to hijack here, but just to clear something up, Caffiene and Ephedra aren’t much alike at all. Ephedrine is a substance which is almost identical to methamphetamine (compare here (also note methamphetamine’s similarity to MDMA(“extacy”)

Damn. Forgot to close my parenthesis. pretend there’s a )) on the end of that :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, wouldn`t the connection be that caffeine and ephedra are both a type of stimulant and should not be taken prior to physically strenuous activities? Clubbing/dancing, sports being the activities here. Both can be rather strenuous.
Things that contain ephedra warn you not to mix it with alcohol OR caffeine (Hydroxycut for one). It also warns against working out strenuously and avoiding high temperatures.
I would imagine if you took a large quantity of caffeine you could run into similar immediate health risks.

There was a Net rumour floating around about glucuronolactone a couple of years ago - the CEO of our company (would-be trendy type) actually went so far as to write to the manufacturers of Red Bull asking about it; he got a reply saying the stuff was harmless, pretty much as one might expect. At the time, I was mildly interested enough to run a Google search on “glucuronolactone”; didn’t turn up anything to confirm any dire rumours. As occ says, the stimulant effect is pretty marginal in itself; the only documented negative effects seem to come from combining Red Bull with varying quantities of a) vodka, b) motor vehicles, and c) stupidity.

It also glows a kinda cool yellow green color under black lights.