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What is Red Bull®?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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As one of the most popular energy drinks on the market today, Red Bull® is said to have it all. Considered to be an excellent blend of vitamins and minerals that help individuals to perk up and get on with the day, Red Bull® is enjoyed by people all over the world. Here is some information about the origin of Red Bul®l, the contents of the energy drink, and some of the health concerns that are emerging about the product.

Understood to contain elements that help with both physical and mental fatigue, Red Bull® had its origins in Thailand and was adapted for sale in Austria. Since the dawn of the 21st century, Red Bull® has been sold in over a hundred different countries. By 2006, the United Kingdom and the United States represented the largest share of the market for Red Bull®, with over 260,000,000 cans sold in the UK alone during that year. While the formula has remained constant, Red Bull® did begin to offer a sugar free version in 2003, using aspartame as the sweetener in the formula.

The nutritional value of Red Bull® is said to come from the inclusion of a range of B-complex vitamins in the product. Vitamin B is often considered essential for the creation of energy in the body. Along with the B vitamin family, Red Bull® also contains significant amounts of taurine and glucuronolactone. It should be noted that the taurine is produced synthetically, and that the listing of glucuronolactone among the ingredients is a first among energy drinks. While caffeine is often touted as the reason why Red Bull® has such a kick, the fact is that there is less caffeine in one can of Red Bull® than in the average cup of caffeinated coffee. It is the combination of other elements that appears to provide Red Bull® with its ability to make an individual feel energetic for a short time.

One of the major objections to Red Bull® has been due to the taurine content. As a compound that is naturally produced in bull bile, Red Bull® uses a synthesized version. Some countries imposed a ban on Red Bull®, owing to concerns about that process of synthesization. Others based the ban on either the presence of glucuronolactone or the caffeine content. Claims of severe health issues that later proved to be unsubstantiated continue to circulate.

While the urban legends surrounding Red Bull® have all more or less been disproven, many healthcare professionals continue to discourage the consumption of Red Bull®. The objections come from recommending the use of other liquids to replace body fluids and staying away from any energy drink. Many energy drinks provide a temporary lift that is followed by a sense of being fatigued once the effects of the drink wear off. Some health professionals believe this artificially induced state could have long term implications for the physical well being of individuals, and urge the use of liquids with a more balanced composition of vitamins and nutrients to create an more long lasting and even sense of well being.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGEEK, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon299274 — On Oct 24, 2012

Have a couple of cups of coffee instead of red bull. It's cheaper!

By Proxy414 — On Feb 25, 2011

One of my roomates in college consistently drank energy drinks and they made him a little psychotic at times. The adverse effects on his psychology have been long term, but luckily he is working toward improving and salvaging his thought processes. These drinks can be dangerous.

By FitzMaurice — On Feb 23, 2011

Red Bull seems to have capitalized on the fact that many Americans regard British products as a novelty, and are not prone to question their legitimacy due to deep feelings of trust and respect of the English. There is also the commercials, which capitalize on the fact that drinking Red Bull can make you fluttery and sexual. Besides these two gimmick tactics, I don't think there is any real value to the drink itself, and it can actually be harmful.

By Renegade — On Feb 22, 2011

Some people mix red bull with alcoholic beverages, which can be a dangerous combination. This is due to the fact that the effects of the alcohol can be ignored for longer, resulting in heavy drinking. When the caffeine or taurine diminishes, there is a tremendous crash. If you have drunk way too much, this crash can be dangerous and harmful. Often, people will step into vehicles thinking they are not drunk due to feeling awake because of this mixture. This can be even more dangerous and result in severe legal penalties.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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