Must Read: What’s In An Energy Drink?

I spent some time over at the X Games this weekend, watching insane people trying to perform insane tricks on BMX

bikes, skateboards and even in souped up rally cars. As you’d expect, many of the events were sponsored by such energy drinks as Monster which led to a massive amount of people in the stands guzzling wake-up juice from those neon green cans. But what kind of shocked me was the amount of actual X Games participants who, instead of getting tossed a water bottle after completing a run, instead cracked open an energy drink. “That CAN’T be good for their bodies,” I told a friend. But am I wrong?

Men’s Health released a comprehensive study on the main ingredients found in most energy drinks. Stuff like Ginsing, Caffeine, and whatever the fuck else. Here’s an interesting little section on Taurine, the constant in most energy drinks:

Does it work?: Scientists aren’t sure, but it doesn’t seem likely. When taurine is dumped into your bloodstream?when you down a Red Bull, for instance?it can’t pass through the membranes that protect your brain, says Neil Harrison, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

But even if it could, Harrison’s research suggests that taurine might behave more like a sedative than a stimulant. When he and his team applied the amino acid to the brain tissue of rodents, they discovered that it mimicked a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical that slows brain activity.

This is kind of a common thread throughout the article: scientists aren’t sure what the fuck most of these ingredients do. They seem to work, but don’t know what to attribute the success of the product to exactly. And that scares the fuck out of me. So, while I’m not saying I was wrong (or right) about my little skepticism regarding X Gamers going for a can of Monster over a nice, cold refreshing glass of water … I think I’m going to stick to my ordinary regiment of coffee and water for the time being.

To get you readers involved though, anyone ever have a weird reaction to any of these energy drinks?


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About Rick Mosely Rick is the editor for TSB magazine.

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