Taurine: The Mythical, Magical Additive (and namesake) of Red Bull

“I can smell that bull sperm already,” said my coworker Nick as I cracked open a 16oz Red Bull.

“What can I say? I’m a taurine junkie,” I said jokingly. I had remembered the word taurine from staring at the can before. I sit down at my desk and ponder: what is taurine, actually?taurine

Taurine is a sulfonic acid<== nerds click here

According to Red Bull’s website, taurine is an organic compound that is widely distributed throughout animal tissues.

Taurine is an amino acid, naturally occurring in the human body and present in the daily diet. It is involved in a wide range of biological processes.

Wikipedia says it’s not actually an amino acid, but it is an acid containing an amino group. It is lacking a carboxyl group. <== more nerd stuff

Taurine is found in high concentrations in muscle, brain, heart and blood. A person weighing 70 kg has approximately 70 g of taurine distributed throughout their body. Put another way, a 70 kg person naturally already has in his body 70 times the amount of taurine contained in one can of Red Bull Energy Drink.

Taurine is also contained in different foodstuffs like scallops, fish, poultry and most infant formulas.

Cool. Wikipedia says it is essential for cardiovascular function, and development and function of skeletal muscle, the retina, and the central nervous system. And fun fact, the name taurine comes from taurus, which means bull or ox, as it was first isolated from ox bile in 1827 by German scientists Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin (Wikipedia). So that’s where they get the name Red Bull!

Taurine aside, what else is in a Red Bull? Straight from their website:

  1. Caffeine: An 8.4 fl oz can of Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine, about the same as a cup of coffee.
  2. B-group vitamins: B-group vitamins play an important role in energy metabolism, such as the build-up and break-down of carbohydrates and protein. Moreover, B-group vitamins play a central role in the normal functions of the brain and nervous system and contribute to normal neurological and psychological functions.
  3. Sugar: Red Bull is made with real sugar sourced from sugar beets. One 8.4 fl oz Red Bull Energy Drink contains 27g of sugars (sucrose and glucose). This total amount of sugars is comparable to the sugar level in an equivalent amount of apple or orange juice.
  4. Alpine spring water: The water used for Red Bull is fresh Alpine water of highest quality, which comes from springs nearby the production sites in Austria and Switzerland. This region, the Alps, is known as one of the world’s biggest water reservoirs, where water is available in abundance and constantly replenished. Hence, to ensure consistency of the upmost premium quality around the world, Red Bull is produced in the Austrian and Swiss Alps. (No wonder 8.4 ounces of the stuff costs $3 in some places)

So, there you have it. Fancy sugar water with B-vitamins, caffeine and taurine. Remember to channel the power of bull guts next time you’re driving cross country. Here is a website that talks about the 7 benefits of taurine in the body.

Stay tuned later this week for a power-ranking of the best energy drinks for your weekend turn up.