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The Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Energy Drink | Ingredients, Side-Effects, Alternatives, Price & More

The Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Energy Drink | Ingredients, Side-Effects, Alternatives, Price & More

This is a blog post on the energy drink red bull, its ingredients, and the side-effects associated with drinking it. We will discuss alternatives to red bull, its price and the effects it has on productivity and energy.

If you are interested in Red Bull, you should also consider checking out our Red Bull Side-Effects: 10 Ways Red Bull Is Bad For You article.

Table of Contents

- What is Red Bull?
- Red Bull ingredients
- Red Bull side-effects
- Red Bull's effect on productivity
- Red Bull's effect on energy
- Red Bull Price & Where to Buy
- Red Bull Alternatives

What is Red Bull?

Red Bull is an energy drink whose main claim and slogan are ‘Vitalizes Body and Mind®.’

Maybe you’ve come across some of the extreme sports events that red bull organizes ranging from the Red Bull Air Race, the Red Bull Soapbox, all the way to the Red Bull Cliff Diving.
Similarly, red bull is promoted by some high-performance athletes all seemingly supporting their motto 'Wings when you need them'.

So what is actually behind this energetic appearance?

And what are the side effects associated with Red Bull that are gaining more and more attention?

Even if you have never had red bull before, chances are you know people who consume red bull energy drinks when working late, studying the night before an exam or writing and polishing an essay just before the deadline.

As red bull is an energy drink, people commonly use it hoping to combat fatigue.

If you enjoy a night out, you might have even come across it in so-called Jager Bombs - a drink that includes both Red Bull and Jägermeister.

Apart from the classic Red Bull cans, Red Bull also offers a range of other varieties such as Red Bull sugar-free, Red Bull total zero, Red Bull editions, and organics by Red Bull, tailored to the needs and requirements of their of consumers.

Up until now, Red Bull might seem like a great way to feel more energized. But is it really? ...

Red Bull ingredients

… This is where the problems arise.

While some of the ingredients on their own, such as the B vitamins, are associated with health benefits, the majority of the ingredients bear more risk for the consumer’s health than benefits.

The ingredients advertised on the red bull website are:


An 8.4 fl oz Red Bull Energy Drink contains 80 mg caffeine.

That is approximately as much as in a regular cup of coffee.

Caffeine does not actually energize you, rather, it blocks neuroreceptors in the brain that are responsible for slowing down the nervous system for example before going to bed.

The caffeine binds to adenosine receptors preventing the adenosine molecules to bind to their specific receptors.

While this delays the onset of tiredness, it oftentimes gives you a jittery feeling.

There will be more about the actual effects of these ingredients in the next sections.


An 8.4 fl oz Red Bull Energy Drink contains 27 g of sugars (sucrose and glucose).

These are types of sugar readily available in everyday foods such as juices, sodas, fruit etc.

In the sugar-free red bull, sucrose and glucose are replaced by artificial sweeteners.


Instead of providing the customer with exact numbers the red bull website says the following about the amino-acid taurine: “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.”
Therefore, a can of red bull contains, 1000 mg of taurine.

Here, the website refers to the fact that the body naturally produces its own taurine.

Taurine acts as an antioxidant and is a constituent of bile.

Natural sources of taurine include meat and fish.

B-group vitamins

Having a sufficient level of B vitamins is associated with generally feeling energized.

That’s why they are sometimes colloquially referred to as ‘power-vitamins’.

Red Bull includes Vitamin B 6, Vitamin B 12, Vitamin B5 and Vitamin B 3.

B vitamins 6 and 12, for example, help the body to form red blood cells, which is important as these cells carry oxygen through the body.

Vitamin B 5, on the other hand, is associated with improving one’s mood and boosting metabolism.

Generally, this group of vitamins is associated with working through facilitating the formation and use of energy - in one way or another.
However, studies have shown that the quality of vitamins and minerals left in liquids over time is inferior to the quality of vitamins and minerals taken as a supplement, so it is usually better to take B vitamins in the form of a supplement.

There are further ingredients included in Red Bull that are not advertised on the website.

They can, however, be found on the can: carbonated water, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium carbonate, calcium pantothenate, natural and artificial flavours, colours.

Except for sodium, the amount of the other ingredients contained in a can is not disclosed, reflecting the unregulated nature of the drink.

Natural and artificial flavours and colours are not specified further either.

Red Bull side-effects

As mentioned earlier, the caffeine, blocking the adenosine receptors, will give you a boost.

However, caffeine is associated with multiple side-effects such as feeling jittery, experiencing migraines and insomnia if over-consumed.

The sugar content of the drink has the obvious side-effect of increasing your caloric intake.

While calories are not a bad thing as such, this drink does not offer you long-term nutritious benefits, that could not be sourced from healthier alternatives.

Getting into the habit of consuming energy drinks, just like sodas or fizzy soft-drinks, will increase the amount of sugar consumed, which is associated with adverse health outcomes.

Below, we’ll further discuss the (side-)effects of red bull on productivity and energy.

Furthermore, we have written another article dedicated to the side-effects of Red Bull, in particular on the brain and heart. If you are interested, feel free to give that one a read as well.

Red Bull's Effects On Productivity

While both caffeine and sugar will give you a short-term boost, making you feel more energized, this will not guarantee to make you feel more focused or concentrated.

The jittery feeling that many experiences when consuming high amounts of caffeine and sugar may interfere with calmly focussing on a task.

Essentially, it depends on what you define productivity to be. But if you are a student trying to study for an exam or hoping to finish an essay on time, Red Bull may not be the best option for you - especially, because Red Bull’s effect on energy is not sustainable (as discussed below).

Furthermore, high blood sugar in combination with facing a demanding task has found to be associated with high levels of cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone that gets released when you are stressed, thus sometimes referred to as a stress hormone.

When experiencing a truly stressful situation, memory, and other higher cognitive functions, are overshadowed by physical alertness.

That is why high levels of cortisol lead to impaired memory function.

You might have come across this concept of “fight-or-flight”, where the more basic functions, such as increased heart rate etc., matter most to allow for fleeing or fighting in a dangerous event, but not the more specialized cognitive functions.

Red Bull's Effects On Energy

As mentioned above, the energy boost experienced will be short-term in nature.

Once the caffeine stops binding to the adenosine receptors and the adenosine molecules bind to their receptors, you will feel tired.

Similarly, the effect of sucrose and glucose will be short-term as well.

Maybe you have heard of or experienced a ‘sugar rush’ before.

Or maybe you have had teachers warning you not to eat sugary sweets containing glucose just before an exam.

Both are connected to the reality that after an initial high, your concentration and energy level will fall rapidly.

The blood sugar will drop, which could actually impair memory and other cognitive functions, in addition to making you feel less energized.

In general, Red Bull does not provide a sustainable way of providing for energy - both in terms of physical and mental energy.

It is tempting to think that Red Bull sugar-free could be a better alternative.

However, diet drinks like this one have been associated with phenomena such as performing worse on delayed gratification tasks.

The rise in blood glucose that the body is expecting to experience but does not happen, makes you think it is missing out on calories.

This interferes with planning and focus.

Red Bull Price & Where to Buy

Depending on where you live and what supermarket you go to, the price of Red Bull varies.

In fact, the different types of Red Bull may vary in price as well.

If you buy a pack of 4 cans/ 250 ml each of the regular red bull, the price is likely to range from 3.50 to 4.30 pounds.

As reported by the BBC, some retailers have made the decision to ban the “sale of energy drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre to under-16s”.

This reflects the concerns associated with the consumption of energy drinks.

Red Bull falls under this category as one litre of it contains more than double the caffeine limit stated above.

Effective Red Bull Alternatives

As mentioned before, some of the ingredients of Red Bull are necessary for the body to work at its optimum.

In particular, this applies to taurine and B vitamins.

There are many Red Bull alternatives that include B vitamins, as well as other substances that are known to increase energy and focus.

It is definitely worth looking into sustainable long-term alternatives that have few if any side-effects and that do not have the risk of becoming an unhealthy habit.

If you want a healthy, naturally-sourced way to increase energy, with the added bonus of increasing concentration and mental performance, then you should consider BrainZyme®.

It comes with far fewer side-effects and far more upsides.

Plus, they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, meaning you can try it risk-free today.

Click on the link if you’d like to learn more about how BrainZyme can help boost energy and concentration.

Or, you can check out our related articles:

Red Bull Side-Effects: 10 Ways Red Bull Is Bad For You

Vitamins For Energy & Tiredness: 20 Supplement Ingredients That Work For Energy

Work Smarter Not Harder: Follow These 16 Tips To be Extremely Productive In 2019

If you have any tips that help you work smarter not harder, let us know in the comments below.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends so that they too can work smarter and not harder.

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  • Hi Keira,

    Thanks for your question!

    I think BrainZyme, as it has caffeine from more natural sources, which leads to fewer side-effects.

    Plus, we have L-Theanine in our products, making them a lot smoother than just caffeine.

    We also have a high quantity of B-Vitamins, and depending on which BrainZyme you go for, there are extra ingredients that will help with tiredness as well.

    If you’d like to talk about your specific situation in more detail, feel free to email me at or call me on 0131 6050168.


    Robert (Mod) on

  • Which is better for JUST energy, red bull or brainzyme?

    Keira on

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