12 Ways Red Bull Side Effects Are Hurting You
Avery Walker - 30 November 2022
If you're one of the millions of people who drink Red Bull, you may want to think twice. Although it's marketed as a healthier energy drink, some serious side effects have been associated with regularly consuming Red Bull. In fact, studies have shown that energy drinks like Red Bull can actually be more harmful than coffee!
In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about the 12 Red Bull side effects, how these side effects affect you and how you can reduce your consumption of energy drinks.
In the end, we’ll tell you about the best natural alternative to energy drinks that is 100% plant-powered and has all the benefits that Red Bull claims to have without the side effects.
- What are the Side Effects of Red Bull?
- 12 Red Bull Side Effects
- What Are the Long-term Effects of Red Bull?
- Who Should Not Drink Red Bull?
- Is It OK to Drink a Red Bull Every Day?
- How to Reduce Energy Drink Consumption
- What is the Best Natural Alternative to Red Bull?
What are the Side Effects of Red Bull?
In recent years, energy drinks have become increasingly popular, with Red Bull leading the pack. However, there is growing concern over the health risks associated with these drinks.
The combination of ingredients used in Red Bull can cause side effects, especially if consumed in large amounts over a long period or when mixed with alcohol. Research suggests that all energy drinks, in general, can harm your health. They can be especially damaging to young people and children.
Red Bull contains high levels of caffeine and other stimulants, which can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure. These effects can be especially dangerous for people with pre-existing heart conditions.
Red Bull has also been linked to several adverse reactions, including dizziness, nausea, chest pain, and even death. Whilst these cases are rare, they underscore the potential risks associated with energy drink consumption.
Limiting or avoiding Red Bull altogether is advisable, given the potential health risks. If you do choose to drink it, be sure to do so in moderation and always consult with your doctor first if you have any concerns about your health.
Below, you will find a complete list of the possible Red Bull side effects and how they could affect you.
Take our quiz to see if you need to cut back on energy drinks due to side effects.
12 Red Bull Side Effects
This is where you experience a sudden rush of intense energy which can make you feel a bit shaky. Your energy will then suddenly crash, which can feel quite unsettling. This is caused by the high levels of caffeine in Red Bull.
One small can (250ml/8.4 fl oz) contains 80mg of caffeine which is a substantial amount of the recommended maximum limit of 400mg per day for adults. Drinking more than five cans daily would increase your risk of a caffeine overdose.
Remember that you also receive caffeine from other foods and drinks, so it's important that Red Bull is consumed in moderation.
Migraines can occur as a result of what's called a caffeine rebound. This is where your body gets so used to consuming certain levels of caffeine that withdrawing from it gives you a headache.
Therefore, regular drinkers of Red Bull are more likely to experience regular migraines as they depend more on caffeine.
Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep can also be caused by too much caffeine intake. Regularly having a poor night's sleep will take its toll on your energy, mood, ability to function throughout the day, and overall health.
The later in the day you have caffeine, the more it will affect your sleep, so it's especially advised not to drink Red Bull in the evenings.
4. Excess Sugar
Red Bull contains a large amount of sugar to support its energy-boosting abilities - one regular-sized can of Red Bull contains the equivalent of nearly seven teaspoons of sugar. Many energy drinks contain more sugar than you should have in a day.
In the sugar-free Red Bull, sucrose and glucose are replaced by artificial sweeteners.
Consuming sugar increases the blood sugar level in the short term. Now, increased blood sugar is not necessarily a bad thing, as the brain requires glucose to function.
Whilst too little and too much blood sugar is problematic, the 'easy sugar' supplied by energy drinks, i.e. refined sugar, could harm cells, including brain cells. Getting a big sugar rush from an energy drink will leave you feeling lethargic and even more tired afterwards once your blood sugar levels go down quickly.
Excess sugar intake has also been linked to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes, so drinking one or more servings of Red Bull per day could increase this risk for you.
Other issues excess sugar intake may cause are damage to your teeth and kidneys.
5. Stress Reaction
When you feel like you need to have an energy drink, the chances are that you are under pressure and experiencing a stressful situation of some sort. You feel tired but pressured to perform well.
If the situation is mentally challenging, say studying for an exam or trying to squeeze in an essay just before a deadline, experiencing high blood sugar has been associated with the release of cortisol.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that will interfere with your performance on the task. Namely, you will likely experience impaired memory as your body and brain focus on dealing with the perceived stress rather than cognitive functioning.
So when you drink Red Bull, your blood sugar increases rapidly, which releases cortisol and may impair your mental performance.
6. Interference with Neural Communication
When consuming excessive amounts of glucose in the form of refined sugars, neural communication gets disrupted. This could have effects not only on memory but on other cognitive functions such as attention span.
It is tempting to think that the sugar-free Red Bull could be a better alternative. However, diet drinks like this have been associated with phenomena such as performing worse on delayed gratification tasks.
The rise in blood glucose that the body expects to experience but does not happen makes it think it is missing out on calories, which then interferes with planning and focusing on tasks.
7. Increased Heart Rate
Heart rate measures heartbeats per minute. Due to its caffeine content, Red Bull can increase your heart rate. Excess intake, especially in young people, has been linked to heart palpitations, abnormal heart rhythm and even heart attacks.
8. Increased Blood Pressure
Blood pressure refers to the blood moving through the body, and increased blood pressure is correlated with increased heart rate.
One of the problems associated with high blood pressure is that it strains the heart and vessels involved in circulating the blood.
Several studies have shown that drinking a can of Red Bull significantly increases both blood pressure and heart rate within 90 minutes and for up to 24 hours after consumption.
9. Weight Gain
As mentioned above, Red Bull contains a lot of sugar. Sugary drinks contain many calories and have therefore been associated with weight gain and obesity.
Furthermore, the calories you consume in Red Bull are so-called empty calories. When drinking Red Bull and other energy drinks, there is no substantial nutritious benefit to your body.
Therefore, these calories could be easily cut out to ‘make room' for healthy and calorie-rich foods that will actually benefit your body.
10. Interference with Healthy Sleep Patterns
If you are working late or waking up after a short night’s sleep and feel like you need an energy drink to get you going, the chances are that your body is telling you that you need more sleep.
Of course, there are exceptional situations where that is just not an option. However, relying on energy drinks to feel awake and energised will potentially interfere with a healthy sleep pattern that would maybe be sufficient to make you feel that way in the first place.
11. Withdrawal Symptoms
Similarly, getting into the habit of consuming drinks high in caffeine and high in sugar will increase your tolerance for them, so eventually, you will need to consume more and more to get the effects you're used to.
This can lead to withdrawal symptoms if you're not getting your caffeine fix of the day. You might have experienced craving coffee in the morning, and many people start to suffer headaches if they don't get their morning cup.
Or, you might feel nervous or shaky when you’re not regularly consuming the energy or other caffeine drink you are used to. The same effect could be associated with a diet high in sugar and when cutting out these foods.
12. High-Risk Behaviour
A side effect you may not have considered when it comes to energy drinks is that they may increase high-risk behaviour, especially when mixed with alcohol.
Caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol, making you feel less intoxicated even though you are still under the influence. This can lead to risky behaviour, such as drink-driving, or injuries.
What Are the Long-term Effects of Red Bull?
Recent studies have indicated that caffeine may negatively impact cardiovascular activity. Because energy drinks are sugary drinks, they may also negatively influence a person's metabolism, i.e. weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Taking too much caffeine harms your body's health and can cause severe side effects. Using excessive amounts of caffeine may cause gastrointestinal upset and depression.
Who Should Not Drink Red Bull?
Red Bull is widely recommended for the prevention of high blood pressure and heart rate, and it also increases heart rate and stroke rate during the course of the day. Hence, people with pulmonary arterial disease should avoid drinking alcohol.
Young people and individuals with high blood pressure or any pre-existing heart conditions should avoid consuming energy drinks.
Is It OK to Drink a Red Bull Every Day?
Red Bull does offer some 'healthier' choices, though they have their risks: they include artificial glucose. You'll be able to keep it simple; you could use 1-2 ounces daily. It will not cause serious health complications in the long run unless your symptoms are severe.
How to Reduce Energy Drink Consumption
Reducing energy drink consumption can be difficult, especially if you’re used to drinking them regularly. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with these drinks and to make an effort to cut back. Here are a few tips to help you reduce your energy drink consumption:
First, be mindful of how much you drink. If you’re not paying attention, consuming more energy drinks is easier than you realise. Keep track of how much you’re drinking each day and week, then try to reduce the amount gradually.
Watch: What If You Only Drank Energy Drinks
Second, ensure you're drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This will help to keep you hydrated and prevent you from feeling as thirsty, which can lead to drinking more energy drinks.
Finally, find alternative energy sources. If you’re used to reaching for an energy drink when you need a pick-me-up, try taking a natural food supplement instead. These supplements can help you to get the energy you need without all of the risks associated with energy drinks.
What is the Best Natural Alternative to Red Bull?
We recommend trying the food supplement Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ as the best natural alternative to energy drinks. It has all the benefits that Red Bull claims to have without the side effects.
Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ is specifically designed to provide a smooth, 100% plant-powered boost in energy which lasts for 8 hours whilst also helping you feel motivated and focused.
These fast-acting supplements are easily absorbed to help you achieve the “flow state” shortly after taking them. Whilst in the flow state, you will feel yourself working extremely efficiently without feeling under pressure.
As a result, you’ll find that your satisfaction at completing tasks increases, keeping you motivated to carry on at a consistent level of high focus and concentration.
This advanced formula contains plant extracts, vitamins and minerals that are scientifically proven to support concentration, cognition, energy, memory and mental performance.
Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ has been formulated with ingredient research from leading neuro-cognitive and nutritional experts, including the 18-member panel at EFSA.
Unlike Red Bull and other energy drinks, you will not experience a crash in energy levels or any other side effects that consuming a lot of Red Bull may cause.
If you enjoy the occasional Red Bull in moderation, that is perfectly ok!
However, if you find that you rely on multiple cans of Red Bull a day to stay energised, focused, and motivated, it is very likely that you will start to feel some of the adverse effects listed in this article.
That is why we recommend Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ as the best natural alternative to Red Bull. It is just as effective, 100% plant-powered, and safe for long-term use as it has little to no side effects.
Try Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ today and experience the difference!
Grasser, E.K. et al. (2014) Cardio- and cerebrovascular responses to the energy drink Red Bull in Young Adults: A randomized cross-over study - European Journal of Nutrition, SpringerLink. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-014-0661-8 (Accessed: November 23, 2022).
Jaber Ghloum, K. and Hussein Mohammad, S. (2012) Effects of the commercial energy drink (Red Bull) on college students athletic performance and anthropometric variables, Journal of Applied Sports Science. Alexandria University, Faculty of Sport Education in Abu Qir. Available at: https://jassalexu.journals.ekb.eg/article_84959.html (Accessed: November 24, 2022).
Candow, D.G. et al. (2009) Effect of sugar-free Red Bull energy drink on...: The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, LWW. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2009/07000/Effect_of_Sugar_Free_Red_Bull_Energy_Drink_on.00031.aspx (Accessed: November 24, 2022).
Avery Walker is a professional journalist specialising in brain health and holistic approaches to everyday health concerns. They regularly contribute tips, advice, and findings to the Brainzyme® blogs.
A digital nomad based in Inverness, Avery loves to travel and meet new people from all walks of life.