Energy Drink, Alcohol
Not an Invigorating Mix
This may be sobering news to some bar
patrons, but a study out suggests that mixing alcohol with an
energy drink may not prolong that alcoholic "buzz."
The findings throw cold water on
the popular notion that energy drinks, such as Red Bull, counter
the depressive effects that follow the initial stimulation produced
The drinks typically consist of
carbohydrates, B vitamins, caffeine and taurine, a derivative
of an amino acid found in animal tissue. Some studies have shown
that the beverages, or their main ingredients, may improve mood
and physical performance, but there's been little research into
their effects when mixed with alcohol.
The new study involved 14 healthy
men whose prowess on the stationary bike was tested after they
drank either water, vodka, Red Bull or a mixture of vodka and
Researchers found that the men's
cycling performance one hour after having the mixed drink was
similar to their performance after alcohol alone.
Dr. Maria Lucia O. Souza Formigoni
and her colleagues at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil report
the findings in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental
The study suggests that using an
energy drink as a mixer will not change a person's physical functioning,
said Dr. Maristela G. Monteiro of the Pan American Health Organization
in Washington, D.C.
However, whether the drink combination
makes people feel more invigorated is another question, added
Monteiro, who was not involved with the research.
If people "feel better" when they
mix their alcohol with an energy drink, she said, then the concern
is that they'll feel free to drink more than unusual or perhaps
drive a car.
In this study, Monteiro pointed
out, the addition of the energy drink did not alter participants'
blood alcohol levels or certain other physiological effects of
"It's not changing the basic effects
of alcohol," she said.
In a statement, Formigoni said
that prior to this study, she and her colleagues surveyed energy
drink enthusiasts at Brazilian nightclubs. Of 136 people, 76 percent
said they mixed their energy drinks with alcohol, citing such
effects as "happiness," "euphoria," and invigoration.
According to the researchers, such
purported benefits may merely reflect a "placebo effect" -- more
to do with expectations than physiology. Still, they add, given
the popularity of the mixed drinks, further study is needed.
SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical &
Experimental Research, September 2004.
Reference Source 89
September 15, 2004