Red Bull Not the Best Mixer

That midnight kiss on New Year's Eve may not have been the only thing that took your breath away. Those who celebrated the night with a few drinks may, next time, think twice about what they order once they hear about the health risks associated with mixing alcoholic beverages with energy drinks.

Popular energy drinks such as Red Bull, Full Throttle, Rockstar and Monster are a common choice of "mixers" for alcoholic beverages, but may pose health risks. And that's no bull.

"You can hinder your respiration," said Roger A. Clemens, of the University of Southern California's School of Pharmacy. "From a public health perspective, you should not mix stimulants with alcohol."

"When you combine those two together, you always have a risk," he said. According to Clemens, some major concerns with mixing these two drinks include, but are not limited to, cardiovascular risk, impaired judgment, shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation and rapid heart beat.

"A rapid heart rate is a common side effect. [And] with a not-so-healthy heart, can be life threatening," Clemens added. It is not recommended to mix caffeine with alcohol, he said.

Clemens also explained how mixing high levels of caffeine with alcoholic beverages can be dangerous for your body. "Based on what I've seen, I think it's a growing trend," he said. "For some young people, it's a form of expression. We are looking at another generation that is looking for a form of expression and experiments with over-the-counter products."

Stocking Up On Energy Drinks

Julie B., a 27-year-old from Los Angeles, said she first experienced alcohol and Red Bull in Thailand. "It's the perfect drink because you get drunk, but you have a lot of energy," she said. "You just can't have too much. I have just one Red Bull a night. It's a drink of choice."

Adriana Alvarez, a 22-year-old California State University student, said she first heard of mixing Red Bull and vodka through word-of-mouth. "It's gives me a quick buzz."

Red Bull's Web site claims the product, "supplies tired minds and exhausted bodies with vital substances that have been lost, while reducing harmful substances. It provides immediate energy and vitamins."

These days, many teens and young adults choose to stock up on energy drinks such as Red Bull to keep them energized throughout the day and night. According to a Simmons Research poll, 31 percent of U.S. teens -- approximately 7.6 million -- said they consume energy drinks. On average, they consumed 5.3 glasses in the past 30 days.

College students, on the other hand, consumed 5.6 glasses in the past 30 days.

The Caffeine Story

An 8.3-ounce can of Red Bull contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, about the same amount of caffeine as in a cup of coffee. By comparison, Coca-Cola contains about 34 milligrams of caffeine per 12 ounces. Full Throttle energy drink contains 144 milligrams of caffeine per 16-ounce serving, while 16 ounces of Rockstar contain 150 milligrams of caffeine.

For a healthy adult, 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine a day is considered a moderate amount, according to the American Dietetic Association.

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