Effects of energy drink ingestion on alcohol intoxication
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Vol 30, No 4. April 2006
S Ferreira, M de Mello, S Pompela
Energy Drinks and Alcohol are a very popular combination in nightclubs. The purpose of this paper was to examine the biochemical effects of the combination on sensory impairment.
They used a controlled situation with standardized meals, alcohol & energy drink consumption to see if it reduced the effects of alcohol, biochemically. Was there any effect? Does caffeine decreases the effect of alcohol, or maybe alcohol increases the effect of caffeine on the nervous system?
Well, they used energy drinks that contained purely caffeine, and ones that contained other substances. Many of these energy drinks containing guarana, taurine and ginseng were in dosages incapable of producing therapeutic affects. However, the presence of caffeine and sugar are clinically proven to produce a stimulatory reponse at these dosages.
As expected, the subjects showed effects based on the dose and individual. Caffeine appeared to be effective in treating for mild alcohol intoxication. It was concluded that energy drinks reduced some subjective symptoms at the lower doses they applied in humans. In other words, they were still drunk, but didn’t think so. I think it’s important to note that if you drink it is illegal to drive, even if you don’t feel that drunk. Additionally, a breathalyzer would still indicate that you were intoxicated regardless of how you felt.
Other studies showed a potential link with the amino acide taurine, and reduced amnesia effect associated with alcohol usage. Drinking alcohol was found to reduce taurine levels in our brain. The supplementation of energy drinks such as RedBull may be helpful in getting rid of a hang-over- but not great at preventing one.