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Taurine

 

 

 

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It is critically important to read the labeling, not only on medications, but on any food or beverage consumed, to know when there are chemicals involved that will affect the ADHD brain, perhaps adversely.  Another example of an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is packaged in a beverage is Taurine, found at a dosage of 1000 mg in the popular energy drink, Red Bull. 

"Taurine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and its main use has been to help treat epilepsy and other excitable brain states, where it functions as a mild sedative. Research shows low taurine levels at seizure sites and its anti-convulsant effect comes from its ability to stabilize nerve cell membranes, which prevents the erratic firing of nerve cells. Doses for this effect are 500 mg. three times daily.

 

"Taurine functions in electrically active tissues such as the brain and heart to help stabilize cell membranes....Taurine aids the movement of potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium in and out of cells and thus helps generate nerve impulses."

 

[excerpt from Health World Online, "Taurine",

www.healthy.net/scr/article.asp?PageType=article&ID=1971]

 

"Taurine is another [specific amino acid] which has possibilities for helping with Bipolar Disorder, in that it can reduce hyperactivity and anxiety. Taurine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and therefore functions as a mild sedative. The Natural Health Consultants recommend one 1,000 mg dose a day. AMNI (Advanced Medical Nutrition) stated that 500 mg up to 3 times a day may be taken. You should be aware that excessive levels can lead to depression and short term memory loss."

[excerpt from www.bipolar.about.com/cs/menu_nutrition/a/9907_aminoacid.htm]

 

The following investigation may be the clearest at pointing out the potential dangers of consuming beverages with potent chemical ingredients, especially when combined with alcohol, as Red Bull often is.  The article is quoted in its entirety, from  www.kmsp.com/news/investigators/story.asp?1630334

 

 Raging Bull?

"Every generation has its scene. Its vibe. Its own way to get its grove on. For the twenty somethings hitting Twin City night clubs, there's one drink of choice. Red Bull, the non-alcoholic energy drink, in the distinct silver and blue can, promises to improve performance, increase concentration, and stimulate metabolism. People say the yellow liquid tastes a little like Tang or Gatorade. But the hipsters hitting the town aren't drinking it straight. Almost everyone in the clubs is mixing Red Bull with booze. Sometimes Jaegermeister, what's known as liquid Viagra. But most often they're mixing Red Bull with vodka. It's an energy booster that lets you party longer and harder. The potential for drunk driving, even binge drinking is obvious. But there may be other reasons for concern. Steven Smith is an emergency room doctor at HCMC. Red Bull and vodka popped up on his radar last year when a man came into the ER with shortness of breath and tingling in his arm. Dr. Smith asked the man if he ever had Red Bull. The response: every time he does he gets a numbness in my arms, shortness of breath and his blood pressure was sky high about 250 over 150. Dr. Smith wondered what in Red Bull could possibly cause that reaction? Then, he looked at the ingredients on the back of the can. Beginning with taurine. It's a powerful stimulant, an amino-acid that regulates the heart beat. It's also one the brain's neurotransmitters. Taurine occurs naturally in the body in small amounts. In Red Bull, there's 1000 milligrams of taurine. According to several studies that could be as much as 20 times a persons daily intake. Dr. Smith say "we know it can prevent seizures in some animal research we know it can cause seizures in other animal research and we know it effects various neurotransmitter receptors." And there's another curious ingredient: Glucuronolactone. Again, a naturally occurring stimulant formed when the body's metabolism breaks down glucose. Dr. Smith says it's basic molecular structure is similar to gamo hydroxy buterate. The club drug known as GHB. A single can of Red Bull has 600 milligrams of glucuronolactone. As much as 250 times times a person's normal daily intake. That according to a European commission study on energy drinks, which found, "there is insufficient information of which to set an upper safe level of intake (of glucuronolactone and taurine)." Dr. Smith says nobody knows if glucoronalactone and taurine are safe. Red bull also has caffeine: 80 milligrams. The equivalent of two cups of coffee. So what happens when you combine the three strong stimulants in Red Bull with alcohol, a depressant? The FOX 9 Investigators couldn't find a single clinical study. So we decided to conduct our own very unscientific test of Red Bull and vodka. A couple of friends, a neighbor, co-worker and Tom Lyden drank three Red Bull's and vodkas. Testing our blood pressure, pulse, and, of course, blood alcohol level, along the way. We also took a simple cognitive test, counting backwards from 100 by seven. The results: Our blood pressure and pulse rate went up slightly. Keep in mind we weren't dancing, just sitting around. We performed better on the cognitive tests and we were definitely getting intoxicated. In other words, we were well on our way to becoming very alert drunks. In fact, we all felt ready to drink more. Our experiment was small, but it's more than the Food and Drug Administration has done. The FDA hasn't tested Red Bull by itself. And there's no evaluation of its key ingredients. All because Red Bull is considered a food product, despite claims that would seem to make it a diet supplement. Several other countries have banned Red Bull, including Canada, Malaysia, Denmark, and France. European concerns began a decade ago in Sweden when three people died after mixing Red Bull and alcohol. In Ireland, the death of an 18-year old was connected to Red Bull and strenuous exercise. Red Bull is the brain child of Austrian billionaire, Dietrich Mateschitz. He started the company 20 years ago. Last year, one-and-a half billion cans were sold world-wide. The company doesn't do on-camera interviews, but in a written statement a spokesperson told the FOX 9 Investigators: "we do not promote Red Bull energy drink as a mixer with alcohol as this might impair the positive effects of Red Bull, however, there is no indication that Red Bull has any effect (negative or positive) related to alcohol consumption." Here in the Twin Cities Red Bull is distributed by extreme beverage in Maplewood. It's the only drink they sell. Sales are up 40 percent from last year, when the company sold six million cans locally. And success breeds imitation. There's a new flock of energy drinks on the market. Some like Adrenaline, Blue Ox, No Fear, and Rockstar have nearly the same amount of taurine. These drinks: Monster, Rush, and Hansen's Energy Drink have both taurine and glucuronolactone. Others, including 180 and KMX have neither stimulant. You have to check the label to be sure. But none of them have had the success of Red Bull, which has the buzz, quite literally. Even though Red Bull says it doesn't promote itself as a mixer, the company has actually sued bars for using other energy drinks when people ask for Red Bull specifically. Final footnote: In Europe, Red Bull actually carries a warning label that it may not be suitable for pregnant women or children. No such warnings are planned in the U.S."

 

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